Cultural Fit

Cultural fit is often discussed when you are seeking a job, but what if you are already employed and not in a position to change jobs?  It still can be useful to identify the culture of your current organization so you can strategize the best way to achieve your professional goals within that culture.

Here are 4 quick tips to learn about your company’s culture:

1.  Observe meetings and corporate events

When you attend a meeting, is the leader of the meeting the only one talking?  Is everyone encouraged to contribute ideas?  Do meetings start on time, with an agenda, or are they more laid back?  During corporate events, is everyone interacting and socializing, or is the only time the company comes together to share annual earnings reports?  As an example, check out what Google has to say about their corporate culture, and see how that resonates with your company.

2.  Check out social media platforms

You can use social media platforms to learn about the corporate culture.  If your company has a Facebook page or a Twitter handle, follow them and see what they talk about.  Is the company allowing employees to post on their behalf, or is the social media conversation more formal?  Does the company interact with clients on social media?  What is your corporate policy in relation to social media?  Check to see if your company has a page on LinkedIn, is involved in groups, and what that conversation is like.  You can also see if there is any commonality between employees on LinkedIn at your company—for example, if everyone has worked at your company for a long time, that might indicate a strong corporate culture.  There are also companies who use other platforms like YouTube.  GE features “Stump the Scientist”, which reinforces their traditional corporate culture.

3.  Read what others say

Browse articles and news sites for information about your company.  You can check out to get information and company reviews from employees.  Learn what clients are saying by visiting review sites.  It is always reassuring when the internal message about culture and the external impression match.

4.  Connect with current and former employees

Network with your colleagues and with former employees of your organization.  Ask them about their impressions of the organization, and how they feel the company culture affects them.  You can do this over a quick coffee break, which is a great way to step away from the desk for a few minutes.

Once you understand your corporate culture, you can work within that framework to accomplish your professional goals.  For example, if you want to work on a new project, you can use an open culture to promote the idea to the team and get buy-in from the ground up.  Whereas in a traditional culture, you could approach your manager first, and then after you have approval, share with the team.  Navigating corporate culture can be tricky, but with some detective work, you can determine what your corporate culture is, and how to best navigate within that culture.

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