Company culture plays a fundamental role in your happiness and success at work. It impacts how companies treat everyone from employees to customers, so it has a major impact on both your experience and the company’s overall success. We’ve developed some simple steps to help you assess whether a company’s culture will bring out the best in you.
What’s Important to You?
First, take a moment to rank the fundamental elements of a company’s culture (listed below) that are the most important to you. Remember, it’s important to prioritize these factors because you most likely won’t find one company that can give you everything.
- Company mission & impact
- Company values and norms
- Compensation levels and philosophy
- Approach to advancement & growth
- Work/life balance
If you’re having a difficult time weighing these factors, read our article on how to Discover What Really Matters to You in Your Career.
Next, here are three approaches you can use to collect information and further evaluate a company’s culture.
1. Glassdoor Rating
This can be a great tool for understanding a company’s culture, work/life balance, and get a diverse set of insider opinions. Make sure there is a large enough volume of reviews and you are not just looking at the total scores.
Don’t get thrown off if there are some negative reviews. Even great companies have a few disgruntled employees, and unhappy people are far more likely to post a review than satisfied people so there is always a negative bias to consider. Regardless, you can compare their overall score to your current employer’s score to give you a baseline. Also, look for how they rank among other companies you’re considering and look for consistent themes (both positive and negative) in the comments and recent trends.
2. Employee Turnover (a Useful LinkedIn Hack)
You can get a good sense of turnover rate by looking at past employees as a percentage of current employees on LinkedIn by following the steps below.
- Do a LinkedIn search by company name to get their current number of employees.
- Next, click “All Filters” to access LinkedIn’s advanced search options. Unselect the company’s name under “Current Companies” and select the company’s name under “Past Companies” to get the total number of past employees.
- Divide the number of past company employees by the number of current employees to get the turnover rate and then divide that number by the number of years the company has been in operation to get the annual rate. If that number is over 10-15%…run!
3. Ex-employee Insights
This may seem awkward, but it might be the most important and revealing step. Find someone who worked in the department you’re joining. Contact her or him through LinkedIn and let them know that you’re considering a position at their former company. Make sure they know you want their unfiltered input and that you will keep what they share confidential. You’ll be surprised at how candid and helpful many people will be, and it can end up being a nice networking opportunity as well. If you can get a backchannel reference through mutual acquaintances, start there.
By using these three data points, you can paint a clear picture of the company’s culture and compare that to your own values to assess fit. This small investment can save you years of stress and unhappiness.