Why Company Culture Should be the Most Important Criteria in Your Job Search

The hottest topic in business today, much has been written about why companies should foster a distinctive culture. For organizations of all sizes, thoughtful investment in company culture helps retain the best talent and drive stronger results.

But what about the employees and job seekers out there looking for success in their careers? How does focusing on finding a good cultural fit benefit you?


What is Company Culture?

Culture is a blend of the values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals and myths all companies develop over time. Whether written as a mission statement, spoken, or merely understood, corporate culture describes and governs the ways a company's owners and employees think, feel and act (Entrepreneur).

Commonly thought of as unwritten rules and norms in a community or organization, culture creates a unique environment that connects employees and differentiates an organization from its competitors – it defines a company the way our personalities characterize us as individuals. And it is quickly surpassing other key variables like paychecks and promotions as employees and job seekers evaluate what is of greatest importance in developing their careers.

Culture should be at the top of your list when assessing what’s next and here’s why:


A Good Cultural Fit Leads to Increased Joy at Work

  • Be in control of your destiny. Research indicates that America's happiest companies make more money and the presence of a thriving workplace culture is no longer underappreciated. This increased awareness around the value of culture has created opportunities to focus on your own happiness in the workplace and use that as a driver for finding career growth that is both sustainable and fulfilling. Much like a buyer’s advantage in the real estate market – you’re in the power position and companies are looking to you to help shape their future.
  • Look beyond the perks. Culture is no longer just about privileges like casual Fridays, ping pong in the break room, limitless snacks and beverages, etc. Those are all great and certainly contribute to the morale in the office. But candidates should expect a more balanced (or some might prefer blended) environment that provides benefits of lasting value, such as highly engaged leadership, increased autonomy, flexible schedules, accessible training resources, workplace wellness, and more. All of which directly contribute to your wellbeing.
  • Boost your productivity and creativity. It’s no secret that happy employees are more productive which is highly beneficial for both you and the organization. But strong cultural fit also breeds creativity and innovation. Dennis Bakke, author of Joy at Work, states, “When given the opportunity to use our ability to reason, make decisions, and take responsibility for our actions, we experience joy at work.”

A Good Cultural Fit Means Playing to Your Strengths

  • Increased Engagement. Increase Engagement A recent Gallup study revealed that people who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job. It states, “the best way for people to grow and develop is to identify how they most naturally think, feel, and behave - their talents - then build on those talents to create strengths, or the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance.” An environment that supports your natural talents will keep you engaged and provide greater fulfillment.
  • Working in your area of strength is energizing. The right cultural fit will create natural synergies, allowing your innate strengths to guide your career path. Strong managers will seek opportunities to play to employee’s strengths and maximize their productivity by letting them do what they do best. You can do the same for your career by seeking cultural environments conducive to your strengths.

A Good Cultural Fit Leads to Advancement

  • Fit trumps skill. Successful companies are “fanatical about recruiting new employees who are not just the most talented but also the best suited to a particular corporate culture” (The Economist). Skill sets are developed but work style is innate and when you fit in, you’re happier, more productive and more likely to excel. In an environment where you thrive, you’ll be rewarded not only for the work you produce but also for the way you go about it.
  • Get noticed, get promoted. Culture should be personified at all levels but it is driven by leadership. Managers are eager to identify future leaders who foster the company culture which presents unique advancement opportunities for those who embody it best. The stronger your cultural alignment, the greater likelihood of success in your role and advancement in whatever form you desire – a promotion, pay raise, greater autonomy, etc.

So how do you identify the cultural attributes of a prospective employer, and which are a FIT for you? Like us or follow us to see our next installment in this series: Choosing the Right Company Culture For Your Personality.

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