Don’t Experience Culture Shock

By, 09/12/2012

Understanding your company’s culture can help your networking, job performance and career development. Defining such an intangible concept can be tricky, but in my experience, stepping back to observe my colleagues’ behavior and asking my co-workers their opinions are two good ways to gain cultural insight.

Usually, co-workers are more than happy to share their perception of company culture, how it came to be and maybe even how to improve it. In my opinion, this openness is evidence of a community-oriented culture. This type of culture can also manifest itself in more fun ways like, for example, Friday morning team breakfasts or a department’s tradition of wearing purple one day a week. Some firms may also demonstrate a community-oriented culture by showing employee appreciation, perhaps by producing regular newsletters featuring innovation attempts, top performers and on-the-job success stories.

No matter the way they practice it (bringing in treats, mentoring someone, etc.) successful employees tend to live and breathe company culture down to the dress code—and are generally happier for it. So next time you’re at work or feeling out a prospective employer, I suggest looking for manifestations of company culture and thinking about how you could contribute to it.