10 Signs a Company Has a Serious Culture Problem
rw-admin | 06/30/2014
Lately, we have been focussing on the topics of employee onboarding and retention. Today, we would like to introduce you to a topic that is close to our hearts – the cultural fit between candidate and company.
Over the past several weeks, we have been working on a new personality assessment tool that incorporates “cultural fit” criteria that help us gauge how well candidates adapt to a new culture. This can include foreign or regional moves, as well as from large to entrepreneurial companies. We define this criteria as the “Q-Fit” – the cultural fit between a candidate and a company. The Q-Fit assessment allows us to provide our clients with another assessment criterion in the selection process of finding the right talent for their specific work environment.
Characteristics of our Q-Fit include a person’s ability to understand, tolerate and accept cultural differences, openness to change, and ability to deal with ambiguity. All these characteristics influence and determine a person’s degree of cultural adaptability – a factor that is increasingly important in international recruitment.
With many years of recruiting experience, we know how important the cultural fit is for successful and satisfying employee-employer relations. To provide you with deeper insights on the importance of a healthy corporate culture, we picked the following article.
10 Signs a Company Has a Serious Culture Problem
by Forbes Leadership
Looking for a job? It always surprises me how few people interviewing at my company ask about our culture. But they should. Over the last several months, we’ve all seen two cultural meltdowns that got big media play, and neither company came off well. In one, a woman named Julie Horvath resigned from GitHub and took to Twitter to complain about its alpha-male culture. This eventually led to the resignation of the CEO. In the other, a PayPal manager named Rakesh Agrawal began saying nasty things about other executives on Twitter. They tweeted back that he was mentally ill and they hoped he would find the help he needs. No matter what he did, that was not the sign of a happy workplace.
Aside from the unpleasantness, bad cultures are also bad for your career. Successful people tend to work for winners, and a good culture has been shown to drive long term financial performance. Work for a happy place, and you’ll likely do better in life.
However, that brings up a question. How can you know anything about a company’s culture when you only go for a single interview? Believe it or not, there are signs. As an advertising agency, my company does interviews with dozens of potential clients every year. Over time, we’ve come up with a list of red flags for company culture. No one of them, by itself, should turn you off. But if you see, say, five of them, you may have a problem on your hands. Here they are:
Having a Ping-Pong table is fine; bragging about one is not. Why? The corporate world has somehow equated owning one with having a fun loving-culture. If your potential employers emphasize theirs, it may be a sign they’re checking off boxes rather than giving their employees what they really want.
Whenever I walk into an office, I look along sightlines. If I see boxes sitting in the aisles and chairs piled up in meeting rooms, I know no one cares about the place. And there is probably a good reason why.
We’re always leery of a place where everyone has a cube except for the bosses. That usually indicates a hierarchical structure in which management and employees are at odds.
Companies should try to sell you on their culture. If the person interviewing you only wants to talk about your qualifications, ask yourself what she’s not telling you about the work environment.
Culture always flows from the top. You may not have a chance to meet senior management, but you can probably track down a video of them. Your initial reaction may speak volumes about how much you’ll enjoy working at the company.
Every organization strives to succeed. That’s a given. A company that emphasizes excellence may also hold its employees to unachievable standards. Rather than focusing on your job, you’ll be worrying about your job.
A happy workplace should hum. Some people should be up, moving around, and talking to one another. They should not seem bored or stressed. So take a look around, and ask yourself if the average person seems happy or not.
If you see this, don’t bother with the interview. Simply find the nearest exit and walk through it.
If you can, schedule your interview late. Five o’clock gives you a great opportunity to see how a company manages the work-life balance. A few people working late are fine, but some should be heading home.
“How much time do you spend with your coworkers after 5 p.m., and doing what?” Good answers include having a beer and playing softball. Bad answers include anything to do with work, unless it happens only occasionally.
A lot of people would say that work should be a place for work and that these days any job is a good one. Agreed. Obviously you should get the job you can if you’re having trouble finding one. But if you have a choice of employers, try for one with a good culture. You’ll be happier, and your career will thank you.
In fact, the only downside to a good culture is that you’ll never become famous for ranting about your boss on Twitter. Then again, that 15 minutes is probably best left to someone else.