11 Indications of a Good Company Culture
Whether you’re deciding to accept a job offer from a new employer or you’ve just started a new job, one of the most important aspects of your professional life will be the workplace culture. The office or organization’s environment or “vibe” is so powerful that it can make or break your job experience and result either in your long-term employment or, in the worst circumstances, your speedy retreat back to the job market.
But what sorts of things determine or reflect a positive company culture? It’s often a little difficult to articulate, but there are several concrete, quantifiable factors to watch out for that indicate the health not just of a company or workplace but of the way its teams and employees interact and their happiness levels at work.
Here are the most important things to look for that reveal if your new employer will turn out to be a great place to work:
Long-term employees: Employee turnover is a strong indicator of company culture. Simply put, happy, engaged employees who are offered continued opportunities for growth are more likely to stay put.
Clear mission and values: A great company culture doesn’t just manifest itself out of thin air. First, it has to be articulated and communicated throughout the organization, and then it can be lived out by the leadership and employees at every level. A positive company culture has values that every employee knows by heart. These values and this mission are accessible and branded into all of the company’s internal and external communications.
Not just colleagues, but friends: A great work environment is a breeding ground for genuine friendships. When coworkers choose to spend time with each other, even outside of the office, you know that the professional dynamic is going to be just as positive.
Workplace involvement: Great company cultures support involvement and provide positive, fun ways for their employees to get together for personal and professional development activities, both within and outside normal company hours. And the success of the company culture is indicated in the level of involvement by each employee. For example, if the company is sponsoring a charity event or fundraiser on a Saturday morning and most everyone in the organization shows up -- willingly -- you know that the employees feel invested and excited to be there.
Transparency: Secrets and in general a lack of communication from the top down creates a culture of insecurity and uncertainty. Workplaces with positive cultures support a philosophy of transparency so that every team member feels they know where they stand, where the company is headed, and in general they feel “in the loop."
Diversity: If everyone in an organization generally fits the same demographic, that should be a red flag in terms of culture. Great companies and institutions embrace diversity -- diversity in hiring, diversity in thought, and diversity in approaches. This should be reflected in the teams and employees you interact with on a daily basis.
Wins are celebrated: Great companies have clear and frequent processes in place for recognizing the achievements of its employees, at least monthly or weekly. This shows that the organization makes it a priority to recognize performance and announce to everyone the value its employees bring.
Leaders are visible and accessible: Employees support leaders who are transparent, accessible, honest, authentic, and who invest in them. When an organization’s leaders are front and center and make themselves available to everyone, it creates a sense that “we’re all in this together,” and employees are much more likely to feel good about the goals they’re working towards and the company’s mission.
Comfortable workspaces: The type of environment -- i.e., the physical space -- that employees work in each day can go a long way in determining how people feel about their jobs and their employer. Comfortable workspaces with amenities and perks that people actually care about contribute significantly to morale levels.
Absence of office politics: Positive workspaces and thriving company cultures where each employee feels valued, heard, and recognized have little room for gossip, backbiting, and politicking. While a small amount of sniping happens in any group setting, in healthy company cultures this is the exception, not the rule.
Ongoing professional development opportunities: Job satisfaction is closely tied to opportunities employees have for growth, advancement, learning, promotion, and expanding their skill set. Organizations with strong infrastructures that support employee growth -- both in philosophy and also literally with actual resources and budgets -- validate their commitment to each employees professional development and foster a strong sense of culture and community.