How to Find a Company with a Positive Work Environment
Here’s how you can find a positive work environment for yourself
Everyone wants to look forward to going to work. They want to feel valued and appreciated by their supervisors and coworkers and have opportunities for growth and advancement. In other words, they want a company with a positive work environment. Today’s job seekers know what salary and benefits they want and look for a job they would do well and enjoy, but they want something more. Everyone wants a positive company culture, but how do you find one?
Tips To Find A Positive Work Environment
To start your investigation for a positive work environment, you can look at various Best Places to Work or Employer of Choice award lists like ones published by business publications like Forbes. You can also look for local award programs or lists posted by professional associations. These lists are helpful with large companies, but smaller companies may not always be included. Doing your own research can also help you find out how well you as an individual will fit into an organization.
Pay attention to the job description and the communications between you and the hiring company. How quickly do you get a response? If someone is scheduled to call and they don’t, that could be a bad sign. If emails aren’t well written and accurate, there could be problems. While it’s not conclusive evidence of problematic culture, poor communication is a red flag.
You can gather intelligence when you visit the employer to determine if the company offers a positive work environment or not. How organized does the interview process seem? How open to questions is the interviewer, and how concerned are they about you as a person? What’s the atmosphere like when you interview? Do people seem relaxed but engaged?
Companies that offer flexible schedules, job sharing and work-from-home opportunities show they understand their employees. Allowing workers to adjust their work hours to coincide with their children's school start times or spouses’ work schedules tells them they value work-life balance. What’s the policy on bringing a child to work in an emergency? Allowing someone to work from home some days shows they trust their employees. Some of this information might be in the job description, but you could also look at a company website and social media.
Advancement and Growth Opportunities
See what training and educational opportunities you will have in your job. Companies that invest in their employees’ futures generally have a positive work environment. Here are some questions to ask:
- Are professional seminars encouraged?
- Is the company active in professional associations?
- Does the company bring in outside trainers and speakers?
- As part of the benefits package, do you get tuition reimbursement?
- Is professional training encouraged?
Look at the company and department structure to look for advancement possibilities. Flat organizations tend not to limit employee growth. For those with hierarchies, when a department has two rungs, and the manager doesn't look like they are going anywhere, see if you could move laterally to other departments. Look for opportunities to demonstrate your skills. Are there opportunities to lead projects or make presentations? Will you write papers for publication, or speak at meetings? Asking these questions during an interview demonstrates your desire to be a good fit for the open position.
Finding out how long people stay with an organization tells you about the culture. Researching through LinkedIn, the company sites, or chamber of commerce publications might give you the information you need. Companies that value their employees and treat them with respect don’t routinely lose them after two years. Although people sometimes leave because there's no advancement potential, more often it’s because they don’t feel appreciated.
If you can speak to present employees, start by asking about the above subjects. Getting someone’s impression of how much effort goes into education and training and how flexible they actually are about schedules can be useful. Also, ask about general morale and management-worker relations. Do managers communicate well and support their department members? Is there favoritism or prejudice from management or coworkers? You could also see how friendly people are outside of work. Are there softball teams or book clubs, for example? Do employees meet after work to socialize? These questions can help you determine if you are choosing the correct positive work environment equipped company.
It’s important to understand that the most nurturing company culture in the world won’t help if you don’t like what you’re doing. Accepting a position you won't enjoy just because you qualify means you’ll never look forward to your day. It seems obvious, but thinking about how you like to work and what you enjoy doing will help you get the job you want.
If you prefer working independently, don't take a position requiring lots of meetings and committee work. If you like collaborating, don't take on a solo research job. Some can sit behind a computer for hours without a problem. If you want more variety, keep that in mind. Ask questions about your daily routine during your interview. An interviewer will understand your desire to be sure you’re a good match for the position.
Consider Company Culture
Being offered a new job is exciting, but before jumping into a new position with both feet, consider the company's culture. Ask the right questions (don’t forget questioning about a positive work environment) and find an organization that understands work/life balance and supports their employees. Make sure you won't regret your decision after a few months.