Understanding Your Current Corporate Culture

People who take on a job at their new employers have one problem in common during their first weeks at work: Culture shock. You realize that your colleagues have a different attitude and ethics compared to your previous organization, which you are compelled to adjust with if you want to advance your career.

This is why you need to take a cultural assessment as soon as you enter your new workplace, because you may not notice the subtle differences and manifestations of culture once you work for several months. Your conclusions about your organization’s new culture may make you happy or sad, but you need to find opportunities that would help you benefit from your new culture.

Be an impartial observer

Check out how your colleagues interact with one another as if you are an anthropologist observing a tribe you have never seen before.

Watch the emotions

Monitor the things that people value, what excites or upsets them. Also, examine conflicts closely, checking out what causes them.

Observe the furniture

Do you know that you would have an idea about the company by the way it is decorated? Look at the objects and artifacts sitting on desks and hanging on walls. Are they sophisticated, corporate, or common-place?

Watch for things that are not there

If no-one in the workplace mentions something about what you think is important (customers, for instance), take note of them as these are also interesting information about the company’s culture and help you understand about your organization.

Assess your organization

One effective way to observe your office’s culture is to take a walk around the workplace and look for some physical signs of culture such as the allocated space for rank and file employees compared to managers, the things posted on bulletin boards, how common areas are utilized, as well as the interactions between employees.

Ask around

Interview a few number of colleagues and observe the behaviors and interaction patterns they bear as you hear what they say about your corporate culture. It is better to retrieve information through indirect questions such as, "What would you tell a friend about your organization if he or she was about to start working here?" and "What is the one thing you would like to change about the company?"

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