A healthy workplace culture is crucial for morale and productivity. From driving employee engagement, to attracting and retaining talent, culture has a profound influence on an individual and indeed a firm's reputation and performance. In today's global, fast-paced and technology-fuelled working environment, a multi-generational employee base is shifting expectations and increasing the need for companies to reassess their culture.
Gone are the days when people sought a 'job for life'. Today most of us expect to work at a number of companies over the course of our career and want each stage to be as fulfilling and meaningful as possible. With this in mind, whether you are looking to change companies or pursue a new role in a different department, a key part of the decision-making process should be determining if the culture of the new company or team is a good fit for you.
For many, a company's code of conduct or their values rank highly; for others it could be more about the workplace environment or flexible working arrangements that contribute to a healthy and thriving culture. Here are a few additional questions that I recommend colleagues or friends consider when seeking a change:
1. Diversity & Inclusion. It's important that your potential employer encourages a diverse and inclusive environment. Will you be working with people from different backgrounds and with varying experiences? Do you believe you will be valued and respected, and be given equal access to opportunities in the workplace?
2. Teamwork. Is it a team that will work together for successful outcomes as well as one that will support each individual in achieving their own career aspirations and goals? Will you have the forum to discuss ideas, give and receive one-on-one support and build camaraderie?
3. Trust. Core to trust is open and honest communication. Does your potential new employer operate in a transparent and responsive way? How are decisions made? In your interactions so far, have they demonstrated sincerity, care and understanding?
4. Networking. Employee networks are key to encouraging a healthy culture and also enabling personal and professional development. Do you know if your potential employer runs company-wide initiatives you can join? Are there opportunities for you to help run these networks to enable you to develop management and mentoring skills?
These days, companies are acutely aware of these considerations. A recent study by Deloitte saw 86% of executives cite corporate culture as an important issue, recognising the need to create a meaningful and inclusive culture to help engage employees and potential recruits.
While company executives understand the important role they play in creating a culture that supports everyone, we as individuals should never stop thinking about what we expect from an organisation's culture - and how each and every one of us is personally responsible for owning and shaping it.
As the American jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. once said on the prospect of change; "A mind that is stretched by new experiences can never go back to its old dimensions."