When it comes to company culture, people often assume there is a distinction between large corporate environments and start-up cultures.


Do you presuppose that large corporations have a static and outdated workplace culture? This stands to reason. The sheer size suggests that changes would be difficult to implement. What’s more, getting it wrong probably comes at a great cost.

It’s also easy to assume that start-ups are small, agile, and able to implement restructuring.

However, let’s not forget that we once assumed that start-ups don’t go global (and oh, how mistaken we were!).

What I’m saying is that assumptions and stereotypes fall short. Personally, I have worked in large-scale corporate environments where management was, indeed, static. In saying this, I have also experienced the reverse.

So, when considering a job offer, how can we make a more accurate assessment of its workplace culture? How can we tell if it’s likely to match our needs and wants?


The ladder

We’ve all heard it before. “Management is accessible. Your input and suggestions are valued.”

How many companies state this, yet fail to deliver on their promises?  So, I’ll start by suggesting some ways to identify its true structure.


Assessing the Structure 

The layout of an office often reflects its hierarchical structure.

Does each team sit with their respective manager? Then you’ll probably find that you are expected to work closely under your manager’s strategy. What’s more, this implies that management is open to the team’s ideas and suggestions.

Or, do decision-makers and managers sit separately to teams? This suggests a more traditional structure. This may suit you if stability and convention is your thing.

What about open-plan offices? These spaces have an open flow of communication, not only between teams, but between the whole office. This may be ideal if you’re looking to pick up new skills through an innovative workplace.


Which workplace culture is right for you?

What makes you feel motivated at work? What type of environment puts you at ease?

For some people, anything less than a formal office environment would feel strange. And after adhering to a strict dress code for many years, I understand this. However, I personally prefer a slightly more casual culture, where flexible lunchtimes and a relaxed dress code are just some of the benefits that I enjoy most.

Every workplace will offer their own benefits. So, it’s important to know what types of arrangements are most important to you.

Have you got an upcoming interview at the workplace? This will give you a chance to see if your desired codes are a regular practice in the office.


The revolving door

When searching for an indication of good company culture, you can’t go past retention rates.

Many companies know how to optimise their employer branding for a great look, yet can’t actually retain their employees.

So, the retention rate will be a good indicator of how employees have felt about their position, and whether it was something of value to them.

Wondering how you can discover the rate? Start with LinkedIn. Simply search for “people by company”, and select “past”, rather than “current”.

Does the “past” list far out-weigh the “current”? If so, it could mean that employees are not fully appreciated or cared for.


Actions speak louder than words

I know that’s a cliche, but it’s certainly true here.

Any workplace can rattle-off company benefits. So, my main piece of advice is to look for indicators of the real company culture.

After all, the company’s culture is always worth paying attention to!

About the Author:

Jacqueline Harding is passionate about sharing information, news and stories in a user-friendly way to educate and uplift people from all across the globe.
Read more about Jacqueline Harding.