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First day on the new job? 7 clues to catch about the company culture

Made it through the door of the company of your choice? Cleared the interviews with flying colors and thinking that you know everything about the new organization you are joining? Pause a moment and realise that there’s a lot more than knowing just about the Chairman, Head of Departments and CEO of the company. The employees who succeed in jobs know and value the working culture and the style of the company. It’s what you need to sustain yourself at any organisation.

Here are 7 clues to catch about company culture when starting off in a new role:

1. Relationships

Companies differ in how they form relationships, in how much they value cooperation, and in how much time is spent to make important decisions. In many organizations, the only way to make acquaintances is by spending time with them in person. In others, emailing, texting, and video conferencing does the trick. When you start working in a new organization, ask insiders how you should approach relationships.

Observe where and how your colleagues get work done and make decisions.

2. Communications

Look at how people usually communicate with one another – is it through formal channels, like meetings? Or do individuals prefer to communicate spontaneously? Hierarchy often determines when and where it is acceptable to communicate with senior colleagues.

3. Decision-Making

How companies make decisions also varies in important ways. Some companies make real-time decisions in formal meetings, while others tend to finalize decisions offline. Even if formal meetings are the norm, you may find that the real decisions happen by the cafeteria, in the hallway, or over lunch.

4. Individual Vs. Group Perspectives

Some companies approach work as being largely the product of individuals, while in others it is the product of teamwork. If an organization is individualistic in its approach, it will generally support a “hero mentality” and will glorify few ambitious people. Whereas in group-focused organizations, it is more of a safety net in that risks and rewards are shared, but it may be harder to stand out as an individual and mark your presence.

5. Change Agents

Another cultural factor that can have a major impact on your status and influence is the culture’s orientation toward change. Most organizations are resistant to change. So the challenge for any incoming leader is to determine what and how you can challenge in the culture, and when you should do so.

6. Hierarchy in your Organization

In more hierarchy oriented organizations, you might have to “pre-clear” any communications upward in the hierarchy with your immediate boss. In less hierarchical organizations, people are appreciated to email senior leaders to chat with them. The best way to figure out these rules is to roam & ask around.

7. Employee Care

The values of each organization are different. A few organizations could go the extra mile to care about their employees and do a lot for their comfort – by providing them extra assistance or perks. If you’re working in an environment with such a culture, you should learn how to understand and take care of your fellow employees to emerge as a leader in your career.

These were the 7 clues you should start looking for as soon as the Day 1 of your Job starts. Remember most organizations don’t explain the cultural rules to newbees, and new hires are so focused on the job and their boss that they overlook the rules’ profound influence. Being aware of not just what your organization do but how it works matters if you want to be effective and successful in your career.


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