Company Culture: Ask these questions to determine if you fit in

One of Silicon Valley’s top business advisors Tom Eddington says that employees who fit well within an organization are more satisfied, loyal and committed and perform better and experience less stress.

Eddington is the creator of “The IMPACT Effect: The New Model for Conscious Leadership,” and one of Silicon Valley’s top business advisors. With lessons learned from his experience in global mergers, Eddington advises CEOs and nonprofit leaders on everything from global mergers and organizational change to conscious leadership and life/balance integration.

“The fit between the organization and individual ultimately determines whether the person is happy, how well they work, and how long they will stay in a job,” he says. “This is why it is so important to know yourself – what drives and motivates you.”

Checklist questions include:

  1. Who am I and what am I looking for in a business culture? Eddington suggests exploring your answers to questions such as: “What excites me?” “What motivates me?” “What do I look forward to?” “How will joining this culture help me to fulfill this desire?” and “What is this organization doing to consciously build a culture in which I can thrive?” “When you are clear about your mission in your work, you can search out a culture that provides you opportunities to be so engaged,” he says.
  2. What is the culture of this organization? and other sites provide a good starting point for researching basic information on a company’s culture. Potential recruits can go deeper by asking questions in the interview process such as, “What do I need to do in order to be successful here?” and “What’s rewarded here?” Some aspects of company culture, however, are hard to determine from outside an organization. These unspoken dynamics influence behavior, communication, and the ability to take action within the organization, Eddington says. Additional questions to ask include: “What are the unspoken rules of working here?” “What is expected but not spelled out?” and “What is implicit or taken for granted that a newcomer might need to know?”
  3. Will this organization’s culture allow me to thrive? To determine the answer, ask yourself questions such as, “Can I bring all my assets to the work that I’m being hired to do?” and “Can I build the skillsets that I want here?” If you are applying for a leadership position, ask, “Is this an organization where my strengths will be valued?”

“Determining compatibility requires going beyond the usual metrics, such as employee qualifications or company perks,” Eddington says. “It means knowing who you are as a person and how you will fit into the organization. It’s also about relationships with your customers, boss, peers and subordinates. And, crucially, it is about finding the right environment where you can thrive as an individual.”