“Fit” is a term thrown around a lot when looking for your dream company or job. Fit often refers to how well an individual’s values and beliefs coordinate with those of a company and its environment, but what this really comes down to is culture.
Every organization has a different culture, and different cultures suit different people. Although it takes five years of working at an organization to truly understand the culture of that organization, it is important to find an organization with a culture that appears to match your personal values right away.
For example, some companies have more of a traditional structure: everyone wears professional attire, people work independently, there are no open-door policies, etc. This kind of culture is a fit for the type of person who wants to work by him or herself most of the time, is an introvert, is a self-motivator and likes traditional hierarchical structure. There are also organizations on the other end of the spectrum, some of the most known are in the technology/social media realm.
Companies like IDEO, Google and Facebook do not have a “traditional” culture. Instead, they are big on collaboration and giving individuals the ability to express themselves. At these types of companies, the management is not interested in what people wear to work, instead they care about the quality of the work produced and ensuring there is synergy amongst co-workers.
Does this mean that if you like to wear professional attire and be in a more formal environment, you should avoid working at a company that is more lax? The answer is it depends, which is why it is so important to ask questions about company culture while you’re interviewing. It is also important to note that just because some parts of a company have a relaxed environment; it does not mean all departments are the same. At the end of the day, companies want to be successful, and the key to achieving success is having employees that are motivated and perform well. So before you take a new job just because you are offered a higher salary or good benefits, try to get a feel for the culture first to see if it suits your style.
hiredMYway.com, a Detroit startup that uses an innovative job board model to put people back to work, has a culture more along the non-traditional lines of Google and Facebook. There are morning huddles where each department casually meets to discuss what everyone is working on, and a weekly creative meeting outside of the office to brainstorm and discuss innovative ideas for the company, sometimes bordering on the crazy or humorous side, but always inventive and inspiring. The marketing team is always coming up with fun and engaging ideas that, if nothing else, give everyone in the office a bit of entertainment.
One of the most recent ideas the team implemented was the 2011 hiredMYway.com Social Media Intern Challenge. One of hiredMYway.com’s interns competed against his brother, also a social media intern at a company called BookRenter, to find out who was the “ultimate” intern.
Here is a video of the competition:
After the challenge, we asked BookRenter’s social media intern, Keith Kaplan, what the culture was like at BookRenter which is based out of San Mateo, CA. Keith replied, “At BookRenter, we’re all about providing the best solution to students for textbook rentals. We like to consider ourselves laid back with a fun and creative attitude, whether it’s not having a strict dress code or holding the occasional office activity.”
The proof is in the pudding – every company has a different culture and functions differently. The important thing to remember is that the better the company culture aligns with your values, the happier and more productive you will be.
What is your company culture like? What companies do you think have a strong culture in place?
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