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Check the culture before you sign up

20 September 2022 at 4:30 pm
Danielle Kutchel
Workplace culture can be a driving force in your productivity and happiness, so make sure you check it out before signing that contract.

Danielle Kutchel | 20 September 2022 at 4:30 pm


Check the culture before you sign up
20 September 2022 at 4:30 pm

Workplace culture can be a driving force in your productivity and happiness, so make sure you check it out before signing that contract.

It’s fair to say most of us like to try before we buy.

When you buy a house, you typically walk through it for at least one inspection, right?

Likewise when you buy a car, you don’t sign that transfer paper until you’ve taken it for a test drive.

So why should your workplace be any different?

Workplace culture can make or break your time at an organisation. Research has shown that workplace culture can impact productivity as well as wellbeing, morale and job satisfaction. Ensuring that your new job is the right cultural ‘fit’ for you is a vital step towards ensuring you maintain good mental health and the glow of a career that feels right.

Do your research

It’s an oldie, but a goodie: before you apply, before you even get to the interview stage, research the company you’re looking at. Some job boards have company profiles where you can check out what past employees think and you can find some hidden gems in there.

Try checking out LinkedIn to see other employees and take a stickybeak at how long they’ve hung around in their roles or whether they’ve moved up the ladder within the organisation — this can give you an insight into whether the company values its employees’ skills and time.

Decide what you value

Are you after a healthy work-life balance, so you can still fit picking the kids up from school into your daily schedule? Are you a fan of sleep pods for lunchtime naps or ping-pong tables to give life to your competitive streak? Are you looking for a company that has sustainability and ethical operations at its heart?

You need to decide what matters to you and what values you hold dear before wading into the talent pool. Are there particular things you can’t live without? It might be that you don’t want to be micromanaged into oblivion, or perhaps you prefer a company that gives its staff paid days off for volunteering each year. Either way, note them down and keep them in mind as you scroll through the jobs boards, and work out what you can and can’t live without.

Use interviews to your advantage

Interviews are a two-way street. While your potential future employers are peppering you with questions, make sure you ask some of them too and use the opportunity to question them about the aspects of company culture that you’re interested in. 

What sort of mental health support do they offer? Do they allow adequate breaks during the day? Can you work from home? Do they conduct team building activities? Do they reward employees for their effort? These are just some of the questions you might ask.

Be sure to listen to how your interviewers talk about the company and reflect on how their words and demeanours make you feel.

If you’re able to see into the office or onto the floor, take a quick peek at the current workers. Is the environment loud or silent? Do people look cheerful, and are they interacting with each other? What does the office look like?

Picture yourself in one of those chairs and ask yourself whether you could be happy here.

If all signs point to yes, then go ahead and accept that job offer! But if you’re feeling something’s a bit off, there’s no harm in asking a few more questions, or pursuing a different opportunity.

At the end of the day, trust your gut and remember you don’t need to sign the contract. Do what feels right for you and find the right cultural fit; future you will thank you for it.

Danielle Kutchel  |  @ProBonoNews

Danielle is a journalist specialising in disability and CALD issues, and social justice reporting. Reach her on or on Twitter @D_Kutchel.

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