By Randi Bussin
Looking for your dream job? Ready to try something new? Helpful tips and tools to move you from one career to another.
Corporate Culture and Personal Branding
Corporate culture can be described as an organization’s “personality” and “how things are done around here.” Corporate culture is a broad term, and indicates how employees, think, act, feel, and behave. It is used to describe the unique personality and behavior of a company or organization, and can include such elements as core values, mission, beliefs, ethics, and rules of behavior.
So why then is this important? Corporate culture is important because it can affect you in many ways, such as the hours you work, the availability of options such as flextime and telecommuting, how people interact (or don’t), how people dress, the benefits offered to employees, office layout, training, and professional development. Corporate culture affects just about everything that relates to your work.
And culture ties strongly to and can impact your personal brand and how you are perceived professionally. Your personal brand is a combination of how you feel internally (values, passions, strengths, vision, purpose etc.) and how you are perceived by the external world and those who need to know about you.
If you are working in a professional environment that is a cultural mismatch for your ideals and values, then you might behave and come across in a way that does not represent who you truly are. Not only can this impact your external perception but it can leave you quite unfulfilled and miserable. And since branding is based in authenticity, this can be a real problem.
Here are some quick tips for assessing corporate culture:
- Know yourself well and to know what matters most to you (your values).
- Research the company’s corporate culture/values through networking meetings and online research.
- Pay attention to details as you are walking around the office during your interviews. Notice what people were doing and if they were interacting with one another. Observe the cafeteria lunchtime? Were there key phrases that the interviewers used frequently that would give you a clue as to what the company values/does not value?
- Ask good questions when you go on job interviews:
- What three words or phrases would you use to describe the company/department culture? (Pay attention to the adjectives that are used to see if they fit with your values.)
- Does the company have a stated set of cultural norms? (Often, a mission statement is a good place to start to gather insights in this area.)
- Can you describe the environment here? (Pay attention to the words used and the aspects of the work environment the employer talks about, such as camaraderie, career-development opportunities, and work-life initiatives.)
- What is the company’s attitude toward educational and professional development? (See if the company places a value on lifelong learning and advancement.)
- What type of employee achievements are recognized by the employer? (Pay attention to what the company values, and whether any special awards are given for outstanding customer service, sales, etc.)
- In what type of sponsorships or philanthropic activities does the company participate? (Does the company partner with the United Way, or support programs such as Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day? Do company employees volunteer for local charities?)
Finding the right corporate culture is key to your career and personal branding success. Do your homework and make sure you honor what is near and dear to you.
Randi Bussin, a Career Reinvention strategist, guides executives and business owners towards a renewed sense of direction, an actionable career reinvention and personal branding plan.