Here’s how to get a sense of the company culture during your probation

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So, you’ve walked out of a wonderful interview, and within the next day, you received an offer of employment with the same company you interviewed with.

Times are hard with the ongoing pandemic, and one should be thankful for a job offer. Well, that is true to a certain extent. But if the company culture is a misfit with the way you work, you may not be able to function properly in the long run.

Art Markman, PhD, a professor of Psychology and Marketing at the University of Texas, shares with us how to get a sense of the company culture to decide its fit for you.

#1: Explore your colleagues’ values

Have you ever heard of the saying, “Every job is doable, but it’s the people that are causing problems”?

While the management plays a part, your colleagues in the company significantly influence the company culture. This also means that their values will matter as you seek to explore what those are. It could be power, security, or achievement.

During your probation of 3 to 6 months, take this chance not only to ease yourself into the tasks but also to speak to your coworkers. We’re not asking you to be a full-fledged social butterfly but listen to what the people around you think of their work’s importance and success in general.

Then, decide for yourself if the beliefs they hold are in line with your own. Should you agree with the way your colleagues are portraying work, then it’s likely that you will be a great fit with the company. Otherwise, it’s better to seek opportunities elsewhere.

#2: Observe workplace interactions
colleagues having a meeting

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We think most of us would want to work in an office where people can freely talk to anyone regardless of job titles.

In fact, you can observe workplace interactions not just during your probation but right from your interview. Spot how your interviewers are reacting and communicating with each other. From there, you will probably get a good sense of the company’s hierarchical structure.

If you’re someone who values the definition of success, you may want to bring this topic up during your interview. Ask how the company values individual and group success. Do they expect everyone to stick to a set of norms? Or are they flexible to embrace diversity?

Take what they say with a pinch of salt because words are empty without concrete actions. During your probational period, you will get a sense of the culture via minor aspects. For example, do people shush when the boss walks in? Are they freely voicing out their opinions during team meetings?

#3: Trust your gut

You will probably notice that the first two points noted by Markman are very straightforward ways to catch a glimpse of the company culture.

However, sometimes, all it takes is a little intuition to conclude whether a workplace is right or wrong for you. Yes, even if you can’t seem to verbalise the reasons why, trust your gut. For those who’ve had the experience of working with several companies throughout their career, it would be easier to come to a realisation.

Nevertheless, be fully aware that a company may still be a good fit even if your initial intuition isn’t all that positive. You can blame it on the lack of familiarity if you want. Being in an unknown setting with newer job responsibilities can sometimes nudge our minds and bodies to take flight.

Final thoughts

With all that said, that is precisely why the probational period is in place. Give yourself some time to ease into the company culture and converse with your colleagues often. If all else fails, it’s not the end of the world.

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