How to Find the Best Company to Work For (Culture vs Career)

As I take a short vacation at the end of the 2016, I have been thinking about the different company cultures that I have been part of over the last few years.

It has always been a quest of mine to find the right balance of company culture vs actual job/work.

Which things make me feel valued as an employee, versus those that do not?

With that in mind I have taken note of the following:

Image: Flickr

The best companies (in my opinion):

  • Give you the opportunities to work with the latest technologies
  • Help you with getting the right training that you need
  • Reward you for hard work
  • Recognize and promote work life balance – this helps you feel they really have your best interests at heart
  • Pay you at, or above, the market rates for your job and experience
  • Management that encourage communication and seek feedback
  • A leadership team that support you in furthering your career
  • They show respect towards you and treat you as an equal

The worst company cultures (in my opinion):

  • Allow management to have unrealistic expectations
  • Make you feel that your personal time is not valuable
  • Don’t understand how important flexibility is
  • Allow the grapevine to be the most reliable means of communication
  • Pay you less than market rates
  • Overlook unprofessional and unethical behaviour
  • Make you feel inadequate – E.g you don’t work as hard or as well as Management do

A recent study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that the top 5 things employees valued were:

  1. Respectful treatment of all employees at all levels
  2. Trust between employees and senior management
  3. Benefits, overall
  4. Compensation/pay
  5. Job security

I am not really one to complain. I try to fit in to whatever environment I am in.

I have seen situations where employees have complained to their HR departments about this or that, and often it just ends up with the employee becoming disgruntled and leaving.

Management can get their backs up when their staff complain.

My recommendation is that if you have issues with your workplace culture try to talk to your own manager first before escalating it up the chain. If you really don’t think it is likely that any changes will be made then honestly the best idea can be just to suck it up and move on as soon as you can.

If you make a big issue out of something, it could really become a big problem that ends up with the only outcome being you leaving under bad circumstances.

Try to have a balanced perspective and weigh up as many factors as you can.

Sometimes employers have different experiences from their own past and from that, treat you as they would be happy being treated themselves.

That doesn’t mean that they are wrong, any more than you are right.

For all the employees out there, I would like you to remember that as much as you want to, for your own best interests it may not be a good idea to bite the hand that feeds. Be sure to raise any issues as tactfully and calmly as possible.

Treat your managers the way you would want to be treated by someone reporting to you.

If you are upset by something let it sit for a while and reevaluate it after a few days. Decide if it is really worth kicking up a fuss about.

A reminder to all the employers out there – if you don’t truly respect and look after your staff then someone else will.

Some of the most successful companies out there are those that take the best care of their staff.

Coincidence? I think not.

Rob StGeorge
Senior SQL Server Database Administrator residing in Auckland, NZ

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