Adapting to company culture
For many people, adapting to a role at a new company is a challenging and sometimes even nerve-racking endeavour.
There is an adjustment period of about a month which will set the tone for the rest of your time there, so it’s important to get it right. Not only do you want to make a good impression and be seen in a positive light by your coworkers, but you also want to show your superiors that you have the potential and the ambition to move up in the company.
So how do you make an awesome first impression and make a positive contribution to your workplace?
For starters, company culture is the glue that binds everybody together under the same unifying core values and beliefs and transforms a company into a team. It’s also one of the most difficult things for leaders to get right.
Not only do they have to invest a whole lot of time and energy into building a strong foundation, but they also have to constantly and consistently work to maintain and fortify it. This is because company culture is one of those things that’s constantly in flux – it’s a living and breathing behavioural framework which is always adapting and evolving, just as its constituent members are adapting and evolving.
But how do you adapt to a culture of a company you’ve just started working at?
The first thing you need to do is put in the time and effort to understand the company.
Before even applying for the role you should have a pretty solid idea of what you’re in for, so take an hour or two to do some quick research on the company and the role. Apart from the obvious key bits of information like what the company does and what your role in the company would be, you should also have at least a vague idea of where they’re at regarding their company culture.
Most people still require an adjustment period of about a month to explore the company and start to feel comfortable with their coworkers and leaders.
During this time you’ll likely make a lot of mistakes and receive a lot of feedback, but that’s ok. After all, moving to a new company is a big change – especially if the previous company you worked at had a different culture.
The second thing you need to do is to ask as many (good) questions as humanly possible.
Of course, not every single question is worth asking, but the key point here is that you shouldn’t be afraid of looking stupid or being annoying – at the end of the day, the more informed you are and the more up-to-date you are, the more value you’ll be able to add to the company, and your team leaders will appreciate your effort because it’ll make their job easier knowing that you know what you’re doing.
In this way, a company with a positive culture is a two way street – it opens up the communication channels between the different departments and different levels in the organisational hierarchy, and enables everybody to be at their most productive.
It’s a learning journey for both employer and employee.
At the same time, when it doesn’t work it can feel a bit like fitting a square through a round hole.
You shouldn’t just force it, otherwise tension begins to build on both ends and everything just starts to tear at the seams. There’s no right time or wrong time to leave, but it’s better to leave earlier on rather than staying longer and just trying to push through because then both sides end up unhappy.
A company is a microcosm of the real world, and a positive culture will make people want to be part of that microcosm.
Having a clearly defined company culture acts as a filter for all those who don’t fit within that culture. At the end of the day though, if you’ve made it through the interview and gotten the job, you’re likely already a great match for the company culture they have in place, so just relax and be yourself.
Until next time,