When you are looking for a new job, it’s easy to prioritize the quantifiables. How much will you make each year? What does their retirement package look like? How about paid time off? These are the factors that will impact your financial life the most.
However, they don’t necessarily influence your lived experience on the job. Employment seekers are increasingly seeking desirable company cultures for that exact reason. You spend an enormous amount of time at work. A high salary is great. However, it only makes sense to choose a place that makes you happy, right? Read on to learn more about the importance of company culture in a remote job search.
Hold on a Second
Oh, hello there.
I get prioritizing company culture for a traditional brick-and-mortar job. But remote work? I plan to be in my sweatpants all day. What sort of culture is that?
A comfortable one, by the sound of things. Company culture may not feel as urgent as you look into remote working. And depending on your role within the company, it might not be. If you aren’t having human interactions much, one remote job more or less feels like the next. But if you are working in a collaborative space, the business’s attitude suddenly makes a big difference. Perhaps it would help if we defined company culture.
Defining Company Culture
Company culture is basically just what it feels like to interact with a business. It’s what they value, and how they enact those values in their company policies. It’s become a buzzword in the last few years because job seekers care about it. In fact, many consistently identify company culture as being more important to them than compensation.
People want great salaries, of course, but they also want to feel comfortable and happy with the place that eats up forty hours of their waking life. You can usually learn more about a business’s company culture by exploring its website. This information is most often contained within the “about us,” heading.
Here’s the trick though: more often than not, you aren’t going to see a business come right out and say, “This is our company culture.” Too on the nose. Instead, you’ll see it demonstrated in the language they use. The sorts of things they highlight on social media. And so on.
Why it Matters
Company culture is important because it can have a big influence on how long you feel comfortable staying at a job. When it is done authentically, it will influence company policies. How the business treats the people who work there. How easy it is to make friends with your coworkers.
That’s another thing— and actually, it’s one of the main benefits of “company culture,” on the business’s end. Company culture attracts like-minded individuals. For example, if Company X values a fast-paced, highly competitive work environment it can make that clear in how they publicly frame its company culture.
Knowing that many Type A people will flock to Company X. The business gets the type of employee it is looking for, and you find yourself surrounded by people who are (at least theoretically) like you.
No. Not Surrounded.
*Not surrounded. It’s remote work, remember? *
We couldn’t dream of forgetting. Remote work does have the potential to change things. However, it doesn’t always, and that distinction in and of its own right is often a product of company culture. For example, at Company X, even though there are many remote workers, the job doesn’t feel much different than it would in the office.
Employees are always on the phone with one another. Always communicating through one app or another. The workspace ticks and hums just like any other office.
Over at Company Y, however, things are a little different. The powers that be over there favor a more relaxed work environment. Consequently, even though your responsibilities are the same, you are encouraged to pursue them in whatever way suits you. If you want to wake up at four and be done with work by lunch, more power to you.
The work is self-driven and largely free of oversite. This latter scenario is probably what most people looking for jobs in the remote workspace are hoping for. However, it is by no means guaranteed. While remote work can be flexible, that’s not necessarily why businesses make the switch.
They could be trying to reduce their carbon emissions by doing away with their building. Or they want to save money by shredding their lease. Or they just want to attract talent from all over the world.
There are lots of reasons, and they can have a big influence on your lived experience. Pay close attention to company culture to ensure a work environment that you are happy with.
Using Company Culture to Your Advantage
So, how can a job seeker use company culture to their advantage? By figuring out how to brand themselves! See, company culture is something of a double-edged sword. The business provides its employees with a specific experience, but it also wants to hire people that fit into the continuity of said experience.
In other words, the digital marketing firm that cares about the environment— activism being a legitimate form of company culture— isn’t going to want to hire Jim the Notorious polluter. And Sweatpants Mcgee needn’t apply to Company X. It’s a suit and tie sort of place.
Figure out what you want in a business’s company culture. Then think up ways you can brand yourself accordingly. The better you can blend in with a business’s culture, the easier it will be for them to decide to hire you.
Much of this branding will happen on your resume. It’s a matter of how you decide to describe yourself. What language you use. What specific experiences you decide to highlight. Some of it can also happen on social media.
The very least you can do with your social media accounts is to make sure you don’t post anything that would preclude you from getting hired. At best, however, you can actively work on cultivating an image that is bankable for the job you hope to get.
It’s a lot to think about. However, by figuring out how to use company culture to your advantage, you vastly increase your odds of landing the perfect job.