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Whether you're a student in your final year of university or you're already finished up with your schooling, you're probably wondering what to look for in a first job. While there are many elements that can contribute to a positive work environment, workplace culture is one of the ways that they all come together and benefit - or don't benefit - the employees and the company as a whole. You might be asking yourself, what is company culture? And further, why is company culture important?

While company culture can mean a lot of things, it is essentially about working in an environment that is conducive both to company productivity and personal satisfaction. It's about the shared values ​​and characteristics of a workplace that make it what it is, for better or worse. If you're curious about workplace culture, here are some elements of great workplace culture to look for on your job hunt.

 

  • Sense of Community

One of the most noticeable and important features of a great workplace culture is a sense of community among coworkers and colleagues. While, of course, independent work is often valuable too, being able to feel like you're a part of a team can make your overall workplace experience much more enjoyable and productive. Not only can this grow friendships and social connections, but it can also foster a sense of collaboration and idea-sharing so your work can grow along with you.

 

  • Room to Grow

Another element of company culture is the space you have as an employee to grow and improve, both in the sense of learning and getting a bit better every day , but also in your career itself. Ask about training programs, promotional opportunities and if there are trajectories you can take to move up the ladder.

 

  • Work-Life Balance

While your life at work is a part of your company culture experience, so your life is outside of the office. Yes, we're talking about your work-life balance. Work-life balance is the ability to value things outside of work and have a healthy relationship between your work and personal life. Questions to ask here are usually along the lines of "Does this company offer vacation and sick time?" and "Do people tend to work late, long hours here and come in early the next morning?" Essentially, is this workplace demanding your full and complete attention in a way that isn't healthy?

 

  • Positive Attitude

Another important element of workplace culture is the overall mood of the workplace. At the end of the day, you want to work somewhere that makes you feel happy and satisfied, and a workplace that makes you feel positive about things will make you a better employee — and more satisfied in general.

 

  • Staying Power

This one might not be on your mind at the very beginning of your job search, but it probably should be. While some companies are known for their revolving door of new employees, others are known for keeping employees for decades. Even if you might not be intending to stay at your first job for years, it can be important to notice whether you see people constantly leaving the company — and why. Companies with more staying power tend to offer more consistency and happiness for their employees.

 

What is Good Company Culture?

Company culture isn't about just one thing - it's about a combination of practices and values ​​that create an environment where employees can get their best work done. From the sense of community to the staying power, there are so many factors that contribute to company culture, and it's up to you to decide on what kind of culture you want to exist in.

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