Hack your commute: Understand your company’s culture

Finding out a bit about a company’s culture beyond the glossy HR leaflet and marketing comms can help you decide whether a new role is the right one for you.


Whether you’re job hunting, new to a company or want to understand how people think across different parts of your organisation, having a good grasp of its culture is indispensable, especially for departmental or business leaders. Of course, the HR department will almost certainly have produced some glossy material expounding the company’s values – indeed, as a marketer you might even have been involved in researching, formalising and communicating them – but does the reality really match up?

To find out, you could make enquiries across your company or the one you’re considering moving to, but it is difficult to get a representative sample of honest opinions and you may raise suspicions among colleagues that some political intrigue is afoot. Thankfully there are much more discreet way to do your research – company review sites such as Glassdoor and Indeed.

For bigger companies in particular, the sites can provide a highly revealing insight into what employees really think, based on anonymous reviews and salary submissions from individual workers about the companies they work for. Trawling through the posts can give a quick indication of which values and priorities actually filter down to staff on the front line. It can also reveal which departments are better managed and respected by the company hierarchy – something the salaries may also show when compared with industry peers.

As mentioned above, this information could be of particular use if you’ve recently joined a company, as the first 90 days are often the key to establishing a leadership agenda or simply getting a handle on a company’s strategic direction.

If you’re looking at a new role, meanwhile, knowing something about the company culture could be crucial in making your decision about whether to make the leap. As a Jobvite study of US workers found earlier this year, almost 30% have left a job within the first 90 days at some point in their career.