Thriving in a workplace culture can be a happy accident-or a well-planned success. Have you ever had the experience of working in a job that should have been great—but wasn’t? Loved the work but not the company? Unsafe or unethical practices? Co-workers you could not relate to?
In any case, even though many workplaces are now remote, it’s a safe bet that a closer match between your work values and the workplace culture could head off many job nightmares, and lead to more successful work experiences.
Values are your beliefs about what is important or desirable. When your values line up with how you live and work, you tend to feel more satisfied and confident.
Living or working in ways that contradict your values can lead to dissatisfaction, confusion, and discouragement. So there is good reason to clarify your values, and seek to match your work and workplace culture to them.
Match personal values to workplace culture
How will you know when you’ve found a job or a company with a culture you will thrive in? A good place to start is to identify your own work-related values. CareerOneStop’s Work Values Matcher is a quick card sort exercise that asks you to rank statements to define your ideal job. Your choices indicate your top values.
The next step is to learn about a workplace’s values and culture. When you get your Work Values Matcher results, you’ll see a list of ideas about how to determine whether job opportunities and employers reflect your individual values. These ideas can be applied to networking, employer research, and job interviews.
How to recognize a workplace’s culture
Let’s use the value Recognition as an example to demonstrate some ways to recognize aspects of workplace culture.
The work value Recognition is described as a motivation to advance and lead in your career. If Recognition is one of your highest work values, it’s probably important to you to have authority over others or their work, and to develop a career with prestige and the potential for leadership.
People whose strongest value is earning or gaining recognition will find more satisfaction in jobs with good prospects for advancement, prestige, and potential for leadership.
Some indicators that a value for Recognition may be featured in the culture include:
- Employers seek employee input to improve day-to-day operations.
- Career ladders are available for increasing responsibility and promotion.
- Mentorship relationships are encouraged between junior and senior staff or others.
To learn how a specific employer views Recognition, asking these questions may be helpful in networking, informational interviews, and employer research meetings:
- What are you most proud of about working for this organization?
- Do you feel respected by your supervisor and co-workers?
- Does the organization offer incentives for employee initiative and accomplishment?
And during a job interview, asking these questions will help to clarify where you might find opportunities to express your value for Recognition:
- What are the goals for the first 6 months of this position?
- Could you describe any training and professional development available in this position?
- How would you describe the advancement potential for this position?
To identify your work values, take the CareerOneStop Work Values Matcher, where you can also read more about Recognition and the other five universal work values. Or learn more about career self-assessments in general.