“Values reflect what is important to the way you live and work.” ~ Anonymous
When we’re in the job market and looking for a company at which to work, we often look at the superficial aspects like salary, job title, location, work environment, benefits, etcetera. We rarely look at other important aspects such as the company values, leadership style, decision-making process, transparency and communication with its people. If you want to build your career with a company that aligns with who you are at your core, it’s important to understand these aspects.
Where you end up working is not a passive, one-sided decision. Both you and the company need to determine if you’re a good fit, and this involves more than just your technical ability to do the job. People are rarely unhappy with the work that they choose to do. To paraphrase a much-used statement…people don’t leave jobs, they leave bad bosses, toxic work-cultures and poor practices. you can make an informed decision on why you will (or won’t) work at a company when you understand its offering and value system.
Before you can determine whether values are aligned, you first need to know your own values.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- How do I make decisions?
- What drives me?
- What’s non-negotiable for me?
- What will I do or not do while building my career? Where do I draw the line?
It’s only when you’re able to clearly communicate your own values and how you want to build your career that you’re able to determine if you’re a good fit for a company and if your values align.
A company’s values aren’t simply what they declare on their website or display in their office. It must be lived and made visible to everyone inside and outside of the business. To get an honest idea of a company’s values, you need to do thorough research and, where possible, observe the culture and interaction within the company.
It’s important to ask the company itself a few key questions:
- What are their values?
- How do people in the company live each value? What are recent examples?
- How does the company make decisions?
- How does the company share decisions with the team?
- How are the company’s vision and strategy shared with the team?
- How does the company show its people that they are valuable? What are recent examples?
A successful, fulfilling career involves more than gathering technical, on-the-job experience. It involves selecting a work environment that supports growth and aligns with your personal values.
Do you know your company’s values? How do they align with your own?