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What to do if you’re in the wrong company culture

By Thea Watson, Marketing Director of Hays UK & I and UK Board member

We often describe company culture as the company’s personality – and being around a personality that doesn’t fit yours can be exhausting. If you have just started a new job, you may have been sold on the role in the interview, but there is something that doesn’t feel quite right. You like your job and you’re good at it, however to fit in with the company culture can be just as important for your job satisfaction. This could mean that you are facing a personality clash with your company culture, but how can you tell and what should you do next?

You’re not part of the group

Usually you are an outgoing, sociable and chatty person who is more than capable of making friends at work. And yet, in this job, you can sometimes go an entire week without having a proper conversation with someone that isn’t about work.

The problem is, unlike in previous jobs, you just don’t feel confident socialising with these new colleagues because you don’t feel part of the “in-group”. You avoid making jokes and adding to the conversation for fear of saying the wrong thing, and half the time you aren’t invited to join in anyway. Consequently you keep your head down, you eat lunch alone, you avoid team outings, and in truth, working at this company has become quite a lonely, isolated existence.

If this sounds familiar, this could be the first sign that you are in the wrong company culture. Whilst everybody is different, and you can’t necessarily click with everybody, the right company culture would make you feel welcome.

You don’t get your ideas across

It’s one thing to feel isolated on a personal level, but you also feel left out in a professional capacity. You find it hard to get your ideas across to colleagues in meetings, and you have noticed that people either disagree with you, or worse, ignore you altogether. As such, you have avoided speaking up completely, which you know is damaging to your career progression.

Nobody should feel isolated at work. If you do, then this boils down to the fact that you aren’t in an open company culture where all ideas are embraced and everybody has an equal chance to get their voice heard by senior management. These types of inclusive work cultures do exist, you just need to find one.

You don’t feel motivated

You still love what you do, and anyone who knows you would say you are diligent, passionate, and that you take pride in your work. And yet with this position, your motivation levels have hit rock bottom. Why is this? If it’s any of the below reasons, then this is symptomatic of being in the wrong company culture:

  • You feel uninspired by senior management, and all of your colleagues for that matter
  • The company don’t seem to recognise, reward or celebrate success, at least not in the way you would like
  • Your work ethos is not aligned to your employer’s. Either everybody works too much, or too little
  • The company don’t seem very invested in your career development and lifelong learning
  • You no longer care about the values, purpose and overall vision of the company, or the part you play. In fact, you wouldn’t care if they went under tomorrow

A combination of the above is enough to make anyone feel apathetic at work. What’s worse, is that this is now impacting your performance, and could hinder your longer term career goals.

What you can do

As mentioned, the company culture is the personality of the company, and you can’t get on with every single personality, therefore you won’t fit in with every company culture. Therefore it’s important that you aren’t too hard on yourself, but treat this as a learning curve, and think carefully about the kind of culture you will fit into before making your next move.

Identify the type of culture you do want to work in, from how inclusive they are, to how they progress their employees and recognise success. Pinpoint everything you don’t like about this company, and how your next one will be different

Talk to your recruiter – share your ideals as well as your overall career goals with them. They will have a rich client database and a good understanding of the personality of these companies. I would also advise reaching out to your professional and personal connections to see if they have any recommendations

Before interviews, check out the company’s social media page and online reviews -these can give a good indication of company culture

During interviews, look for clues about the company culture, for example, how the interviewer answers the question: “How would you describe the team dynamic?”

You deserve to feel a sense of belonging to your organisation, for the sake of your career progression and day to day happiness. So get out there and find a company culture that does embrace your values, work ethos and personality type, and just watch yourself thrive!

If you are looking for support with your employment needs please contact your local office.

About this author

Thea is responsible for the UK & I marketing team as well as driving the strategic direction of the marketing function, looking closely at opportunities for growth, positioning in the marketplace and sales support. She was appointed to the Hays UK & I Board in July 2017, following joining the UK business in the summer of 2016.

Prior to her current role she was the Vice President of Marketing for the Hays Americas business, joining the business in 2012. Under her management she built the marketing function from general support to a strategic driver of sales, establishing a central marketing unit supporting Canada, US and four Latin American countries.

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