The young graduates usually don’t know what to expect at their new job. There is so much going around at workplace that they find themselves lost in their own thoughts. A lot of questions related to company’s work and culture keep flashing in their mind, but they can’t decide which one to focus on. Comprehensive list below is compiled to discuss the aspects of company culture that freshers should pay attention when they join at a new job.
Knowing the company’s cultural environment should be on a fresher’s top list. This is important because you should know what the company expects from you. And how do you fit in this new work culture?
The work environment of a company mainly depends upon factors like size of the company, the work-life balance, the guiding style of leaders and structure of the office. The culture can be informal where there are no hard-bound rules and the focus is only on the productivity or it can be formal, where a proper channel of communication and work needs to be followed by every employee. Following types of work style are seen, based on some common workplace observation:
- A Dubious Style – Sceptic environment where questions about the work are encouraged whenever somebody provides solution or strategy. This helps in achieving unbeatable work goals.
- Individual-focused Style – It is a customization environment where employees can make reasonable changes at their workplace like they can work from home, or can bring their own piece of furniture, etc. unless these changes don’t interfere with the productivity.
- Agile Work Style – This is an open, no wall environment where employees are free to work from any suitable place in the office contrary to the cubicle based closed structure.
- Corporate Savvy – This style builds a work environment where every employee must follow the set of rules at each level. It also builds a class-system type of environment where seniors are not questioned but followed for their instructions. The work timings and mode are somewhat restrictive and pre-defined in this work style.
- Unified Work Style – For achievement of collective goals, this style expects each one of the employee to work in mutual understanding with each other. The honest feedback are shared from top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top too so that company has improved end results.
Company vision, mission, and goals
You must have seen company’s website mentioning its vision, mission, and goals. They are not just text but are the blueprint for company’s future progress graph. Reading and working on the text mentioned as company’s vision will make you an important contributor to their success. You can plan your work accordingly to build a trusted long-term relation with the organization and hold a prominent position in the hierarchy.
Every company has made provisions for making concerned information available to employees. You can approach HR office to know where you can look for reading about the company’s policies, a forum for sharing ideas and seek internal opportunities and point-of-contact. Such information system will save some of your frequent visits to the HR office. This will also help you to know about all other aspects of company culture, mentioned underneath.
Employees are a direct face of the company; inside as well as outside the office. At the time of joining, HR of the company does brief you about the dress code and conduct of the organization. In case they missed out on this information, you should take initiative to ask or research about it.
Following a dress code is somewhat related to professionalism. Your new company may be liberal about it and allow you to dress casually or they may have rules where they allow certain types of material, pattern, and types of clothes to wear.
Approaching the supervisor
At fresher level, you can expect to have a large number of seniors that may fall into a direct or indirect hierarchy. It is utmost important to know how the organization wants you to approach your supervisors. There can be a formal way where you can only approach seniors at a particular level and that too via a set mode of communication such Email or company’s chat system. Or a company may be open cultured where even the highest designated senior is available for direct talks. Such approach is feasible in smaller-scale organizations with the manageable number of employees.
Every company follows reward-based system to keep employees motivated and loyal. If you are a dedicated and performing employee, it is your right to seek information about how the appraisals are done and what milestones are set for it. The appraisals can be target-based, company’s profit based, time-based, project-based, or performance-based.
Things that are frowned upon
There are some things at the workplace for which there might not be any written or stated rules but are considered against professional ethics and are frowned upon if done. For instance,
- gathering an unusual number of people at your desk for the not-so-important purpose,
- taking long tea breaks,
- asking your fellow mate to just accompany you to the washroom,
- talking loud on your cell phones,
- Using the office phone for personal use, etc.
Your common understanding and behavioural cues from your fellow employees will tell you about such more things.
Compliance and security
This aspect is really important to follow – for yours and others’ safety. For this reason, read and discuss the issues that can lead to compliance and safety breech. Some examples that relate to compliance and security are the use of pen drives, installing unauthorized applications, accessing non-allowed machines, going against fire safety regulations, not following compliance for special work equipment, etc.
Learning and development
Being a fresher, you should be in a mode of continuous learning. This will help your personal development along with that of the company. Understand and explore what opportunities does your present company has listed for professional development. There can be some technical activities such as technical competitions, then there are career-oriented certifications, extra-curricular activities like cultural events, group discussions, game competitions, etc. to induce qualities of a team player. These will help you investigate future-you. Be an open-minded professional in accepting these opportunities.
Definition of harassment may vary from individual to individual but there are some accepted workplace harassment situations for which company defines clear actions. Read them thoroughly to prevent being part of such embarrassing situations and, also know how to get yourself out of any kind of harassment situation at the workplace. Remember, these policies are outlined for healthy workplace environment; avoid misuse of these policies and be a responsible co-worker.
Last but not the least, you should be clear on benefits you are entitled to by being in the offered position in the company. You will have a table of benefits and job package in your appointment letter but it is good to go through each of the mentioned package heads to know what are variable salary attributes, what amount will sum up as your provident fund & gratuity, what medical allowances and benefits are on company’s policies, are there any cashless medical facilities available, is there something for your family. Ask any doubts whatsoever to the HR or look for company’s knowledge management system for answers.
Apart from the above listed common aspects, there may be some industry specific cultural aspects that you need to look at. Be an informed professional from the day one. This will help in building up confidence about your employer and vice-versa.