LSJ March 2020

Professional development CAREERS



CORPORATE CULTURE CLASH The start of a new decade often brings a desire for change. Many employees look for a new job, but the Wall Street Journal warns against making the jump too hastily.

2. Interrogate recruiters A recruiter is ideally positioned to give you neutral yet specific feedback about a company’s corporate culture and whether it would be a good fit. Peter Crist recommends asking them “why the five previous people they recruited (there) were successful”. 3. Make sure they’re not all talk During your job search, dig deep and ensure the company is committed to achieving its goals. Consider whether these align with your own vision. One media executive left an employer after only a short while because the company was unwilling to make the changes required to succeed. She realised her expectations for the company were drastically different to the board and regretted not determining this at an earlier stage. 4. Make it temporary Try before you buy. While this is a relatively new initiative to job hunting, tech-industry executive Tissa Richards was able to try out the company she works for by working as a temporary consultant. “It’s kind of like dating someone before you marry them,” said Richards. While it may not always be possible to secure a temporary position, see if it’s possible to attend some meetings or events prior to making the jump. 5 Ask the intern Don’t just rely on the executive level of an organisation to tell you what it’s like working there. Go and ask the assistants or, better still, the intern. When you go in for an interview, take note of the unspoken cues such as whether staff smile or avoid eye contact. “Pay attention to your internal warning systems,” said executive coach Joelle Jay. “How would you feel about working with these people?”

According to Peter Crist, Chairman of Crist/Kolder Associates, this can be a huge problem, especially at executive level. “About 30 per cent of executives taking new jobs fail to figure out the company’s culture correctly and end up leaving too soon,” said Crist. This issue also arises when staff are pushed into a different sector or subsidiary of an organisation. In 2018, Sebastian J. Gunningham shifted from Inc. to vice chairman of the start-up WeWork and soon became chief automation officer. Gunningham admits the transition was harder than he had anticipated, particularly because WeWork and Amazon were at vastly different stages. “I obviously did not do enough homework on the culture decision,” said Gunningham. David Reimer, the Chief at Merryck & Co, a mentoring and development firm, provided advice on this very point. “Posing the right set of questions is your best bet for getting a candid read on whether a company’s culture is open to outsiders,” said Reimer. 1. Discover the rules It’s important to learn what rules apply and to whom. Gail Meneley, a co-founder of career-transition firm Shields Meneley Partners, recommends asking if there is a different standard afforded to staff who exceed their targets. For example, are they given leeway to secure deals without internal approval? If so, consider whether you’re comfortable working for a company that applies different rules for different people. Brad Neuenhaus, chief business officer at MindEdge Learning Inc, was attracted to his workplace after seeing an executive clear the plates of other employees. With that in mind, consider these five strategies before moving jobs to help you assess the company’s cultural fit:

44 LSJ I ISSUE 64 I MARCH 2020

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