Rebecca Heller, MHC, NCC
Thank you for reaching out.
This is a tough question to answer because no matter who you ask, every person would have a different perspective on whether or not a work environment is supportive.
There are a few ideas you can try..
One of them is looking at reviews online. However, take what people say lightly. You must keep in mind that everyone has their own opinion, and from my personal experience/observation, the "loudest" people are usually the ones who are most cynical about an experience. So, when looking up a review keep that in mind. Just because someone else had a negative experience, does NOT mean you will too.
Another option, is to reach out to someone who is currently working there or has worked there in the past (or both if it helps). You can ask them what their experiences has been/ were a long with pros and cons of the workplace.
A third option, is when you get to the interview process, you can ask the interviewer what the environment of the company/office is like. Hopefully they will answer honestly and you might get a sense of how it will be through that.
At the end of the day, the only way to really know about a work environment is to actually be in the environment and experience it for yourself. As I already mentioned, everyone has a different perspective on what a supportive environment means. Your needs are different than someone else's. You may feel an employer is supportive when another person may feel the complete opposite and vise versa.
I hope this helps.
YOU GOT THIS! Please don't hesitate to reach out again if you have a question.
Loretta, At my last job, we joked that if we ever interviewed for another job, we would ask to see the lunch room and employee restrooms. Might not be a bad idea!
I would ask questions about the turnover rate. Why do they have the vacancy that you are interviewing for - did someone quit, get promoted, or?
Maybe even ask something like, " I realize that if I get the job I am being paid to actively work 8 hours a day. Does this company support the idea that a few breaks/distractions throughout the day makes for a more productive employee, or do you believe that a lunch break should fulfill that need?" Or, "If I decided to go back to school in the evenings, and needed to leave 30 minutes early one day a week, would I be able to use my vacation time and do that, or would that be a problem?" (this actually happened to me. . . really sad!) You also might want to ask about the cell phone policy. A forward-thinking business will recognize the value that the younger generation's connectivity can bring to the company (within reason).
Ask about what they do for the holidays, any office luncheons, recognizing employee birthdays, etc.
Ask if you are allowed to decorate your cubicle!!!! ( this also happened to me. . . new mgt. wanted a sterile look)
I love that you are thinking this way! Be confident in the interview, and yes, you ARE there to interview them as much as they are interviewing you. "own" the interview without being cocky!
If everything about the position and the company is appealing, go into your new situation with a positive mindset. If you find areas of the culture which you believe can be improved, volunteer to help address those areas. Because the culture of where you work is important to you, this could be an opportunity to gain additional gratification from your work experience.
With every good wish!
Ann recommends the following next steps: