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How would you describe corporate culture?

How would you describe corporate culture? #business #finance #accounting #entrepreneurship #graduate #corporate-finance

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Daniel’s Answer

Corporate Culture is sort of like answering the question "what is your family like?" It varies widely, and what may be normal at one place (family) may be very different or unheard of at another. Some are very bottom line driven so they are constantly focusing on cost savings and making net profit their first thought when it comes to every decision. Others are employee driven, worrying as much or more about their employees wellbeing than their shareholders. Some are neither, and it is said there is little to no culture there. It all depends. In my opinion, the best ways to answer the culture a company has is to ask existing employees (not the ones that you would be interviewing with) research online, and see if that company has a code of ethics or conduct that is published (most large companies have something of the sort). I would start by asking current and former employees online or in person to see how they viewed the culture. Keep in mind, their answers will be their perceptions, so make sure to factor that in to your decision.


Good Luck!

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Terence’s Answer

"Corporate culture" in a broad sense is what the company tries to create as it's environment. Not in terms of amenities like catered lunches and funky offices, but the actual working environment. I think it really comes down to what a Company says it values, what it actually values or prioritizes, and how the employees perceive all of this. The best way to learn about this is to speak with current/former employees, research employee surveys and feedback (these are generally biased, so take them with a grain of salt), and see if there are common themes. Do people comment about the same issues ("no job mobility", "poor sr. leadership"), or is it pretty varied?

Almost every company will have similar mantras and core values - "people first", "customer is #1", "innovation", etc. - perhaps in a different order across each company, plastered on their websites, posters, and recruiting materials. I would say a majority of companies that describe their corporate cultures at least make and attempt to uphold these values. Sometimes, competing priorities get in the way, like revenue targets or expenses ahead of people. It happens, employee satisfaction/engagement are put aside

A smaller block of these companies successfully install these core values and practices across the organization. At these companies, their priorities are the tie breakers for tough decisions. If something comes down to compromising a core value, a different approach is taken. Do you send an employee to major training to develop their skillset, or make them skip it to hit a daily metric? In the later scenario, you hit the daily/weekly metric, but you may lose out on employee satisfaction and development, thereby losing some employee engagement. In the former scenario, the metric might be missed, but you've strengthened the employee, built trust and loyalty, you've boosted their engagement.

These are pretty broad examples, but they illustrate what happens when push comes to shove, what does the company put first? These values are emphasized by their leadership teams, pushed by managers, and felt by employees. These interactions and and observations are felt across the company and shape the employees real view of the company. All of these combined, form the true perspective on corporate culture. You can find out about these things through employees.
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Julie’s Answer

Culture will vary based on several factors with some big ones being industry, company, and team. In my experience "Corporate Culture" can even drastically vary from team to team within the same company. I have worked on a handful of teams with different roles (FP&A, Internal Audit, Operations, etc.) and all of these are different. Not only does it depend on your teammates and manager, but your leadership will make a big impact as well. In one of my teams, the SVP was very dedicated to volunteering so a couple times a year, the team would spend a half day out of office volunteering. In other departments, the team really didn't have the bandwidth for that so volunteering was less of a priority. I had a very social manager once who arranged for monthly or quarterly happy hours. My current team is based in different offices across the country, so that's less of an option for us.

The best way to find out about culture is during your interview. You can ask various people you talk to how they would describe it for their particular team - maybe ask about things like volunteering, happy hours, and general flexibility. There is no "one size fits all" for corporate culture but hopefully this helps you find one that works for you.

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Jian’s Answer

I work for Dell. I really like this company's culture. First it's result driven. As a sales people, a lot of sales force are remote. You are rewarded by you delivered, not by how many hours you worked or how long you presented in company. Second this company is very focus on work life balance. Remote working help a lot of employees to achieve that. Third this global company is very diversified. My teammates are from different countries and cultures and work on different time zones. They truly appreciate the difference you bring to the company.
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Lynell’s Answer

Daniel's answer was perfect. Years ago, for the most part, corporate culture was defined as "how stuffy and stiff" you could be, it was all blue suits and shined shoes. Now, different corporations define it differently. Some companies barely even have a dress code yet they are part of the Fortune 500. So, one way to find out the culture of a company that you are interested in working for is to visit their website, if they volunteer at any local events, stop by their table or check them out and just have some casual conversation with the employees about their work culture.


Good Luck

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Greg’s Answer

Daniel's answer is spot on. I will give an example from my own company. Our culture is a "show me" culture. In other words, we would rather try something out before jumping into an activity deeply. We also have a culture of engineering and excellence. Many good things come from that, but sometimes we aren't as close to the customer as we would like to be. A company's values may underpin their culture but behaviors define it. Many behaviors make up a culture

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