Monday, August 13, 2012

Corporate Culture: Should I fit in or get out?

I had my mid-year performance review with my manager today. Overall, it went well. There was only 1 "Needs Focus" item: Improve knowledge and skills on corporate culture and work environment. "Sure thing, Boss"
  1. Understand the goal.
    • Improve knowledge -> research corporate culture
    • Improve skills -> implement knowledge gained from research
  2. Gather data and information.
    • Corporate culture is a term used to describe the collective beliefs, value systems, and processes that provide a company with its own unique flavor and attitude. (wiseGeek)
    • The different aspects of corporate culture are values, language, expectations, rituals and stories.  
      • Values are instilled into corporate culture by the decision and actions of the organization's leaders. This aspect of corporate culture influences the attitudes, motivation and decisions of employees. 
      • The understated values are just as influential as the stated values. These values include time management, cost savings, amount of space, and work performance.  
      • Expectations for employee behavior are an aspect of corporate culture that can either foster or hinder creativity and acceptance of new employees onto the team. 
      • Management should make clear to employees its expectations of how they should behave while at work to avoid confusion and create a positive working environment. 
      • It is especially important that new employees be briefed on office etiquette and general rules of the organization. (wiseGeek)
    • Above and beyond organizational and procedural factors, corporate culture is further informed by the attitude of everyone involved with the organization.
  3. Identify areas for further investigation.
    • Current culture - 
      • Stated: Acquire and retain talent, flexible work hours, autonomy, "open-door" communication policy across all levels of organization
      • Understated: Etiquette, working hours and environment, performance expectations, effects of using any "open-doors"
    • They say they want to emphasize creativity, flexibility, and innovation by being based less on control and organization than on freedom and creativity. However, the last few meetings with my manager included these statements:
      • "Do not compare yourself to those around you. You have not proven yourself."
      • "Do not [socialize] on breaks." 
      • "Do not get personal during meetings."
    • I'm pretty sure I've heard every variation of those sentiments since I started school. Some things are just part of who I am.....which is not a robot :-P