• Sanjana Tripathi

No company has a culture, every company is a culture.

Often companies while introducing themselves to a bunch of graduates talk about the numerous perks in the form of pet-friendliness, massages, ping-pong tables, etc.; a lot of which is very commonplace in most companies in the Silicon Valley, and most new hires or students are invariably attracted to this adornments. But what both the company and the employees forget is that these are just ‘perks’ and perks do not work without substance. The employee the company just hired or is planning to hire is more attracted to the beautiful office space and the pool table than to the company’s core mission. And the student or employee overlooks important considerations like how well does the company values gel with their set of ethics, how much of the company’s vision can they actually visualize, and how much of their realities overlap. And while this kind of matching can yield fruitful results for both the company and the employee in the short-term, it does very little to contribute to the company's culture’.

Perks don't work without substance.

The word ‘culture’ is always used with a connotation of ‘collectiveness’, ‘togetherness’, or ‘a group’. It is a collective term used in relation to humankind. A culture is built when a group of people who believe in the same idea, theory, fact, or myth come together and identify themselves as a collective entity. The tangible manifestations or items associated with any culture are only a by-product of the like-mindedness of the people. The items don’t define a culture, and cultures cannot survive relying on the abundance of these items alone. Any (new or existing) culture thrives when a group of people believe in a mission and visualize that mission as a part of their own identity. 

No company has a culture, every company is a culture.

To build a synergetically thriving culture companies need to take a long hard look at their internal processes of hiring and onboarding and ask themselves some hard questions. A good place to start with (in my opinion) is the job postings and the introductory presentations. Or maybe not. Maybe the problem lies even deeper. Maybe the problem does not exist at all. However, students and new hires do need to self-reflect and ask themselves questions like:

  1. What are the company's mission and values and how does it align with my personality and ethics?

  2. What do I expect to get out of this job for myself (professionally and personally) and what are the company's expectations of me in the role?

  3. How does accepting this offer pan out in the larger scheme of my life?

  4. Do the company and its existing employees really know why they are doing what they are doing?

While these questions might seem hard to answer at first, but they are nothing more than a self-reflection exercise. The questions can change based on circumstances and personal preferences, but what stays the same is - how much you know about yourself and how much is the company aware of its mission.

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