Acclimating to Your Company's Culture

Every company has a unique corporate culture or way of doing things. For example, some firms emphasize collaboration on projects, while others prefer an individual approach to assignments. Some companies expect their employees to work overtime on a regular basis; others don't focus on the time involved as long as the work is completed. These and other factors are all part of the larger way that organizations conduct their business.

How quickly and effectively you adapt to your employer's culture will help determine your success there. Adopting the work style of your company will foster camaraderie with your colleagues and, ultimately, increase the visibility of your accomplishments and your value to the organization.

Following are a few steps you can take to become acclimated to your company's corporate culture:

Pay attention to the work ethic. Note factors such as how early people arrive and how late they stay, as well as the size of the workloads they're expected to handle. If the organization's approach is different from yours, determine how you need to adapt.

Follow protocol. Observe the chain of command when seeking approval on a project or idea. If your supervisor doesn't tell you what you want to hear, don't go to his or her manager looking for a different answer. This is disrespectful and can damage the relationship. Instead, discuss the decision-making process and any changes you may need to make in the future.

Use the standard forms of communication. Companies, and even departments within the same organization, may share information differently. Where one business may conduct group meetings to make announcements, another may prefer to send emails. Adjust your communications accordingly.

Observe how people interact. Pay attention to how your coworkers relate to each other. For instance, if they offer unsolicited input throughout staff meetings, avoid waiting for the facilitator to ask for comments. Also take note of how they refer to senior managers

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