Before joining a board of directors examine the culture

by Seth Bodin on Apr 19, 2022

before joining a board of directors

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Before joining a board of directors, there are several factors that you might need to consider. But perhaps the most important one is company culture.

How do you find out if a company has a good culture, one that will suit your personality, skills and ambitions?

Company culture is often the most crucial business component because employees want to work in a trustworthy and collaborative environment. It defines a company’s values, aspirations, and goals. It is usually established by company leaders and then communicated and reinforced through several methods. A company’s culture affects everything from employee interactions with customers and career satisfaction to mental health.

Most directors and aspiring board members desire a work culture that aligns with a company’s core values, promotes productivity, and can set them up for success.

Why does company culture matter?

Company culture is more important today than ever before. In fact, 88% of employees would select workplace culture over salary. Basically, it’s the company’s DNA. It shapes the identity of the company you wish to work for and its reputation in the market. Besides that, it reflects how employees behave, communicate with each other, make decisions and carry out their work.

Work is a massive part of their lives for most directors and board members. But if their job makes them miserable or has an unhealthy culture, they can end up depressed. As a result, they might make decisions that can negatively affect the organisation’s direction. Their relationship with other company workers can also become affected.

Whether you’re joining a board of directors or switching roles, settle for a company with a suitable work environment. Keep in mind that you will spend countless hours at your job. So, it makes sense to take time to find an organisation that roots in your well-being and success -a company where you feel like you belong.

If you don’t click with the general vibe of a company, don’t accept the offer because you will not be happy working there. Also, the poor work environment will affect your productivity and even mental health.

The good news is that there are many ways to find out if a company has a good culture before you accept the offers. And we’ve listed some below.

Ways to find out if a company has a good culture

The first step is to research the company. Please find more information about the organisation, including its history, CRO, and whether its mission statement aligns with your values.

Review the company website and see if they talk about their culture, values, or anything else that can give you a deeper insight into what working with them might look like. Jot down what is said and what isn’t because they are both critical.

Next, go through the company’s social media pages and read online reviews. See what employees say about working there to get an overview of what it’s like to work there daily. But don’t take everything an individual says at face value. Keep in mind some people might hate working with a company but still praise them.

Check the organisation’s office setup. The way businesses arrange their office space can reveal a lot about how they treat employees (and clients). For example, suppose there is an open-concept office. That might mean that people share information quickly in an environment where workers are valued as individuals rather than cogs in a machine (literally). However, if everyone has their own cubicle and not much is shared between them, it could signify that communication is not prioritised at the organisational level.

Reach out to people and ask them about the culture

Once you have gathered some basic information about the company, reach out to individuals currently working at the organisation or those who have recently worked there. Inform them of your desire to work with the company and inquire if they are willing to answer some of your questions.

You can use platforms like LinkedIn to find connections from the organisation if you don’t know anyone directly. Chat with them and try to find an overview of the company culture. Try to keep the chat professional, don’t dive into questions that seem too personal.

Before joining a board of directors don’t just speak with the bosses

After the interview process, you can chat with several employees to get a perspective on the company’s culture. Don’t just speak with the top employees, or (worse yet) only HR reps. Instead, ask if you can sit down for coffee or lunch with someone from the department where you’ll be working. Also, please make time to chat with people who are new in their careers, plus those who have been around for 20-plus years.

If possible, try to meet with employees who work in various locations across the country or even internationally. This way, you can see how culture differs based on where people are located within an organisation. It can also be helpful to talk to customers or vendors because they’ll have a better idea of what it’s like to be part of your potential employer’s network.

Identify what isn’t being said

Last but not least, try to uncover things the organisation is trying to hide. See if the HR reps are reluctant to answer some of your questions. Do their answers feel forced or vague?

Do the hiring managers emphasise nap pods or free meals? Try to figure out what they’re trying to emphasise. Remember, over-emphasis on certain benefits instead of opportunities or experiences can signify that your prospective company lacks a culture.

If you work with a company with a good culture, you will experience higher job satisfaction and increased productivity levels and are less likely to quit. Once you’ve assessed an organisation’s culture, you will gain insight into what it will be like working there. From there, you can decide whether or not you fit in.

Read more: People leave toxic cultures, not jobs
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