company culture reflects how businesses operate and what they stand for.

But to make an informed decision before accepting a job offer, you should first know whether you’ll fit into your potential new employer’s culture.

but what exactly is company culture, and how does it affect you?

Whatever your opinion on company culture, in a market where job seekers hold power, it’s something that organisations are paying more attention to than ever before. And so should you.

According to a Columbia University study, the likelihood of staff turnover at an organisation with excellent company culture is very low - just 13.9 per cent.

In comparison, companies with a less engaging culture see an average turnover of 48.4 per cent.

what is company culture?

Man and woman smiling and laughing in an office room
Man and woman smiling and laughing in an office room

Company culture is essentially the personality of a business.

It comprises an organisation’s values, plans, work environment, employee behaviour, and expectations. It can dictate dress code, degree of formality, and even the tone of voice employees use when speaking.

If you work for a more traditional firm - many established law and accounting companies, for example - then you’ll likely be expected to dress in corporate attire, behave in a formal, professional way at all times and address your supervisors and managers with respect.

The company culture here will be more formal than that of a young start-up. 

In contrast, if you’re employed in a newer industry, for example, a tech start-up or a digital marketing agency, the environment here tends to be more casual or informal. You might be able to think of your boss as more of a colleague or even a friend.

These organisations tend to have a more relaxed company culture, where perks like dressing down, games in the office and a lack of set working hours are more common.

an illustration of a laptop showing a compute software

looking for a healthier company culture

submit your cv

how does company culture help you make a better decision

personal growth - ball/dot jumping steps in various color combinations. Please use the background color as indicated in the file name.
personal growth - ball/dot jumping steps in various color combinations. Please use the background color as indicated in the file name.

Some companies see culture as an essential marketing tool for new employees. After all, what better way to convince people to work for an organisation than to share snaps of Friday afternoon drinks or lunchtime book clubs and other staff occasions where everyone has big smiles on their faces?

This all comes down to employer branding - how a company brands the employee experience. This has benefits for you as a job seeker. If a company establishes a particular image of itself and communicates that externally, it’s easier for you to determine how it will fit into that picture.

According to the latest Randstad Employer Brand Research, which surveyed 6,001 Australians, a pleasant work atmosphere is one of the top 5 most important factors when choosing an employer.

Healthy work environments usually mean a better work-life balance, open communication, rewards and recognition and career development.

A company’s purpose and values are also something to consider. Have they shared their company values and what they stand for?

This could be a red flag for you if these aren’t compatible with your own. After all, you probably won’t be comfortable working for a company that manages the PR for a meat producer when you’re a committed vegan.

knowledge is power

Smiling man and woman with drinks sitting down on bench outside. Having a conversation.
Smiling man and woman with drinks sitting down on bench outside. Having a conversation.

Getting to know a company’s culture can help you make a good decision about whether or not to join a company.

You can do this by combing through companies’ social media profiles and websites and asking questions such as ‘what would your employees say about working here?’ during interviews to find out what kind of culture there is.

You can also look for visual cues when attending interviews to work out whether it’s the sort of company culture you think you’ll be able to fit into.

Take note of what the office atmosphere is like.

  • Are people talking and laughing with each other, or is it tranquil?
  • What are people wearing?
  • Do the managers have separate offices, or does everyone work together in an open-plan format?

These are just some things you should look out for if you want to know whether it’s a culture that resonates with you. 

just remember, though, that cultural fit works both ways.

According to HR tech company Jobvite - cultural fit is the most crucial aspect of hiring for 60 per cent of hiring managers.

So if you’re seen as an excellent cultural match to the organisation, you stand a better chance of being considered for the job.


So take the time to think about how you can communicate to a potential hiring manager and how you would be an excellent cultural fit for the organisation through your job application and interview. 

Now that you have a few ideas that will help you uncover and learn about a company’s culture, you can use this information in your job search to secure the role you want and work for an organisation that will take your career to the next level. 

When you work for an organisation where the culture is a good match for you and that you feel connected to, you’re more likely to stay in the role for longer and have experiences that will add to your future employability.

You’re also more likely to progress your career within the organisation, as many firms have specific targets for hiring talent from within before hiring externally.

Learning about a company’s culture before applying for or accepting a job offer certainly pays dividends.

Check out our job seeker toolkit here to learn more about the job-seeking and application process.