If we learnt anything from the last year, it’s that connections can be made regardless of our geographical location. The people we work with and what we do together matters. When you can’t travel, can’t leave the house, when all you have to do is work, what you do and the people you do it with matters.
As we live in an ever more connected and exposed world, our expectations about our workplaces are getting higher. We get the chance to see inside organisations more than ever before, either through the media or social media.
We now expect the organisation we work for to stand for something. Whether it is to serve the Australian public or save the environment, many of us want more than just to go to work, do some tasks and go home at the end of the day. We want to feel like we are contributing to a bigger purpose.
More and more organisations are expressing what is important to them through their values (We are courageous. We are innovative. We support our people). Organisational values set the tone for culture and tell your people what is important when working here. As employees, we expect that our leaders will uphold these values, and when they don’t, it feels like a big let down.
Think about it, if one of your organisations’ values is to ‘develop and support our people’ and then in a meeting you are told there is no budget for personal development courses and no promotional opportunities this year, it starts to feel disingenuous.
If we feel engaged and aligned to our workplace, we are more likely to be more productive, happy at work and willing to stay. If you feel like your values are out of alignment, it can impact your working relationships, productivity, job satisfaction, and personal potential.
How do you know if your workplace is right for you?
Understanding what we value at work and what matters to us is now more important than ever.
If you are trying to work out if your current workplace is the right one for you or you’re in the market for a new role and trying to work out how you can figure out the “culture” of a new workplace, there are a few things you can do to.
Figure out your values
It sounds obvious but to know if you are working in the right place, you need to know what is important to you. Is it people? Is it the type of work you do? Is it the purpose of the organisation? Is it feeling like you’re making a contribution? I love this article from Mark Manson to help determine your personal values – Personal values: How to work out who you really are
Define your ideal job
If you could pick the ideal environment, culture, organisation, team, role… what would it be? You have probably never stopped to really think about this before. Write it down. Describe it in as much detail as you can. This becomes a checklist when deciding if you should apply for a job and questions to ask in interviews. It can also help you think about if your current job has what you need to be satisfied.
- What are your talents and strengths? (What are you good at?)
- What tasks do you hate doing? (What do you not want to do?
- What type of activities do you get the most satisfaction from? (What do you enjoy doing? Hint, may not always be the same as your strengths)
- What type of culture do you like to work in?
- What type of subject matter do you find engaging? Is the topic you work on important to you?
When applying for a new role, don’t just go to the organisations’ website. Do some research about who they are. Google, read recent media articles, social media stalk the company, reach out to your networks. Find out what people are saying about the organisations and if you can what people who have worked there feel about the place.
We spend most of our lives at work. Many of us will spend more time at work than with family and friends. Isn’t it better to be happy and productive than miserable and hating going to work every day? Finding a place that aligns to your personal values and engages you in the work you want to do will put you on a path to finding a better work life!