Like many students, when I graduated from college, I had to take a job that I didn’t necessarily hate, but didn’t love as well. It provided consistent income and helped to pay the bills every month. Though it was a good job, it didn’t have a culture that I was passionate about working in. I have found many of my peers are stuck in similar situations. They go from one company to the next, gradually increasing their income as their passion for the companies they work for decreases. An employee that isn’t passionate about what they do ultimately decreases in engagement at the company. The number one key to finding a positive company culture is in finding the right people. The right people can create a contagious company culture that will skyrocket the overall productivity. Specifically what contributes to this are the people you work for, the people you work with, and the people you serve.

The People You Work For

Your CEO and management team at your company should inspire you. John Quincy Adams once said “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” Great leaders would rather empower you than impress you.  Are you inspired by the mission and vision of the company? Does the culture you work in make you proud to be there? Would you recommend your best friend to work there? The answers to these questions can be signs of great or not so great leadership at your company. Other things to look for include the level of transparency in the leadership, a healthy work-life balance in your CEO and supervisors, and whether or not you think you would enjoy working in a leadership role there. If you don’t get excited about any of these, it may be a good chance you may not respect the leadership to truly enjoy working at the company. Great companies inspire you to be more than a better employee, but a better person.

The People You Work With

I absolutely love the people I work with. We challenge each other and pull together to help one another for the good of the entire organization. The people you work with should do the same. Drive, joy and unity are all signs of a healthy company community. You should genuinely sense that everyone has the same goals and are committed to reaching them together. Do your co-workers seem consistently happy? Even during demanding times, do they rally to get work done or grudgingly plow through it? Great co-workers may not share all of your personal values, but they should share your core professional ones. Try to intentionally build strong professional bonds with those you work with. If no one is naturally connecting in your office or department, try inviting them for lunch instead. When you join a company, you marrying into a family. You will spend an average of 33% of your life working with them. You should enjoy your time around them.

The People You Serve

The people you serve are your clients and customers. These people are the heart and soul of everything your company does. If you don’t like the people you serve, you will end up hating the work you do. Before you even consider working for a company, you should already have a passion for the company’s audience. I once worked for a company that gave me great experience and had great opportunities for growth, but served an audience I didn’t particularly enjoy. When you become disinterested in your company’s audience, you become disconnected with its growth. Look for elements in the audience that you can align with your own personal values or story. There are two ways a company could potentially serve your audience: directly or indirectly. Let’s say you are a software engineer that has a passion for working with millennials at a company that develops educational applications to help them study better. That would be an example of a direct service. What you would do in the company directly benefits an audience you enjoy helping. However, let’s say your passion is for disabled veterans. The software company may not serve this population through its services, but it donates 10% of its profits to Wounded Warriors. This could be just the incentive you need to keep you motivated in what you do.

Company culture is a critical component to driving employee engagement. Though it may take some time and research, finding a company culture that is right for you is one of the best things you can do for your overall work enjoyment as well as your productivity. Cultures aren’t created by rules and objectives, but people. Find the right people, and you will find the perfect culture.

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