When taking up a new job offer we often underestimate the importance of finding an organisation with the right cultural fit.  As individuals we thrive or fail in different environments.  Helene Vermaak, Business Director at organisational cultural experts, The Human Edge, says that it is often difficult to gauge the company culture and whether the company will be a good fit for you prior to starting with the organisation.

Vermaak says that she is often asked what to do, if one joins a company, only to realise a few days or weeks in, that the company culture is not a good fit.  What then? “If you can realise early on that it might not be a good cultural fit – that is great.  Many people either don’t recognise the conflict or tend to stick it out, setting themselves up for unhappiness that could have been avoided.”

Despite the circumstances, many of us choose to remain at an organisation for various reasons – just having a job, a schedule that allows for outside interests, working for an organisation with a great reputation or even gaining career experience.  If the experience is mostly positive many just decide to stay.  Vermaak says that there is nothing wrong with this approach as long as you recognise that you are choosing both the negative and positive aspects of the job.

However, for some, staying is just not an option.  Vermaak offers 6 tips to assist in approaching this situation, without causing detriment to your career path:

  • Schedule a time to meet with your manager to discuss your views of the culture and concerns as to whether the environment is the right fit for you, your skills and expectations.
  • Be positive and share your thoughts on what initially attracted you to the position and the organisation.
  • Follow-on with your concerns, referring to actual incidents, regulations and observations.
  • This then allows you the opportunity to layout your tentative conclusion to leave. It is important not to apologise for your thoughts but at the same time don’t overwhelm your manager.
  • To ensure that you do not come across as threatening, it is important to then give your manager the opportunity to express their thoughts and views. Your inquiry is not only an opportunity to test your assumptions but also to weigh-up the organisation’s commitment to continue with the cultural patterns you are concerned about.
  • Lastly, the conversation allows you to explore whether there are other opportunities or places for you within the organisation that may be a better fit.

Vermaak warns against being bullied into accepting an offer that does not deal with your cultural concerns.  “The conversation is not about remuneration or other concerns not related to the work environment.”

“This approach gives the organisation a chance to make a change – be it major or minor –  if they feel that you are a valuable asset and if they have no desire to change, you are able to leave the organisation gracefully,” concludes Vermaak.