Employer Insights

/ 4 years ago /

 Article by Brenda Wong

11 company culture qualities you should be looking for

This article was written in collaboration with FDM Group. Explore exclusive #fdmcareers graduate opportunities at FDM Group by downloading the Debut app. 

Usually when you apply for a job, you do just that. You polish up your CV. Pop a few mints before you head into an interview. Try to charm your potential future employer into hiring you. But have you stopped to consider that the company should really be applying to you?

Company culture is so important. If you’re new to this, company culture is made up of the  beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviours defined by a company’s employees.  A good company makes decisions by referring to the values laid out in their company culture. Also, it helps you, the newbie, get a sense of how things work in the company.

If you’re going to be spending eight hours a day, five days a week in one place, you’d want to know if you’re going to have a good time. Here’s what you should be looking out for before you sign on that dotted line:

1. Transparency

company culture

Companies don’t have to be in your face about being transparent. At my previous job I used to have to write up a daily report detailing all the tasks I was going to complete that day. It was a waste of time and I didn’t feel trusted by my manager to do my job.

What employees really value when it comes to transparency is access to information at their convenience. How is the company doing financially? What is the company’s salary structure like? Is a product in danger of being axed?

There is a certain fear that being transparent will leave a company vulnerable. However, there is value in sharing information with your employees – whether it be successes or failures.

2. Trust

company culture

Speaking of opening up and sharing, trust is another important company value. I’m typing this article up in Kuala Lumpur where I’m currently remotely working, but Team Debut are all based in London, seven hours behind me.

If my team didn’t trust me to just get on with my day, it would cause major conflict and upset. Instead they trusted that they’ve hired somebody reliable, and they’ve left me to decide how best to structure my work life whilst I’m away.

Without trust, the relationships you make with your fellow colleagues will not grow. Having trust as a core value fosters strong bonds between your work mates – a priceless thing to have.

3. Leadership

company culture

How does your company encourage leadership? A great company recognises the potential in every employee, and gives them the resources to become a future leader of the company.

A place that believes every team member has the potential for greatness is a place that’ll give you the support you need to get there.

4. Mission/Vision


TED Talk speaker Simon Sinek once did a talk called ‘Start With Why’. In it, he states that a company needs to have a strong purpose of existing – a strong ‘Why’ – to achieve success.

Ensure the company you’re interviewing for has a strong purpose. That underlying current of ‘why’ will push the company in the right direction, but only if it’s a strong current. If it is, you should totally ride that wave.

5. Communication

company culture

Here at Debut we’re constantly talking to each other. Communication can be seen as a sub-category to Transparency, and they definitely go hand in hand.

How does your company foster good communication? Do they use tools like Slack or Hipchat to encourage better digital conversations? On the flip side, watch out for companies who might bombard you with too much communication – you shouldn’t be expected to answer emails on the weekend if you don’t want to.

6. Work Ethic

company culture

A great company encourages you to have a good work/life balance. Sure, you should constantly be striving for greatness. If you need to get the job done, get it done to the best standard you can muster. But if you’re pulling 16-hour days five days a week, something’s going to snap.

Your managers should be checking up on your work/life balance, enforcing boundaries, and leading by example. If you can’t get the work done in the normal 9-5, perhaps tasks need to be redistributed and delegated. Great company culture forces a healthy work ethic, and a healthy work ethic is balanced.

7. Happiness


You may have seen this job position pop up on various social media websites: Chief Happiness Officer. Companies, especially startups, are trying to get to grips with retaining their employees – most of whom will job-hop through their entire careers.

What is the company doing to improve job satisfaction? The best work perks I’ve seen are Wellness Wednesdays (encouraging workers to get off their butts and do yoga or pilates) and free breakfast on Mondays. However, there’s nothing like a good old fashioned suggestion box – but only if it’s regularly checked and responded to.

Want to work for a company who truly values employee happiness?
Click here to view the career opportunities available with FDM.

8. Failure

company culture

Mistakes happen. You’re going to make mistakes, your boss is going to make mistakes, his or her boss is going to make mistakes – it’s inevitable.

Great company culture isn’t scared of failure. An organisation that celebrates failure, stares it in the eye and beats it off with a stick is one you should stick with.

It’s also important that a firm encourages you to own up to your mistakes. Accountability is important – you don’t want a work environment where you feel like you’re the scapegoat for any and all failures.

9. Career Progression

company culture

Trust us, you don’t want to be stuck as a junior level executive all your life. It’ll be great for new employees to be able to see a clear path in front of them, with all the levels laid out, and what they need to do to get there.

A company with no clear career progression sends out signals that they don’t care about their employee’s development. Definitely avoid places that say ‘they don’t see structure’ – structure always exists, they’re just telling you that to discourage you from asking for that promotion.

10. Respect

company culture

Will your manager be texting you at 12am asking you to do a task ASAP? Do your co-workers crack inappropriate jokes in front of you daily? Are you expected, as the new employee, to do everyone’s coffee order just because that’s your initiation?

All of this is absolutely unacceptable. Respect is so important in a company, and treating each other like decent human beings will only serve to enforce better team work. Avoid the companies who don’t feel this is important.

11. Learning Opportunities

company culture

Nobody knows everything there is to know about their job or the industry. Great companies don’t hire you for your bank of knowledge, great companies hire you because you’re willing to learn, and they’ll facilitate all the learning you want to do.

Is there a budget for seminars and conferences? Internal training sessions? A mentor system? All this will enrich your working experience and ultimately make you a better employee.

  If you want to add some of the world’s biggest brands to your CV, don’t miss this opportunity and apply today at

Feature Image © Unsplash

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