Too often we hear firms talking about their ethical business model but when we take a look at their business practices and culture we see a different story. As a soon-to-be graduate, the choices on offer can be overwhelming. Whether you’re looking to forge a career in media and marketing or accounting, there are hundreds of firms vying for your attention. Whilst it’s easy to get sucked into the thought of the latest fads and big-name brands, we take a look at why it’s important to know a company’s values before hitting that submit button.
“Values set the foundations of everything we do, they enable us to create a nurturing and inclusive culture where everybody feels they can bring their whole selves to work” explains Suzanne Willis, a Partner and Head of the Diversity and Inclusion Group at Blick Rothenberg, a tax and business advisory firm with a number of programmes for graduates. “It is so important that everyone can truly be themselves at work and feel included as such. Our people are key to our business and celebrating and harnessing the differences we all have helps us work together better.”
For Blick Rothenberg, this focus on values is placing a high importance on collaboration, authenticity, respect, and being dynamic. “A significant part of our work at Blick Rothenberg is carried out within teams,” Ella Waddingham a Senior Manager at Blick Rothenberg explains, “so knowing that you are working with individuals with the same values is essential.”
And this focus on living the BR values works is evident at all levels within the organisation, from Partner to trainee. Joyce Wu, First Year, explains “Everyone is assigned a buddy who is in the year above at their office who takes them out for lunch and checks in with them. It’s really comforting as this is a new environment for a majority of the students and so to have that friendly face around the office to ask questions to is great… even it’s just asking them how to use the photocopier! Overall there is a really friendly atmosphere in the office, last week one of the tax partners came along to an office social and it was just really nice to just chat with them and get to know them on a personal level.
For many companies, the culture will change as based on size. Three years ago Blick Rothenberg was a company of 250 people and has now doubled in size expanding from one office to five, all based within central London, but they have been careful to retain their culture Catherine King, Senior, explains “The size of the firm attracted me initially (…) The change in size means we are taking on more interesting clients, but we are still able to retain that personal relationship.
Ella explains the graduate scheme at Blick Rothenberg has been designed to make sure everyone gets a “personal and tailored” experience. “This culture means there is always a colleague available to assist when a trainee has a question,” she tells us. “As a medium-sized firm, we’re still small enough that we know all of our graduate trainees individually.”
So, in short, as you set out on your career journey, take a second to work out the things that matter the most to you, and the values you’d like to see in a company. “Never underestimate the power of alignment,” stresses Eleanor Tweddel, an author and business mentor. “When you spend time really understanding what your values are you will begin to understand when and where you thrive.
Tips From The Blick Rothenberg Graduates
If you’re looking for your first job make sure you take the time to get your application right:
- Don’t make up your reasons for applying as it doesn’t come across as genuine. Apply for something because you want to do it and that will make developing in your role and balancing work and study so much easier. – Joyce Wu
- Don’t worry if you don’t have a “relevant degree”. When you start your training, your expected knowledge level is zero. All of the training is designed to start from the bottom and get you to where you need to be. – Catherine King
- Make sure to do your research on the firm as well as the field of work, It’s easy to get sucked into applying for well-known names or a load of firms all in one go, but make sure the companies you are applying for are ones you want to work for. – Alice Brown
This article was produced in conjunction with Blick Rothenberg, a tax, accounting, and business advisory firm with a huge range of graduate programmes putting your personal development first.