4 Questions to Ask to Get Immersed in Your New Company’s Culture

Stacey Woods

Every company has a culture. Here’s some insight on how to enable it, not just be a part of it.

Every company has a culture. Here’s some insight on how to enable it, not just be a part of it. 

In my last blog about how to rock the first few months of your new job, I ended by talking a bit about company culture. This phrase gets thrown around quite a bit in the corporate world, and there are many definitions, but here’s the simplest one I’ve found: company culture refers to the attitudes and beliefs of a company and its employees. Evidence of a company’s culture can be found in many ways: how a company communicates, how they make decisions, and the values that are important to them.

When you’re weighing whether to join a new company, whether or not you’ll fit into a company’s culture is most likely one of the main factors—and there’s plenty of ways to do research: during the interview process, taking a look at an organization’s website, and asking people who work there what they think of the company. If you work somewhere with a good culture fit, you’ll feel more comfortable—and that comfort will lead to better, more engaged work. 

After you begin your new role, it’s up to you to be a company culture enabler, as that’s how an organization’s culture continues to get stronger. Make sure that you’re doing your part by getting the answers to these four questions:

How does my company communicate, both internally and externally?

Depending on its size, a company’s communication may involve many tiers—there might be many business units or teams within an organization. To learn how your company communicates internally, start with the people closest to you. Does your team prefer to send emails, or do they prefer to pick up the phone? Do they communicate through a communications tool like Microsoft Teams or Slack? How does your manager prefer to be communicated with? Is there a company intranet or portal where you can go to get information or give kudos to others? Familiarizing yourself with all of these avenues ensures you won’t miss anything important. 

You’ll also want to pay attention to your company’s external communications methods — and this means going a little deeper than the occasional glance at your new workplace’s social media channels. Set a Google Alert for your company’s name, so you’re aware of what’s going on in the market. If you work for a publicly-traded company, make it a point to listen to those earnings calls. These are key ways to quickly get up to speed with your organization’s culture. 

How does my company’s environment impact day-to-day operations?

As many companies make the switch from an on-site to 100% remote or hybrid work environment, it’s important to consider how these environments—and potentially having employees stretched across many time zones both in the United States and beyond—may affect everyday work. 

Maybe your team has meetings first thing in the morning because you’re catching your coworkers in France before their day is done. Maybe that co-worker in China isn’t replying to your afternoon email or message because they’re fast asleep. Whatever the situation may be, being aware of your company’s work environment and being able to plan around it means it’ll be easier to get your work done, as you’ll know what to expect when it comes to collaborating with other team members. 

What’s the language or vocabulary at my company?

Words matter, and the ones you use at your company—even for the most basic aspects of the business—are an important part of the culture. Every industry has jargon or buzzwords—but in this case, I’m referring to the specific phrases or words your organization uses in everyday conversations about the work you do. 

Does your company refer to what it offers as products, solutions, or services? Are the people that purchase those services clients, partners, or buyers? Are there special names that the company gives to specific initiatives or roles within your company? Paying attention to the words that get used—and using them yourself—is the best way to learn the language of your company. (Hint: if there are a lot of words and acronyms, consider creating an internal glossary that you can refer back to—and share with new team members!). 

How are decisions made at my company? 

While you most likely don’t need to know every decision being made at your company, it’s beneficial to understand the decision-making structure of your company as well as your department or team. At the company level, does your organization have a Board of Directors or a private equity firm they answer to? Who are the members of your company’s executive team, and what are they responsible for? 

At the company or team level, what’s the decision-making process for your leader or manager—and if you’re tasked with work that’s needed to help your leader make a decision, what information do they need, and how do they prefer to receive the information? Knowing this information ensures you know what to expect—and what’s expected of you.

Share Post:

More From
The Blog

Spotlight: Impact at XPO

One of Stacey’s many standout strengths is her keen ability to deliver flawlessly and within expected timelines across a broad, global scope, even under pressure-cooker situations. At the beginning of our journey at XPO, we were charged with integrating HR systems, processes, and policies across an amalgamation of 17 acquisitions spanning 35 countries. By August 2021, we pivoted to a new strategy, executing the first of two back-to-back spinoffs of public companies (at $7Bn and $4.5Bn of revenues, respectively), with the second one completed in November 2022. In between these transactions, we also orchestrated the sale of our $1Bn intermodal and drayage business within a matter of 12 weeks (in March 2022).

Read More »