Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Get to Know the Company Culture

Getting to know the company’s culture is always the first and often the most difficult thing an intern has to do at work. It is a tremendously important step for the intern to get to know the company’s daily operations, its structures, and the working environment. I would like to share three ways for interns to get to know their company’s culture before or during the internships.

First of all, interns could utilize the lobby times fully to start conversations with people who are not only on your team, but also those working in the same building. At the lobby or in an elevator, you could fully use your time to talk about both work or non-work related subjects that help you get to know people around you. This is a great way for interns to understand the culture of their organizations by starting conversations and asking questions in small groups. It is just as important, during those conversations, to observe the behaviors and interaction patterns of the people as it is to hear what that say about the culture itself. Since it is usually hard for interns to describe in words what a company culture is like, you will gain the most information by doing conversations.

The other way for interns to get to know their company culture is by observing and asking direct questions on the subject that they are interested in. In that way, interns observe the culture in their organizations by taking a walk around the building and looking at some of the physical signs of culture.

One way to observe the culture in your organization is to take a walk around the building and look at some of the physical signs of culture. Some of the conversation starters or direct questions that an intern could ask is listed below.

– How is the space allocated? Where are the offices located?
– What is posted on bulletin boards or displayed on walls?
– What is displayed on desks or in other areas of the building? In the work groups? On lockers or closets?
– How are common areas utilized?

These are just a few of the questions to answer when you observe and assess your organizational culture. Take a culture walk frequently to observe organizational culture in action. You will reach the point where you can assess and feel subtle differences over time.