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There is an important term causing a lot of conversation in the business world: company culture. What is company culture and what does it mean to the success of that business?

To put it briefly, company culture refers to both the behaviors and attitudes of both the company as a whole as well as its individual employees. Company culture is evident in how the people within that organization interact with not only one another but outsiders. It reflects the values that they hold as well as the decisions that they make.

Company culture can encompass a lot of things, too. That means the company mission, the working environment, values, leadership style, expectations, goals, and ethics, among other things.

How Company Culture Works

Company culture comes to be one of two ways: from decisions made overtime or being deliberately and expressly cultivated. When the culture is strong, employees have a greater understanding of how they are supposed to act and what the goals for themselves and the company are.

Some companies have a formal or traditional management style. Others put an emphasis on a team-based culture where there is participation across all levels. There are many examples of each across the business world with varying levels of success for each.

Identifying Company Culture

There are more than a few things that one can do to find out about that company’s culture. The first is to check out the company’s website. The “about us” page, in particular, should have a description of the values and mission of the company. There may also be employee testimonials.

You can also read reviews from employee review sites. Those are more candid and will include the bad as well as the good about what it is like to work in that company culture.

Of course, you could always ask around. If you know someone who has worked for or currently works for a company, ask them about what the culture is like. Again, direct experience is oftentimes the most valuable tool.