By DebbieH 04 Feb 2019 7 min read

How to choose the right company to further your career

Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life.

This romanticised approach to life and work, condensed into a quote popularly attributed to Mark Twain, Confucius, and other eminent thinkers, is something that many people strive for encouraged by various motivational speakers and self-help gurus who frequently say that this is the only career advice that any of us will ever need.

But after a couple of jobs, it becomes clear that laughing all the way to the bank isn’t a very likely scenario. Employee engagement stats testify about this – only 41% of UK employees feel aligned with their company’s goals, and 36% are likely to leave their current position within the year.

Your greatest passion might not be easily translated into a realistic career. Besides that, no matter how much you like your job, there are always some tasks and responsibilities that you’d like to avoid.

However, by making a wise choice of the company you work for, your career can flourish and you can achieve work-life balance.

Here’s what you should consider before signing that seemingly attractive job contract.


The company’s performance

Money makes the world go round, that’s for sure, but a company’s profitability and market share are only a part of the equation.

The best companies take pride in another asset, which they consider their most valuable one – their employees.

For example, Apple tops the list of the largest companies in the world based on the market value. The tech giant is also famous for its generous and flashy employee perks, including annual discounts, free food, gyms, and even beer bashes which feature celebrity cameos. No wonder that it’s one of only 3 companies which have been persistently voted the best places to work for over 10 years.   

Industry leaders also state that employee retention is at the top of their priority list. They’re well aware that happy employees are engaged, loyal, and hard-working, all of which contribute to the company’s bottom line and overall success.


The company’s turnover rate    

This is a factor that you shouldn’t neglect, no matter how well the company may look on paper. The fact that the company you’re eyeing as your next career destination has a high turnover rate should raise a red flag, as it’s the symptom that something fundamental is missing there.

And that something is seldom more money. Only 12% of employees actually leave because they’re not satisfied with their salary.

The main reasons why people decide to look for another job include:

  • a toxic relationship with their boss;
  • the lack of feedback and recognition of their performance by the management;
  • being bored and unchallenged by the job itself;
  • their inability to find a purpose and meaning of the work they do and be useful in the grand scheme of things.

So, basically, the odds are that a company whose employees frequently quit suffers from some of the above-mentioned issues, and that’s not particularly promising when it comes to your career growth.


The company’s work-life balance

Okay, so the company you’re interested in offers a generous salary and cool perks, which makes it extremely desirable.

Still, you need to dig deeper and find out whether there’s a hidden agenda that’s not obvious right away.

Work-life balance, for example.

This makes a big difference, as some companies are willing to pay high salaries in exchange for countless hours at work. If this concept doesn’t work for you, it’s better to know this before you realise that you’ll have to deal with a huge workload.

Take to social media and websites specialised in employee experiences, as these are the best and most reliable sources for getting the first-hand information about your potential employer.

Even if you are ready to make a compromise and accept this arrangement, bear in mind that it can eventually reduce your productivity and lead to burnout.

But, working long hours isn’t the only thing that affects work-life balance. The fixed 9-to-5 schedule has also grown increasingly unpopular because it prevents you from organising your work and personal time in a manner that suits you.

That’s why many successful companies switch to telecommuting and flexible schedules which put their employees in control of their own lives and happiness. Needless to say, this particular benefit also boosts productivity and engagement.

A 2-year Stanford study has shown that telecommuting also reduces employee attrition by 50%.


The company’s core values

That is whether they’re aligned with your own.

Most companies come up with catchy and compelling value statements and talk about their corporate culture, mission, and vision, but some of them don’t live up to the expectations in this department.

You need to be assertive about this and ask everything you need to know about the company’s management style, work ethics, as well as what they perceive as good results so that you can be clear about what you can expect and what will be expected of you.

Besides learning more about these important factors which greatly contribute to a healthy and positive workplace environment, these questions will leave a good impression on the recruiting officer because they show that you’re interested in fitting in and being a valuable team member.

Since we mentioned the interview itself, you need to be careful as to what and how you ask, since questions like “Will I be expected to work extra hours?” don’t exactly portray you in a favourable light, because your potential employers don’t want to hear you complaining about the workload before you’ve even been hired.


The company’s career development program

Companies which provide their employees with different options and resources for advancing their skills and expertise are among the most desirable ones.

Lifelong learning isn’t just a buzzword, and you should take it into consideration seriously. If your potential employer lists different resources and training opportunities in their job ad, it’s a good sign that you can expect to learn something during your stint there.

You can also check out the company’s social media channels and website and see whether there are photos from the conferences, seminars, and training programmes that their employees attended.

Although the first thing that many people think of when they hear the phrase career progression is a promotion, a bigger office, or a pay raise, it’s actually all about your education and knowledge as that’s something that can’t be taken away from you, and that will bring you the highest level of personal and professional satisfaction.

So, before you make such an important decision regarding accepting a new job, make sure that you’ve gathered all the necessary information about your potential employer.