The single best question to learn about a company’s culture

This originated from my short answer to a question on Quora (

“What single best question can I ask that unveils whether a company has a culture of integrity, passion, and isn’t miserable inside?”

From personal experience of someone who makes company culture #1 priority, over clients and any other party, I’d say:

“How exactly does the on-boarding for new employees look like and how do you handle newcomer’s mistakes?”

Usually a company that only bullshits about how they care about their employees will not be able to bullshit through this. Their answer will become the first promise they gotta live up to as soon as you start working there. It comes down to either they have a thoughtful on-boarding process or they don’t. Period.

A company that has a thought-through on-boarding process is the one that cares the most about its employees. I admire how Tony Hsieh does it at Zappos. Everyone who joins Zappos, regardless of department and position, will go through the same 4-week on-boarding/training program as everyone else, which starts from sitting at the call centre, to learn about the #2 priority of the company — customer service. During that period, they’d even offer you up to $2000 to walk away at any moment. Only the true believers will stay to live the company’s values and culture. Doing so ensures that every single employee lives and breathes the exact same DNA as everyone else.

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About @crysttn: I’m an Agency Founder and Creative Director, building brands and creative teams. Join my conversations about #CompanyCulture, #GrowthHacking, #Design and more, on Twitter. Oh, and I blog every so often.

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