Why Culture Fit is Complicated

by Sarah Ambach

Your first day on the job at a new company can be nerve-wracking [insert flashbacks to your first day of high school here]. Everyone wants to fit in and feel accepted.

I started working at Differential one month ago. I have a degree in marketing-management with a communications minor. I also just completed my first year of law school (I’m somewhat of a “professional student”). I was brought onto the Di team to do marketing, along with some legal research as needed. As a non-dev, and one of two female employees, I was a bit nervous about fitting into the Di culture.

The phrase “culture fit” is a complicated one. The word culture can mean an array of things and is further complicated by the fact that companies have many layers to how they operate.

Rapidly Unlock Value for Good People with Meaningful Ideas.

This is our mission, it defines how we want to work with each other and with our clients. Culture can refer to the values of the organization. However, culture also goes above and beyond this mission. Culture is what happens daily at your company.

Culture includes things that are not spelled out in the job description. These silent expectations can include going to events in the local startup community, weekly happy hour after work, or lunch outings.

At Di, the culture is how we treat clients. How we interact with each other and share ideas. How transparent we are with our processes. How involved we are in the Cincinnati startup community. How we push each other and work as a team. How we accept each individual’s quirky personality traits. How we eat Currito weekly and have spontaneous Nerf gun wars.

Every decision you make within your company is a piece of the culture. Your culture should be fluid and open to change, not stagnant. It is a fault to make the assumption that your culture is healthy (or that it is set in stone).

The Di culture is one of collaboration and innovation. One of the biggest benefits of our fluid culture is the diversity of our team. We have team members from all walks of life. Our differences keep us from becoming stagnant as an organization.

I feel fortunate to be working for an organization with such a great culture and strong values. This combination allows us to produce work we are proud of. The team has accepted me from Day 1 (and they even put up with the ridiculous amount of memes I post in Slack). I look forward to what the rest of the summer has in store!

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