In the job search process, it’s important to take the time to do a little detective work on the company you’re interested in joining. But what kind of things should you be watching out for?
This Go-Getter post addresses the concept of workplace immaturity and the red flags that should be an alert to job seekers.
Now, it’s important to remember the context of our use of “immature” in this article. We don’t mean that-annoying-guy-on-Tinder-named-Chad immature, or your-little-sibling-belching-at-the-dinner-table-immature. Rather, in this post, we’re referring to workplaces that have not fully developed to a point of stability and employee satisfaction yet. And they don’t just have to be startups or young companies either. Even established organizations can be immature and have some major growing to do.
An additional disclaimer: the following list are things to be mindful of when researching a company you might be interested in joining. Just because a company has one or more of these red flags doesn’t necessarily mean you should cross them off your list.
Let’s dive in.
No path upward.
When was the last time an employee got promoted or received a title change? How frequently does it happen, and why? And lastly, are women, people of color, ethnic minorities, or sexual minorities moving up the corporate ladder?
If there’s little upward mobility within an organization, it’s a bad sign that either the system is outdated (for example, the need for a diverse leadership team isn’t recognized) or that leadership does not place an emphasis on rewarding good work. You definitely don’t want to work in a place where you’ll feel stuck! Be wary of organizations that don’t seem to offer much of a chance of moving up the food chain, especially for minorities…more on that below.
No emphasis on diversity and inclusion.
Diversity and inclusion are more than corporate buzzwords. They’re moral issues – but they’re also strategic ones.
If a company doesn’t make an effort to recruit and retain employees who have various backgrounds and walks in life, then its culture and work will become unhealthily one-sided. What’s more, a commitment to diversity and inclusion is one of many ways to gauge the ethical health of the leadership at a company (is it a priority for them, and why?)
We can group the concept of nepotism under this rule, too. A common example is that of a small, family-owned business where – regardless of talent or competence – the people who are related to the leaders rise to the top. Not a deal-breaker, but it’s something to watch out for as it does sometimes cause complications in the workplace.
The concept of favoritism or unfair bias is closely related to this red flag as well. For example, if a leader of your company is a longtime drinking buddy of one of your coworkers, how will that affect your career journey at that company? Will you be treated fairly? Will this other employee’s bad work or behavior slide?
No mentorship or coaching.
This one is important for all professionals, but especially people who are early in their careers. It’s awesome when companies have mentorship programs in place – opportunities to help you grow from more seasoned professionals who can give you insight on mobility in the organization, ideas for growing within your unique industry, feedback on your communication within the workplace, and more.
This is an example of a hill that might not necessarily be worth dying on, simply because you can absolutely build your own network of mentors within the company without a formal system in place. But it is definitely something to think about when you’re considering a company: is the organization putting an emphasis on developing people who are early in their careers?
No gender parity or sexual harassment safeguards.
Women who arrive in the modern workplace – particularly in industries that have traditionally been male-dominated, such as STEM – quickly realize that sexism at work didn’t end with the mad-men era. The good news is that in the wake of #MeToo, more and more organizations are becoming attuned to sexual harassment and inequality in the workplace.
But sexual harassment and sexism are blatant problems in the workplace still. I-Sight compiled research from sources such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Harvard Business Review, Randstad, and others to produce the “2018 Guide to Workplace Sexual Harassment.” Among other statistics, the report states that 54% of women have reported unwanted sexual advancements at work.
We recommend using In Her Sight to research companies and to understand their strides toward gender equality and parity. Sexism and harassment can make a workplace miserable, uncomfortable, and unsafe – and for your own well-being, you should try to avoid a company that doesn’t have policies in place to prevent and discourage that.
No dedicated educational resources for employees.
It’s simple: a company that invests in its team members is one worth joining. And on the flip side, if a company is not helping you grow as a leader and as a professional, you will be stagnant there. No thanks.
Research an organization’s educational and development resources. Find out if the company:
- Has a tuition reimbursement program.
- Allows employees to travel for conferences and workshops.
- Has in-house resources for employee learning, such as a content library.
- Allows employees to view training videos and webinars on company time as projects allow.
Now, if the answer is “no” to all of these, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t join a company. After all, you might be able to drive change in the organization and begin implementing these types of initiatives. It’s just something to be mindful of when you’re researching jobs. If you’re not going to learn anything beyond your day-to-day responsibilities, then what kind of a future are you building for yourself there?
Do you have advice for avoiding immature workplaces? Comment below!