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Deloitte Digital's tips on getting to grips with workplace culture

An organisation’s culture fundamentally affects employees and the way it interacts with clients.

If you want to make the most of your first graduate job, you need to find a workplace where the culture is a good fit for your own personal values. That’s the view of Varvara Sidorova, Deloitte Digital graduate recruitment lead, who explains: ‘I believe you can only succeed in your career if you work for an organisation whose culture is consistent with your own internal set of values, and if you like the people who you work with, both your team members and your customers.’

What questions should you ask when you’re trying to find out about an employer’s workplace culture and figure out if you’d be a good fit? Varvara suggests students keep their own interests and aspirations firmly in mind as they set about researching organisations for graduate job applications. Here are four key areas she says they need to think about:

  • Content of work: does this organisation do the work I am interested in? When I look at examples of its recent work, do I find them exciting?
  • Strategic direction: are my long-term career goals aligned with how this organisation is set to develop? Is it a new, dynamic business so that my career can grow as it develops, or is it a stable, established market player where I can develop deep expertise in my area of specialism?
  • Learning and development support: will I get the opportunity to learn new skills? Is there structured support provided through a training programme and on-the-job coaching and mentoring?
  • Culture: will I like working with these people? Is this an the environment where I will feel inspired, challenged and supported? How will working for this organisation fit with my lifestyle?

How team games play a part in creating the culture

An organisation’s culture fundamentally affects employees and the way it interacts with clients. It includes its vision, values, customs, systems, language, symbols and assumptions, all of which combine to create its unique social and psychological environment.

Eileen Valera, systems integration engineer with Deloitte Digital, explains that from a client’s point of view, agile and collaborative working is a vital component of the culture there. From the point of view of employees, this means involving customers at every stage of the project, keeping pace with technical developments and taking a flexible approach.

There is plenty of structured support for new graduate recruits at Deloitte Digital. Graduate analysts take part in a two-year training programme during which they receive formal training as well as learning through work on client projects. Each analyst is allocated a mentor, who is a few grades higher and can help them overcome challenges and make the right choices. Engineering analysts are paired up with senior developers who also help them learn new technologies.

A culture of open learning and experimentation is fostered through team games known as mash-up days and hackathons, where groups brainstorm product ideas that are assessed for their viability by a panel. The winning team gets a prize.

The company also runs all-women hackathons as part of the Deloitte Women in Technology Network, which was born in 2007 and now has over 600 members across different areas of the firm.

The network aims to attract more women to develop their technology careers with Deloitte. It provides access to internal and external role models, a support network, and opportunities, and it celebrates the accomplishments of women in technology.

‘It makes for a very invigorating environment,’ says Florence Curtis, a business analyst with Deloitte Digital who graduated with a degree in economics. ‘My advice to students is to do things with openness. You can’t know what you’re good at until you it try it – so try new roles and projects and take a multidisciplinary approach. In Deloitte it’s perfectly possible move from an advisory role to a technical one.’

She feels that this openness of culture serves Deloitte’s female employees very well. ‘Often women don’t feel encouraged into technical roles,’ says Florence. ‘Deloitte does a huge amount to break down those barriers. I felt very welcomed into the technical side of the business.’

Deloitte Digital is the event programme partner for IT’s not just for the boys! 2015/2016.

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