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To Learn About a Company’s Culture, Read Press Releases

Natixis, a global asset management company, provides the kind of workplace culture millennials prefer.

How do I know?

I read a recent Natixis press release.

On December 8, the Boston-based company unveiled a novel plan to contribute up to $10,000 to help any employee (of any age) pay back student loans. That’s right — $10,000.

I spoke about the new policy with Tracey Flaherty, Natixis senior vice president of government relations and retirement strategy. Flaherty said the company came to the decision after research and employee feedback.

“As a financial services firm, it’s important we lead by example and allow our employees to be on sound financial footing,” said Flaherty. “The time to save is in your 20s and 30s, and we want to help the millennials on our team do just that.”

By now you’re thinking, “Natixis seems like a pretty cool place to work.” Well, remember how we found out? A company press release.

When you research companies, you probably go to the usual spots on the web site: mission statement, about us and services. Those categories matter, and you can often pick up a vibe (positive or negative) based on the description. But to gain a sense of the work environment, you must go a level deeper: the page called “Press,” “Media,” “Recent News” or something similar. If the company has a blog, even better. Read that too.

If the press page (and/or blog) covers topics like volunteer projects, employee perks and recent awards, the company might seem appealing.

Example: a recent CarMax press release that lists the company as one of the 20 best places to work in retail. Of course a company will only share positive news, but it’s still a window into the office culture.

Note: in the case of Natixis, the press release appeared on a media distribution website and not the company URL. But in general, the press page is where you’ll understand what the company is about.

Prepping for a job interview

Here’s a classic millennial interview question: “Can you tell me what the company culture is like?”

That’s a fair question, but a much better one is based on a press release from the website.

“I see you started a program that pays up to $10,000 of an employee’s student loans. How did you decide on that program?”

For more, see: 4 questions every millennial should ask in a job interview

The company press release page, then, helps in two ways:

  • Educates you on company culture
  • Arms you with information that can impress in a job application and job interview

Yes, you have every right to know about company culture, but there are smarter ways to find out than asking straight up in an interview. Do your research beforehand and come prepared. Oh, and make sure to sound impressed at what they’re all about.

And if, like Natixis, the company offers money toward your student debt, sounding impressed shouldn’t be too hard.


How do you learn about a company’s culture?

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