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Soft-skills series: fitting into the company culture

03/05/16

British Formula One ace Lewis Hamilton is no stranger to the headlines, and his attire is often subject to media scrutiny. A recent race day trip to the Sahir Circuit in Bahrain cast Lewis’s clothing into the limelight for a different reason due to his decision to don local dress. The driver’s social media activity seems to suggest that his efforts were a way of trying to fit into Bahrain’s local culture – which he had high praise for.  

Fitting into a culture is not just important for those visiting or conducting business in a foreign country. Just like different countries, different workplaces and organisations possess their own distinctive working cultures, and fitting into them is an important part of building strong working relationships and becoming a motivated and committed employee. Accountancy firms have distinctly different working cultures, as do in-house finance teams in big businesses, and accountants need to integrate when moving between jobs, while bringing their own flair to the role. 

Hiring managers and HR teams have a strong appreciation for candidates who make the effort to adapt to a new working culture quickly. While new working environments can be daunting at first, meeting lots of people and showing a willingness to work in fresh ways will almost certainly pay dividends. It’s also good to work out what the ‘norm’ is; some accountancy firms expect employees to get involved in extracurricular activities for the business, for example, and not doing so is perceived as under-performance. 

On the other hand, when trying to adapt to a culture, candidates should ensure they don’t go too overboard and risk making a Prince Philip-esque blunder.  
 
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