What exactly does ‘work culture’ mean these days?

What exactly does ‘work culture’ mean these days?

We’ve shared memes, read articles and voted on LinkedIn Polls about how ‘culture’ is more than a ping pong table in the break room and a fridge full of beers. And to be quite honest, I’ve interviewed for roles myself where the selling point for the business is how ‘cool’ or ‘modern’ their office is.

The thing is, we all know that ‘culture-washing’ is a waste of time. Candidates have caught onto what is essentially a marketing-gimmick, a ‘red-flag’ if you must, and often a cover up for a business that is actually severely lacking in great culture.

I had a pretty good idea of what culture meant for me after afew years in the industry. It’s being rewarded for my great work, not hours worked. It’s a short, or no commute so I can enjoy my personal life and it’s a leader who trusts and inspires me. 

I make it a priority of mine to ask candidates what culture means for them at a workplace. Here’s the top 4 responses.


Seems obvious, right? Apparently not. The most common response I get from candidates is that they want work life balance! It means a few things, no expected over-time, no obligations to respond after hours, a short or no commute and eating lunch away from their desk. 


Our candidates want to work with people they get along with, people they’d grab a beer with and enjoy general conversation. They want a non-toxic work environment, and to maybe make a few friends…especially if you’re required to be in the office, because if the vibes are off why bother.

  1. TRUST

I’ve never interviewed a candidate who told me they want to be micro-managed. Great candidates are looking for leadership and a level of autonomy in their role. There’s nothing worse than starting a new gig and finding out your opinion doesn’t matter because ‘that’s how we’ve always done it’. Great candidates want to bring their skills and experience to a new role.


100% the main reason candidates slide into my DMs. Great candidates are looking for progression, they want to learn from others or be given the resources to learn through education, online courses, you name it. And off the back of that learning, they want to know that promotions are possible, or I promise they’ll be hitting me up after a year or two in a role.

My advice is to really consider what is important for your wellbeing and happiness at your workplace. Or if you’re looking for a new job, think of your non-negotiables in regards to culture and list these down. A good recruiter will help you find a safe and fun space where you can let your creative flare run free. Just try to avoid the ping pong table pitch…

Get eSuite’s eCommerce jobs emailed to you weekly

Author avatar
Amy McCarthy
Amy is an eCommerce Talent Specialist at eSuite. Having spent years working across eCommerce & digital marketing for brands like Knobby, Beginning Boutique and Jenny Craig. She brings a unique and 'lived' perspective when it comes to sourcing great eCommerce talent.

Keep up with the latest eCommerce jobs

Download our eCommerce Managers Salary Guide
This is default text for notification bar