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Corporate Culture: 'An Invisible Ecosystem' That Determines Workplace Happiness

BOSTON (CBS) -- As a software engineer, Anish's Smith's coding skills are in high demand. But she wanted something more than staring at her computer screen all day. She found it at ezCater, an online catering app for businesses. "Each member of the team is bright, driven, and curious and also kind," she said.

Like more workers these days, corporate culture was at the top of her list when deciding where to work. "You spend five out of seven days a week at that place, so you have to be working somewhere that's a positive, healthy place," Smith said.

It's also a priority for hiring managers, including Jason Squatritro, who manages Anisha's department. "We say we hire for culture first and we mean it," he said.

Squatritro describes the culture at ezCater as family friendly and very hard working. He believes finding applicants with the right fit is imperative. "We have definitely had folks who have interviewed here. [They are] highly talented software engineers, but if we don't think it's a strong cultural fit, we don't move forward," he said.

ezCater workspace (WBZ-TV)

According to Ralph Roberto, president of Keystone Partners, a career consulting firm, corporate culture is important but can be tough to define. "This almost like an invisible ecosystem that determines so much of whether you are going to be happy or successful there, and it's a system of beliefs and values and behaviors of how the organization operates," he said.

There are a few things you can do to try to figure out that eco-system before you take a job.

Check out the company's Facebook and Twitter profiles to see what employees and customers might be saying about the company. Sites like Glassdoor can also be helpful.

In an interview, you can come right out and ask what the culture is like, or you can make your questions more pointed. What is the system for promotion? Is there an opportunity to work remotely? Do employees socialize outside of work?

ezCater work environment (WBZ-TV)

Finally, use LinkedIn to track down former employees. You might get the real scoop from someone who isn't currently on the payroll.

I think the more aligned you are with the culture, the greater your potential in doing well in that culture," Roberto explained. "The greater the gap, it's harder to do well."

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