Can You Be Your Authentic Self at Work (and what to look out for to make sure you can!)?


“Bring your whole self to work!” We’ve all read it in job postings and heard it from companies eager to display their diverse and accepting work culture. But what does it even mean (and is it even truly possible)?

It’s perfectly natural, as humans who require acceptance and connection to survive, to mask some of who we are when we start a new job. We are feeling out the environment, getting to know our colleagues, and testing the water of how much of our authentic selves we can reveal, and when is the right time. Today, with remote or hybrid work environments becoming more the norm than the exception, we are having to take greater leaps of faith when we join a new company. We must get a sense of our teams and the company’s values and culture, sometimes without ever shaking a colleague’s hand. So, what are those things that signal to us that we can ‘bring our whole selves to work’?

Company Mission and Values:

A company’s mission and values should be loud and clear on their website, social media sites, and likely the job posting itself. They want you to know what their values and mission are to make sure YOU’RE aligned with THEM, but don’t forget that you’re also interviewing THEM. Do you like what you see? Make sure they resonate with your own beliefs and aspirations. A strong alignment in mission and values can contribute to a sense of purpose and fulfillment in your work.

Communication and Transparency:

This might be a little trickier to nail down but look at the company website for things like blogs, leadership updates, and announcements. Ask recruiters how the company provides performance feedback, stays in communication with remote team members for things like events, company updates and announcements, and how much information is shared. Does the average employee know the Corporate Goals for the year, and how their work is connected? Look for evidence of a culture that encourages open and transparent communication, and a culture of listening and respect at all levels of the organization.

Collaboration and Teamwork:

Does the company value collaboration and teamwork? Look for signs of a supportive and inclusive environment where employees are encouraged to work together, share ideas, and contribute to the overall success of the organization. This means team members feel comfortable speaking up and having their voice heard and feel valued for their contributions.

Work-life Balance:

Assess whether the company promotes a healthy work-life balance. Look for policies and practices that support flexible work arrangements, prioritize employee well-being, and provide opportunities for personal and professional growth. If they value your life and who you are outside of work, they are more likely to value “you” the person, not just “you” the employee. Allowing employees to bring their personal values and commitments into the workplace can enhance job satisfaction and overall well-being.

Diversity and Inclusion:

Consider the company's commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA). Look for evidence of diverse representation at all levels of the organization, inclusive policies and practices, and initiatives that promote a sense of belonging for all employees. A company with clearly defined DEIA policies and practices is aware of the work of challenging and overcoming biases, stereotypes, and prejudices that can exist in the workplace.

Employee Development and Growth:

Evaluate whether the company prioritizes employee development and growth. Look for opportunities for learning and skill enhancement, mentorship programs, and clear paths for advancement within the organization.

Employee testimonials and reviews:

There’s no better source than those who are (or were) employees of the company. Seek out feedback from current and former employees through online reviews like Glassdoor, social media platforms, or professional networks. Their experiences can provide valuable insights into the company culture. If you have an opportunity to speak with potential colleagues during your interview process, ask them if they feel they can ‘bring their whole selves to work”!

Finding a company where you feel safe enough to be the best version of yourself is no easy task. It requires finding out what that means for you, and looking for those things in a company before you take the leap. At Simple Technology Solutions, we want you to bring your whole self to work. It’s not just your AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification that caught our attention - we value the things that your life experiences and personal life have made you into the person you are. And we are better and stronger for you being you, with us.