A positive cultural environment: the key to happy employees

Have you ever felt drowned by your work? Not in the right place? Wondering if you actually need to go to work or if you should call sick instead?

Yes? No worries, I think we all had this kind of experience at some point in our life - unfortunately when I think about it, I don’t know anyone who only had good work experiences.

Disclaimer 1: What can be a bad working environment for you might not be for someone else and vice versa - At the end of the day, when I am reflecting on this, it seems like it is all about being a good cultural fit in a certain cultural environment. 

Disclaimer 2: Even out of a cultural environment which is not a good fit for you, you can always learn something and find a positive outcome out of it. Nothing is all black or white in life :) 

What is a good cultural fit?

Let’s start with what is not my definition of “good cultural fit”. In my opinion, it is not about participating in office drinks, doing lots of dinner/lunch/ events or partying with your colleagues… It is cool and important indeed but it is not the essence/ soul of the cultural environment.

Cultural fit is deeper than that - it is about having the same values, the same work ethics, it is about believing in what the company’s missions and goals are.

Long hours, micro-management, zero flexibility, and the worst part: not feeling worth it, feeling like you are not good enough. Being told “Good afternoon” when you arrive 2 minutes late in the morning or “Oh you are doing half day today?” when leaving at 6 pm on the dot.

Those kinds of environments do work for certain people who like to be micromanaged and like working in a hierarchized structure. That is not my case, it doesn’t work for me. I need to feel trusted and to have some liberty to share my ideas.

I work my best when I am free to express my ideas and when I have the freedom to put them into action.

Why is Adaptive a good cultural environment for you?

Shared values and ethics

Adaptive values are Transparency, honesty, teamwork, and quality. Yeah you can tell me “ah ah ah Sophia you’re funny, everyone says that” Yes I do agree, lots of companies out there praise themselves for having the best cultural environment and when you join it is all disappointment from there.

The thing with Adaptive is, they never praised themselves of being the best in all aspects. They are sincere and when they are not good enough at something or when they think they don’t deserve something they will just tell you straight away “We are working on it, we are not where we want to be just yet.” (i.e. Our HR Director’s article about Pride Logo) You can check our Glassdoor to see what my colleagues / former colleagues say about us.

The funny thing is, most of the time when I say that I am working at Adaptive Financial Consulting, I receive this reaction: “OMG A GIRL IN THE IT FINANCIAL INDUSTRY!”

Guess what? Here, there is no such a thing as “You are a girl” nope, I am Sophia, and my gender doesn’t matter - it doesn’t define who I am or my abilities to do something - we are all equal here, which is awesome - As you know, being a woman in this kind of industry can sometimes be a challenge in itself.

Here, it doesn't matter your gender, your religion, your ethnicity, your sexual orientation. We are all human beings, and we are all treated the same! I still can’t believe that some companies don’t get it.

We are in 2019 - come on now, let's all welcome diversity, our differences make our strength!

Having leaders instead of bosses

I have never worked before in such a flat structured organisation. Marie, our lovely Chief Talent Officer, is always there to support me, help me grow, answer all of my questions (and I can tell you that I do have lots of questions hahaha) while giving me the total liberty to work the way I want to work.

She is not a boss; she is a leader. Here we go, High five for all the PROPER LEADERS out there!

Just to give you a little example: The first month I was at Adaptive I made a mistake (not a big one - but still - my brain was trained since school to feel bad about making mistakes) - I told Marie about it, and at my biggest surprise she said “No worries Sophia, it is not your fault, we are going to make it right together. Remember it is not your fault; it means that I haven’t done my work properly at explaining to you how this should be done.” It was mind-blowing for me and eyes opening at the same time. I was like “OMG SOPHIAAAA IS THIS FOR REAL? AM I DREAMING?” It may sound silly, but when you are not used to this kind of reaction, it is mind-blowing.

Sharing is caring

Matt, Loic, Olivier, and John (our founders) made sure when they created Adaptive seven years ago that it would be a real pleasure working with them: they always find time to have a chat with me or to answer my questions, which makes my work smoother.

Similarly, all my colleagues are happy to sit with me and explain to me what they are doing, and I am always excited to explain to them what I am doing. We are a team, we want to grow together, and we firmly believe that we can ALL learn from each other.

At the end of the day, no matter who you are, how many years of experience you have, you can always learn something new from somebody else. Sharing and helping each other is key!

So, to summarise, this is what makes a GREAT cultural environment in my opinion:
  • Being able to share ideas freely and being trusted
  • Being inspired by respectful leaders
  • Strong team spirit - helping each other

Most of all, what I LOVE here is that we can have a great working/private-life balance. Sure, there are times we all have to roll our sleeves up a pitch in to get something over the line. Everything is done to make sure that you understand that spending quality time with your loved ones, taking care of your mental health should be the most important thing in your life. At Adaptive we have the freedom to manage our time, to work from home when we want, and no one looks at the clock if you arrive 2 minutes late or leave earlier.

We can do this because we trust each other. I can tell you that the feeling of being trusted and worth it is the best feeling you can have when working somewhere.

Apart from a diverse range of perks adapted to each of our locations, I give Bonus Point to Adaptive for the activities below that I personally particularly enjoy haha: Adaptive is doing monthly, amongst \other things:

  • Bake off competition (Everyone who knows me knows that I loooooove cakes!)
  • Movie night
  • Cocktails/ Mocktails Fridays etc.

Those are nice things to make sure that we are reunited and enjoy some fun time together - most of the time during working hours (which is nice because we all have a life outside of work haha)

So now, I am curious, what is a good cultural environment for you?


Sophia Khettab Picture

Sophia Khettab

Global Talent Acquisition,
Adaptive Financial Consulting



Contact us

    By pressing "Send" I agree that I am happy to be contacted by Adaptive Financial Consulting. I can unsubscribe at any time. You can read more about our privacy policy here.