Working for a large company means dealing with a great deal of red tape and respecting plenty of rules. Aside from the ones printed in your company handbook, a few unspoken rules should also be kept in mind. From respecting the hierarchy to avoiding gossip, here are a few rules to help you thrive at a big company.
1. Respect the chain of command
A big company’s hierarchy is complex and it may even be confusing. Still, when you have a question or concern, go to the appropriate person – never over his or her head. You can step on more toes than you know by directing one email to the wrong person.
2. Never go off-brand
A large company lives and dies by its branding. Learn your company’s mission statement, core values, and messaging backwards and forwards. If you go off-brand in communications it will cause quite a stir.
3. Avoid office gossip
Big companies are a lot like a high school in the gossip department. Stay out of the chatter and rumor mill as much as possible. Participating can only get you into trouble!
4. Never “reply all”
Unless it’s absolutely necessary, do not hit “Reply All” when responding to an email. Instead, direct your response only to people who absolutely need to be notified. When too many people get cc’d, there may be too many cooks in the kitchen. You may also end up annoying someone in a position of power.
5. Get things in writing
Instead of relying on a verbal conversation, always get promises or agreements in writing. If you have a conversation with the head of another department about sharing a resource, for instance, follow up with an email.
6. You are always building your resume
At a large company, you’re often presented with opportunities to take on additional tasks. Take advantage of these opportunities to build out your resume. Turning down the chance to help out on a new team or project could mean shooting yourself in the foot when it comes to having the experience necessary to impress your next employer.
7. Staying focused is key
There are plenty of distractions at a big establishment. From game rooms and gossip to people stopping by your desk every five minutes – it is easy to get sidetracked. Stay focused on the task at hand, and make use of your office calendar’s “Busy” status function so colleagues know when to leave you alone.
8. Keep communication professional
Even if you are talking over instant messenger, keep your communication professional. Private messages could be monitored by your supervisor or the IT department. When in doubt, assume that your manager or director will see the message at some point.
9. Make friends in every department
Collaboration within departments is crucial at a large company. Make sure you have an ally in every department. Of course, this means that you will sometimes be the one fulfilling a favor. Still, in order to get interdepartmental projects accomplished, it helps to have resources throughout the company.
10. Stay organized
Make use of your calendar and establish a reliable filing system. When you miss a deadline or fall short of expectations, you will let down a whole chain of people above you. Unlike at a small company, where you may be working pretty independently, at a large company your work always reflects on someone else.
Working at a large company has its benefits and drawbacks. While figuring out the chain of command and important expectations may be a challenge, the benefits are also huge. Once you have succeeded at a big business, you can transfer your skills to companies both large and small.