If you’re about to start working for a big company for the first time, you should prepare yourself to deal with a workplace culture that may be quite unfamiliar. Although there will probably be a dedicated HR department to help you adjust, you can expect to have less oversight than in a smaller workplace and to have to take a lot more responsibility for yourself. In a big company, it’s your job to familiarize yourself with the rules that keep everything running smoothly – but once you’ve done that, you’ll find that things are generally a lot more straightforward.


The pros and cons of big employers


Big businesses get a bad rap. It’s always easier to stand up for the little guy, but in fact larger companies have just as much potential to do good in the world, and that extends to their interaction with their employees. Although you might not have as much immediate influence, in that you can’t take every concern directly to the boss, you’re likely to be in an environment where a lot of commonplace business problems have already been ironed out. You should have a supervisor or manager who’s ready to listen to you and make sure you have what you need, and the presence of different departments dealing with specific issues means you should always be able to find expertise when you need it, instead of having to rely on the knowledge and skill of individuals.


Company regulations


When you start working for a company like this, you will normally be given a guide or directed to a website where you can find all the company regulations. These can take a while to get used to, and you can expect colleagues to cut you a bit of slack when you’re new, but ultimately it’s your responsibility to learn and abide by them, simply because large organizations can’t run smoothly if everybody is working in a different way. Regulations are also important for keeping you safe from things like fire and falls.


Drug testing


One area of regulation that some people worry about is drug testing. In fact, this shouldn’t be an intrusive process – providing a swab for an oral fluid lab test every few weeks is easy to do – and it helps to keep everybody in the workplace safer from aggressive behavior or the kind of carelessness that can lead to accidents. If you need to take medication and are concerned it may give a false result in a test, just talk to your supervisor, who can make sure this is taken into account.


Employee organizations


Some people feel a bit adrift in big companies, especially if they find themselves working with different groups at different times. One way to resolve this is to find out if there are any organizations for employees within the company, such as sports teams or special interest groups. This sort of thing is more common than you might expect and can be a great way to meet people. It can also help you network within the company if you’re ambitious about getting to the top.


It may take some time to adjust to working at a large company, but you can expect a built-in support and guidance system to help you along the way to help ease your transition.

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