As Director of Engineering my job is to help build and facilitate the company culture for the engineering team. Culture is where you spend your days and your efforts. Culture cannot be confused with perks. Perks are free drinks and stand up desks. Culture is ultimately what makes top performers leave or stay at companies.
You can usually assess a team’s culture starting right at the development environment. How much time have they invested in automation? How long do builds stay broken? Does anyone care when a build is broken? Do they have test automation running? Have they centralized logging? How do they know a new code push doesn’t introduce a regression? Can someone checkout a project, follow the README and be up and running or do they have to chase down someone to help troubleshoot? How can we quickly can we safely get from laptop commit to production? What are all the steps involved there, are they automated?