Corporate values: why your best employees value them

Company values

The digital age has given rise to platforms such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor that make it easier than ever for people to see what else is out there when it comes to their career options. The result is that people “job-hop” all the time (Millennials in particular are known to change jobs approximately every two years as they seek to tailor their career advancement).

To overcome this problem, many HR teams are working hard to improve the employee experience and create tailored employee journeys. They create amazing rewards, wellness and benefits packages.

And yet, attrition rates are sky-high across industries and retention is the number one challenge facing most companies today.

Clearly, salary, growth potential, and benefits aren’t the only things people want.

People care about what they do. And they care about why they do it.

In his 2009 TED talk, Simon Sinek, author of the book, “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action,” explains that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

He explains that transformational leadership communicates a vision (i.e. your organization’s ‘why’) that inspires and motivates people to achieve something extraordinary. By aligning your employees and systems to achieve this vision with integrity, you motivate them to incorporate higher values and ethics – ensuring that they will follow you for their own benefit.

This alignment of values is key to employee retention. And communicating them is just as important. Consistent and clear communication about a company’s values, what it stands for and why it exists, is essential to retaining the modern employee who identifies with an organization that embodies similar values to their own.

Building a values-centric culture

Simply paying lip service to a random or cliché list of values isn’t enough. You need to align every part of your business to these values – and then you need to help people live them. Questions to consider when doing so include:

  • Do you live and lead by example?
  • Do you make your values clear in the hiring process?
  • Do you hire candidates with similar values that culturally align with your organization?
  • How do you make sure your values match theirs (e.g. what questions do you ask)?
  • Once they join, how do you show your commitment to these values?
  • Do you provide training to teach the core values?
  • Do you encourage your values (e.g. honesty, curiosity, continuous learning, hard work etc.) on a daily basis?
  • How do managers model these values in the way they talk to employees?
  • Is there reinforcement of your values in all communication?
  • Do you incorporate the values into your performance review process?
  • Does each employee touch-point incorporate your values? i.e. newsletters, meetings etc.
  • Does each client touch-point incorporate your values? i.e. integrating core values into proposals etc.
  • Do you undertake CSI initiatives matched to your values?

Applying these principles will help your people live your values. And in the process you’ll build a cohesive, loyal and motivated workforce that is aligned to your ultimate vision.

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