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The Role of Company Values in Retention and Employee Engagement

What’s the impact of having clear and well-communicated values in your organization?

  • 77% of employees who strongly agree that they know what their company stands for and what makes it different from competitors strongly agree that they plan to be with the company for at least one year (Gallup)
  • 41% of employees strongly agree that they know what their company stands for and "what makes it different from competitors." (Gallup)
  • 80% of employees felt more engaged when their work was consistent with the core values and mission of their organization (IBM)
  • 86% of values-based recognition programs show an increase in worker happiness (SHRM)
  • Only 1 in 150 employees who say their organization does not have a set of values are fully engaged (Modern Survey)

Employee engagement and retention are directly linked to clear company values. 

To download additional stats on employee engagement, check out this comprehensive resource from Access Perks. To watch a video on this topic, click on the thumbnail below. 



Are Your Company Values Helping You Retain Top Talent and Engage Employees?

Graphic Showing Angel and Devil WhisperingIf you have strong, well-articulated, consistently exhibited values, you probably have high levels of employee engagement and low levels of employee turnover.

Unfortunately, though, 47% of US workers don’t know or are unsure of what their employers’ core values are (Eagle Hill Consulting).

Having values isn’t the point. Plastering them on the wall or showcasing them on your website is useless unless you also leverage them in hiring, onboarding, coaching, managing, and promoting employees.

If employees don’t know what your values are, they can’t represent them. They can’t make decisions using those values as a guide. And they can’t be inspired by or unified by values that are ambiguous, inconsistent, or unknown.

In fact, it can be disengaging if you have stated values but don’t back them up with aligned actions. Saying “our employees are our greatest asset” sets a certain standard. If you say this but allow managers to treat employees poorly, there’s a disconnect. That erodes trust and causes employees to seek alternatives where values are more than lip service.

As you develop retention and engagement strategies, be sure your values are a part of that strategy. Be sure, too, that managers are modeling the values in their daily actions and choices.

The Business Case for Developing Clear Company Values  

It pays to do the work of defining, communicating, modeling, upholding, and actualizing values in an organization. Conveying an inspiring vision and a clear mission also impact how employees feel about their work and commit to doing it.               

  • Organizations in which employees are primarily motivated by shared values and a commitment to a mission and purpose are nine times more likely to have high customer satisfaction (LRN)
  • A 10% improvement in employees' connection with the mission or purpose of their organization would result in a 12.7% reduction in safety incidents, an 8.1% decrease in turnover, and a 4.4% increase in profitability (Gallup)

These are no small numbers. What company wouldn’t benefit from higher levels of customer satisfaction, fewer safety incidents, improved retention, and profit increases?

Next Steps for Putting Your Company Values to Work in Employee Engagement  

Step-by-step, putting company values in place and then putting them to work for you includes:

  1. Take time to determine what your values really are. Executive team members may wish to come together with a facilitator who can help them identify core values and what they look like in action. This may take some time, so don’t try to do this in haste. It’s too important.
  1. Be precise in the words you choose to describe your values. There should be no room for misinterpretation. Don’t pick buzzwords or generalities. Make this personally meaningful and about your unique company. 
  1. Select 3-5 values that represent what you want the company to be known for. Values influence how you do business, who you attract, and how you’re perceived. 
  1. Once you selected and defined the values, describe the types of actions that demonstrate them in day-to-day work. For contrast, describe the behaviors or actions that are contrary to your values. Look at the values from every angle (employee, customer, vendor, investor, general public, etc.) and consider how you “prove” your values through your actions with each constituent group. 
  1. Check yourself. Before disseminating the values, give every member of the executive team an opportunity to get aligned and onboard with the values. What you model is what people will notice even more than the words you say about the values.
  1. Develop people practices that include the values. This may include behavioral interview questions to determine how job candidates have demonstrated values in the past. It may include narrative on the annual review. Or it could become a criterion in your determination of who is “high potential” in your organization. Be sure to include plans for recognizing employees who consistently demonstrate your values! 
  1. Communicate the values, your expectations, and your commitment all at once to employees. Let them know what the values look like in action and how you’ll be responding when values are (or are not) demonstrated. 
  1. Provide posters, website copy, and other reminders of the values. 
  1. Follow through. Don’t move one and abandon attention to the values. Reinforce them in everything you do. 
  1. Talk in terms of values when you make decisions, introduce changes, or celebrate success. You’ll be shaping company culture and instilling shared values by attaching them to the work routines and highlights.

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If you’d like a little help with these steps, bring in a PFPS consultant to help you get started. The impact of defining and leveraging your values will be a game changer in your organization.

Get in touch with us today!