Research has found that nearly half of the UKs employees can’t recite their employer’s values, whilst 52% don’t know what their company’s vision is. The same research found that 1 in 5 employees don’t feel their employer’s values are reflected in the daily behaviours of staff, whilst 27% of them felt the values contained too much corporate jargon, and hence were not clear enough to give staff direction.


Much more than skin deep

Analysis of 1,000 firms in the Great Places to Work database found there to be a strong link between financial performance and the extent to which employees believed in their company’s values. In today’s world, the principles and values of a business have never been so important. They’re not just for show – companies who are true to their values will see an impact in every aspect of their organisation, from sales and marketing strategies, to brand identity, customer service, and even the final product.

Jamie Mackenzie, Director at Sodexo Engage, comments: “Values give a business its personality as well as providing the framework for a positive workplace culture. It is vital for employers and employees alike to properly evaluate and engage with the values of the organisation they belong to.

“Indeed, finding a personality for everyone to rally behind has the power to improve productivity, growth, and engagement. To root a set of values, employers first need to spend time cultivating a culture that can flourish with the business.”

Discovering the culture to deliver results

Inspired employees are engaged employees and leaders who find a voice that resonates, will be rewarded for it. For example, one of Airbnb’s values, “Embrace the Adventure”, captures its employee’s sense of curiosity for work while embracing the business’s ambition for the future. The leadership and its people are anchored by a simple statement that speaks about them, rather than for them.

Importantly, values are and must be personal. A people-orientated business will have a different approach than a results-driven one, i.e. a travel start-up is unlikely to share the same values as an investment bank. Look at JPMorgan Chase, who demonstrate what they’re about straight from the outset. The values, ‘exceptional client service’ and ‘operational excellence’, confidently and succinctly reflect their focus on delivering services to the highest standards.

These examples demonstrate that well considered values help a business to stand out from competitors their market. This begins at getting to know the demands of the industry, the product it wants to deliver, and the people it wants along for the ride. There’s no reason why businesses should wait to go back to the drawing board either. The earlier a business defines itself, the faster it will develop and grow.

The bottom line

Values form the heart of an organisation and employees are what makes it beat. To keep a business healthy, employers must ensure that they take their principles seriously.

The bottom line is that knowing an organisation’s vision and values shouldn’t end at the job interview. Employers and employees need to work together to truly understand their organisation’s identity because it will prove to be more than worth it their time in the long run.