At BeTalent, we often recommend to our clients that the first and most critical step when assessing talent is to assess the ‘cultural fit’ of the individual and the organisation.

We need make sure that the individual and the organisation have the same values in common when trying to improve the probability of success in search and recruitment,

What is a Value? A value is a judgement about something that is important in life and in work. It is a principle or belief that drives decisions and actions.

We wanted to examine the most commonly expressed personal values in order to understand what is seen to be the most important for employees. 1701 individuals have completed our Culture Fit questionnaire and were in the population. Of these individuals, 25% were individual contributors, 20% were Managers, 18% were Leaders and 15% were Executives, 22% preferred not to say. Each were assessed against 18 values, as shown in the example values wheel below.

The 18 values were assessed using the normative questionnaire Culture Fit, which is used to support screening, assessment, development and coaching.

What are the most important values?

The research found that the 5 most important values were:

  1. Pride: “It is important to me to have a deep sense of pride in what I do and the organisation I work for”

This value is all about taking pride in your place of work and impact you make, it is of utmost importance that individuals feel proud for the organisation they work for, in order to gain the feeling of self-respect and personal worth.

The implication of this value, is that if organisations want to retain their talented people, they need to maximise the opportunity to tap into the Proud value by creating a compelling mission and vision where employees can feel proud of why they are doing their job and their purpose. Organisations that clearly articulate how they contribute towards something meaningful have the potential to attract and retain talent.

Pride is connected to energy and quality. Organisations that are seen as doing high quality leading edge work will attract and engage talented people and are more likely to become an employer of choice. By showing Pride and giving recognition and appreciation, these organisations will positively reinforce the attributes which connect to outstanding performance.

  1. I deliver on the promises made, acting with the right intentions at all times”.

Individuals with this value have consistently high moral principles in all situations, believing in everything they do.  They have clear rationale behind their actions and honour their commitments, encouraging others to do the same.

From our 2013 and 2018 research with 200 FTSE and Fortune listed organisations, Integrity was listed as the most commonly identified organisational value. It is therefore important to employees that they can trust their leaders, and they are in a safe working environment where they can to challenge themselves and take risks.

  1. We are lively and engaging, always positive and do the best we can”.

Enthusiastic individuals show excitement in everything they do, showing others that they are excited and genuinely enjoy their work.  They show this enjoyment by being motivated, by using positive language and by having a passion to succeed.

This finding is consistent with the first value – Proud. Employees want to be enjoy their work, have fun and be fully engaged with the organisation and its purpose. They want to share their excitement with others and bring energy and joy to work. The implication of this value is that organisations need to think more about giving something back to the employee – namely fun. Is the company a fun place to work and do business? How happy are your employees and to what extent do they enjoy their work?

  1. Vigilance: “It is important to me that I monitor and maintain my performance against internal and external standards.”

Individuals who selected this value are aware of their own and others’ performance and work hard to maintain and exceed the standards which have been set. They push themselves hard to deliver and they make sure that they work that they deliver is up to the required standards.

The implication of this value is that individuals are concerned with producing and delivering work of high quality that meets the organisational standards. They will have high expectations for themselves and others, and are attracted to companies who maintain and uphold high standards.

  1. Vision: “It is important to create new ideas and find fresh ways of doing things”.

Individuals with this value appreciate creativity, imagination, fresh ideas, different solutions and new ways of doing things. They are open to new suggestions of working, quickly responding to change with creative solutions. The implication is that future employees want to work for a company that they can see is innovative and fresh thinking.

What we didn’t find

It is interesting that some of the values more closely linked with a sustainability agenda i.e. Culturally Inclusive, Work Life Balance and Socially Aware do not present within the most important values from the employees perspective. Therefore organisations who are seeking to build on a social conscience within their business are better to appeal to quality and standards in order to drive a change in behaviour.

What’s next?

We offer 5 questions to challenge your thinking around the use of values:

  1. What are your organisations values? How real or aspirational are they?
  2. How many of the aforementioned 5 values are important to your organisation? If not, what is the implication?
  3. How openly do you express your aspired versus actual values to your current and future talent?
  4. How often do you use your values to aid the screening of your talent to ensure future fit?
  5. What could you do differently to bring your aspired values to life?

Thanks for reading. We hope you enjoyed the post.

Dr Amanda Potter, CEO of BeTalent and Zircon Management Consulting