Company Values: They’re more important than ever

Ange Connor

Values: principles or standards of behaviour; one’s judgement of what is important in life.

Company Values (also known as Corporate Values or Core Values): are the set of guiding principles and fundamental beliefs that help a group of people function together and work towards a common business goal.

Organisations looking to hire place importance on the values fit of their potential new employee. People looking for a new job see values alignment as a critical factor in selecting their next job. Organisations looking to exit someone from their business often reference a lack of values alignment. People looking to move on from a role often give a lack of values alignment as their main motivator for wanting to leave.

In my experience, everyone wants values alignment, but so many of us struggle with finding it and when it comes to the crunch during the hiring process, the focus flips to past experience – work history, liking the potential new employee or your new boss, and salary plus the perks end up trumping values. There is generally very little talk of values at an interview. There might be one or two questions around what are your values or how do your values align with the company values.

In workplaces, we often talk about values, yet so many businesses don’t have their values defined or have defined their values, stuck them up on the wall in reception, yet no one in the workplace would be able to tell you what they were if you asked. When meeting with a client I often ask about the values of the workplace and am greeted with blank or sheepish looks; we know we should know them, but we don’t. Yet, so often the reason I am there in that meeting comes back to values or a lack thereof.

Before starting my own business, I had worked in businesses that had defined values, but they often didn’t mean much, they weren’t regularly talked about or focused on, and I couldn’t have recited them. One of the key drivers for starting my own business was the values I believed in. It wasn’t until my team started to grow that we invested the time in defining our values. As a team, we spent many hours workshopping our values and what was important to us. The best part was, the values were developed as a team and not simply chosen by me and then implemented. In bigger workplaces, involving everyone can be much harder, however, finding a way to involve your people is critical.

The best part about having such clear values is that they drive our decision-making. Whenever we have had to decide if we should continue to work with a particular client because of an issue, the conversation internally always comes back to our values and often we identify there is not a values alignment, hence it helps us identify that we are not the right provider for that client. Or if there is ever an issue with behaviour or performance it can be addressed through our values. Our values provide the framework for the conversation ‘that’s not how we do things at Inspire HQ.’

One of my key learnings regarding implementing values in the workplace has been to ensure every single employee knows how they contribute to and influence the workplace values. Some team members can struggle to understand how in their role, the values impact their role if they are not directly servicing the customer or involved first hand with the product. I have often heard ‘I’m just the cleaner / accountant / admin assistant / labourer (or whatever job title they might hold) and that doesn’t apply to my role.’ If a workplace is to genuinely live and breathe its values, every team member needs to understand how their role links to the workplace values.

Every business is currently struggling to attract and recruit talent. It’s the biggest challenge facing workplaces and there is little light at the end of the tunnel. You have no doubt heard of the Great Resignation. Our values are intimately linked to these challenges. COVID has changed us and what we value; as individuals and workplaces. If we want to have the best chance of engaging and retaining our people as well as attracting new talent, now is the time to audit our workplace values and re-align them with the new norm. It’s time to think about our values through the lens of things like work/life balance, flexibility, work from home or remote working, hours of work vs output/getting the job done, family priorities, health and wellbeing.

Today, Thursday 21st October 2021 is World Values Day and this years’ theme is reconnecting. Is it time you reconnected with your team and checked in with them about what they value? Have their values changed as a result of the last 18 months? Do they know how they contribute to the workplace values? Do they align with the workplace values? Starting these conversations will help you nip any values alignment issues in the bud, will save you losing great people from your workplace in an already talent short market and will help you clarify the values you are searching for in new talent.



Disclaimer: The material contained in this publication is of a general nature only. It is not, nor is intended to be, legal advice. If you wish to act based on the content of this publication, we recommend that you seek professional advice.

About The Author
Ange Connor

Ange is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource (HR) and careers agencies. Ange is an ‘ideas’ person and a ‘big picture’ thinker. She loves to challenge the status quo – in fact, that’s how Inspire HQ began.

Ange has supported hundreds of businesses across Ballarat and regional Victoria to attract, engage, motivate, develop and retain their greatest assets; their people. Ange’s unyielding passion and invaluable knowledge of the recruitment and HR industry ensures she delivers the best solutions for her clients.

Ange has held various board positions and regularly volunteers her time to share her industry and market knowledge. She was recently a Councillor for the Victoria and Tasmania region of the Recruitment Consulting and Staffing Association (RCSA) of Australia and New Zealand, and she is a current Board Director of the Committee for Ballarat.

For more useful information, follow Ange on LinkedIn.

Hand drawn outline of mobile phone, laptop, cup of tea and book from a birdseye view.
Leave A Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to get in touch

What would happen if you spent just one hour focusing on your people strategy? Contact us to book your free one hour Inspire HQ People Hour; we’ll help you assess how to build a better workplace.
Megan and Ange are sitting in the Inspire HQ boardroom talking to a man and showing him a report with DiSC in the background.
Contact Us