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Employee Motivation: The Importance of Core Values

7 minute read

“Employees who believe their organization has broader goals outside of profit margins are 27% more likely to stay at the company.”

That is one of the 42 company culture stats from the online community for tech companies Built In.

Here is another one:

“Thirty-eight percent of U.S. employees want a job that aligns with their interests and passions. Core values and a guiding mission statement are the basis of strong company culture, which will help attract more than a third of American job seekers who hope to live out their professional purpose.”

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What are the core values?

Core values are different from a mission statement. They define a way of operating that remains constant regardless of external factors affecting your business. These values come from the heart and reflect the ethos of a company. The core values of a company are the same values that individuals cherish, and the best way to define them is by asking yourself:

If my company culture were a person, how would I describe its personality?

Simple key concepts will do, using words like:

  • Idealistic
  • Curious
  • Adventurous
  • Passionate
  • Environmentally conscious
  • Playful

In this Hotjar article, you can find the core values defined by 10 of the world’s largest companies, including Apple, Microsoft, and Google.

Can you guess which of these three companies lists the following core values?

  • Focus on the user and, all else will follow.
  • It is best to do one thing very well.
  • Fast is better than slow.

How to define your core values

The first step in establishing your company's core values is to identify a list of the main traits that accurately convey your culture. Input might come from market research, internal surveys, brand guidelines, staff interviews, or external advisers.

To make sure they are useful, your core values should be:

  • True
  • Relevant
  • Inspiring

Moreover, your core values must be efficiently communicated throughout your workforce to know how these values relate to their role. And managers should embrace them, as employees might reject core values if they see their boss ignoring them.

Four ways core values motivate your workforce

“Respect, fairness, trust, and integrity matter more than a transactional engagement.”

This is one of the conclusions in What’s Culture Got to Do With Employee Loyalty & Retention? - an article based on global studies on employee engagement.

By defining this kind of values – concepts that already shape your workplace culture - you make them more tangible and practical. Well defined core values:

  1. Increase employee engagement and fulfillment. Core values can increase engagement and fulfillment among your employees by creating a workplace culture built on the principles that they believe and trust.
  2. Improve performance. Employees who understand and endorse your core values have a clearer perception of what the company is trying to achieve, and how they can contribute. These values will guide their actions and help them perform at their best.
  3. Keep your employees from leaving. Employees who strongly believe in your core values and experience the fulfillment of their contribution face less temptation to look for another job. The 42 company culture stats mentioned at the beginning of the article also proves this: “Employees who believe their organization has broader goals outside of profit margins are 27% more likely to stay at the company.”
  4. Attract the kind of talent you are looking for. It needs no explanation that attractive core values boost the profile of a company in the job market.

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How to put your core values to work

Core values must be maintained and practiced in everything your company does. Here are a few ways to ensure this happens:

  • Communicate. The first requirement is to communicate your core values throughout your workforce. Not just once, after you have defined them, but continuously, and in many different ways.
  • Reward. Recognize and reward employees who demonstrate the core values of your company.
  • Get feedback. Ask your employees what they think of the core values. Do they think they evoke the correct image of the company? How do they use them in their day to day work?

A useful tool to make your core values an integral part of your HR management is an employee app that allows for fast and effective message delivery across teams, including non-desk and frontline staff.

The Speakap employee app is ideal for personalized communication with your entire workforce and has lots of built-in features for engagement, feedback, team-building, and fun activities. It is a great tool to keep your core values alive and exiting.

Conclusion

Just like every individual, every company has core values. By defining and communicating them, you turn them into an HR-tool that can do an awful lot for employee fulfilment and engagement.

For more information on building more lasting and loyal relationships with your employees, check out this research study!

Rob is a content writer, copywriter and novelist. His work for Apple, WWF, Mercedes-Benz and many other brands has been awarded with prestigious creative awards.

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