Company Values – Your Not-So-Secret Weapon for Recruiting and Retention

Company values are one of the most important yet often overlooked aspect of a brand. Recently, many manufacturers and B2B companies have found themselves in a hiring crunch with a double-whammy of current employees being very willing to look elsewhere while the flow of incoming resumes has dried up. When this happens, panic sets in and the HR team often looks to the marketing department for some immediate solutions to the hiring dilemma. Things that were probably neglected for too long, like updating the Careers section of the website, or developing a new video showing why staff like working at the company are suddenly searing hot priorities.

If hiring and retaining good workers has become an issue, it’s well-worth taking time for a priority check. While updating the website (hopefully it hasn’t been neglected for too long) or creating a new video are best practices, there is something more powerful – embracing your shared Company Values. When these are carefully considered, artfully defined and skillfully woven throughout the fabric of a company, its ability to retain employees and recruit high quality new ones becomes much easier.

Company Values Must Be Authentic to Your Company and Critical to Its Success

Before we focus on personnel issues, we need to start with a discussion on what makes company values effective. They are too often misunderstood. Quick quiz: What industry is a company in whose core values are Honesty, Integrity, and Accountability? It could be nearly anything, right? You would hope your dentist, accountant, or electrician–basically anyone you do business with would embrace those traits.

To provide any value beyond a plaque in the lobby that collects dust, values must be a creative, authentic expression of what drives the success of the business. A value system worth implementing should not related to personal morals or ethics—honesty, integrity, and respect should be the basic expectation of doing good business. With that in mind, here is how your company values can help reinforce the qualities that make your company a great place to work, and in turn will help recruiting and retaining great people.

1) Company values help recruit the right employees

There are few things worse than hiring and onboarding a new employee, only to quickly realize they aren’t a good fit for the culture. This typically occurs when the values of the company and new employee are out of alignment.

When skillfully defined, values can help guide the interview process. For example, at SCG our three core values are Knowledge, Creativity and Putting Others First. To be successful as an agency we believe you must have a desire to learn about new things, be able to turn that knowledge into creative ideas and messaging, and make the needs of our clients and co-workers a top priority. So rather than asking standard questions about a candidate’s skills, where they see themselves in a few years, etc., we ask probing questions like, “What is something new you learned about recently and what was your process for gaining that knowledge?” Whatever they learned is almost irrelevant. How they dug into it and put that knowledge to use tells us (and probably the interviewee) a lot about whether they will be a good fit.

2) Company values help retain and engage current employees

We previously mentioned that plaque in the lobby collecting dust. Defining your company values is just the start – you need to bring them to life to engage employees. This includes using the language of the values throughout internal communications and employee touchpoints often as creative signage throughout your office or facility and a formal or informal recognition program to inspire employees to bring those values into their work everyday. If you’re implementing a recognition program we suggest keeping the criteria specific. The goal isn’t to only recognize one employee who performed a herculean task or went far and above expectations. The goal should be to recognize smaller, consistent accomplishments that collectively help achieve larger business objectives.

3) Values turn employees into an elite recruiting team

Referrals from current employees are worth their weight in gold. Numerous studies show new hires from employee referrals start sooner, stay with the company longer, and are a better cultural fit. Quite simply, your best employees likely are friends with and associate with other people who have similar traits. While a referral bonus is nice, it won’t convince most people to encourage their friends to apply if they secretly don’t enjoy working there themselves. Company values have the ability to increase job satisfaction and create a healthier culture when applied correctly.

So, do you know what your company values are, or do you need to peek at the plaque in the lobby on your way out today? Understanding the importance of company values is the first step to solving part of your recruiting challenges. Identifying and defining them is next, and we have a process to solve that challenge. Hoot at us if you’d like to know more

Last edited: 6/22/2023