In a time when job candidates rank company values with high importance during their job search, it is more important than ever that companies are able to clearly communicate their values to existing and prospective employees.

According to a Qualtrics study, over 50% of job seekers say they wouldn’t consider taking a position at a company that doesn’t reflect their values – and employees who feel that their values align with their employer’s are almost three times more likely to recommend their employer as a great place to work.

It’s critical that employers use company values strategically to emphasize their competitive edge and, in turn, improve their recruiting outcomes.

Company values are shaped by – and heavily influence – employees’ behaviors, beliefs, communities and attitudes. They aren’t fixed or one-sided, but rather a reciprocal, evolving exchange between employees and management. They offer a unique opportunity to shape company performance inputs from employees and recruit more efficiently, attracting employees whose values and goals align. This helps drive the organization’s goals forward because everyone is on the same page from the start.

But because company values are fluid and influence employee behaviors, communicating these values requires a range of creative techniques. Here are five less common ways you can communicate your core company values to employees and stand out from the crowd.

1. Involve your employee community
2. Focus on action and impact
3. Embrace radical transparency and community accountability
4. Ask for help
5. Share your mission

Five new ways to stand out

Over the past 13 years, my people experience (PX) journey has taken me to some of the biggest brands in the world, including Vodafone, Virgin, River Island and Carpetright. Since joining RG in May, my role has been about taking a look at how we do people experience internally and making sure all of our RG colleagues have the best time possible, whatever stage of the employee lifecycle they are at.

1. Involve your employee community

Engage your employee community for feedback and suggestions.All too often, leaders who are keen to use their company values as a recruiting and marketing tool overlook the role that individual employees play in creating and maintaining those values.

Without employee buy-in and alignment across the organization, a company’s core values can rapidly unravel. Involving your employees in the defining process can help you more accurately articulate your values to job seekers. After all, they’re the ones that you’re after, right? Seek feedback from your existing employees on how they would characterize and speak to your company values, and use their feedback and suggestions to improve your process.

I am a big believer that HR teams, while more knowledgeable than most in this field, are just a group of informed opinions.

You cannot create an effective people experience without understanding what is important to your people in the first place. 

2. Focus on action and impact

At Reward Gateway, we call this the ‘AVI strategy’ for recognition: AVI (Action, Value, Impact) encourages managers to make their recognition more meaningful by connecting employee behaviors to company values and describing how and why the occasion is worthy of celebration. This method helps employees instantly understand why they matter to project, team and business success and has shown to improve engagement and morale.

Pairing communications about your company values with action items will help maximize their emotional impact.

Any company can claim to have ethical values like equality, safety, sustainability or integrity. Candidates and consumers alike have a healthy skepticism for messaging around company values for this reason. By focusing your messaging around the action (steps that your company is taking, donations, community service, employee anecdotes) and its impact (the communities you serve, how you support your employees, the people you reach with charitable donations or community service), your values will feel authentic and compelling.

Just as important as the “tell” is the “show,” which you can do with meaningful anecdotes to further boost your employer brand and show candidates how your people live your values day-to-day. Telling someone they have done a great – or not so great – job does not add any value on its face. Showing them the impact it has had is where it becomes meaningful.

3. Embrace radical transparency and community accountability

Everyone falls short on their values at times. When we make mistakes, we apologize, learn and move on to do better. Any company that wants to communicate authentic values and attract the best candidates should adopt the same mentality. 

Conduct frequent one-on-one meetings between managers and employees to ensure ongoing engagement and success.

89% of global employees say feeling listened to by leadership is important to their wellbeing at work.

Transparency and accountability are both necessary for a truly ethical and impactful values system. This may mean owning up to it publicly when you fall short of your own DEI goals, for example. It takes courage to make accountability a central pillar of your company values, but doing so pays off. It helps employees and candidates trust that there are systems of accountability within the organization, too, and that they have joined or are joining a healthy working environment.

4. Ask for help

Another uncommon but highly effective company value strategy? Humility.

Don’t assume you know what your company values are – or what your employees think could be better. Ask! Asking employees for input, suggestions, feedback and contributions shows them that you care about more than just their labor, but their expertise and wellbeing, too. There’s also plenty of ideas within your own community - look at customers, colleagues, vendors and clients within your business to start. They may have an idea on how you can maximize your impact that you haven’t thought of. Showing this openness to feedback and new ideas lets candidates know you’re willing to improve, curious and dynamic.

At RG, we have established our PX community. This group of internal volunteers are colleagues who have expressed interest in the future of work at RG and want to be involved. We bring ideas, suggestions and partially formed ideas to our PX community and ask for their input in the early stages. This means they are not only involved in the shaping of people experience at RG, but they help make sure we are not wasting time on stuff that’s not important to our people.

Share your company mission with your communities to accept advice, suggestions and feedback.5. Share your mission

For company values to work well within your recruiting strategy, you must find a way to connect these broad and general principles with real, tangible impacts, both for the people you serve and for your employees.

Speaking in abstract or theoretical terms doesn’t have the same appeal as concrete proof. What evidence do you have that your values help your community - and your business growth?

How do your employees support one another in times of hardship? Consider using these experiences and examples as the foundation of your messaging around company values.

Clearly communicating your company values can be challenging, and though they can be a great asset to your recruiting strategy, you’ll need unique strategies to stand out from the crowd. By embracing transparency and using your values as a calling card, you can attract the candidates that will positively influence your culture and help the business reach its full potential.

Reward Gateway is hiring savvy, motivated staff with a passion to Make the World a Better Place to Work across our multiple regions and departments. Looking for a change of pace? Check out our open jobs page and apply today!

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Chris Britton

As People Experience Director at RG, Chris ensures that every RGer has the same amazing experience we help our clients implement in their teams. When not overseeing our employee lifecycles, Chris referees National League football and spends as much time as possible with his wife and new daughter, Orla.

People Experience Director

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