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More candidates ask us not just about a brand and what it does, but how they do it. Increasingly, the real values of a business are important to job seekers.
Company values help explain to potential employees what an organisation is all about, and remind current staff of the preferred way of achieving outcomes within that culture.
But when they are just hollow words, they can undermine a business and its brand.
Whether they are painted on the wall in the corporate lobby or lying deep within a family business, most organisations have a set of values. They serve as guidance for every person, operation and activity within a business.
Top executives need to embody their values and ‘walk the talk’. Given global events of the past few years, potential employees – as well as consumers – are more discerning than ever about business ethics and social responsibility.
Think of the banking and financial services sector for example. These two industries have fallen under the sharpest scrutiny given the divide in certain cases between business values and actual behaviour.
Of course, the problem of words without meaning has been an issue in other sectors too – the health, food, sports, media and energy sectors have all witnessed embarrassing and destructive falls from grace.
That’s why it’s so important that all levels of the organisation wear their core business values on their sleeve.
Advice to job seekers:
- Look for an organisation whose values you agree and identify with
- Make sure you will be happy working in a business environment with the stated values
- Then make sure those values are articulated, demonstrated by leaders and understood by the business
- Research online, including social media, for employee and customer feedback – do comments suggest the business lives its values?