5 Signs You Work For a Company That Leads With Values

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When a mission translates to clear values that becomes a compass, the singular driving force, of any person or organization - you can feel it. It’s an intangible vibe that provides inspiration and purpose. On the flip side, you can also feel it when values are just words, only trotted out for annual meetings and reviews.

Why do companies need embodied values? Well, if you’re trying to win over customers, recruit top talent or how about just enjoy your work – it’s vital. Research shows that customers and employees are all seeking – and demanding – more from the companies they support.

·         In a Stanford study, 90% of MBA graduates across Europe and North America said they would prefer working for organizations with a clear focus on social responsibility.

·         64% of customers are now “Belief Driven Buyers” – meaning that they choose, switch, avoid or boycott a brand based on their stance on social issues (2018 Edelman Earned Brand)

Hopefully we all agree it’s important. So how do you know if you work for, or are leading, a company that leads with its mission and values?

1.       Values are a part of the conversation – whether through email, staff meetings, annual retreats, smoke signals – your company’s values are ingrained in all the messages you hear and activities you do. Examples of this include team events that include volunteer work related to your specific mission or a culture where stories that demonstrate an immediate impact to your customers are consistently shared and encouraged.


2.       When decisions are made, you know how – we may not always agree with the decisions that come from the top, but it helps to understand why they are made. When an organization makes decisions based on their mission and values – you know it. These actions are transparent, almost always tie directly to the good of the either the customer or the workforce and make actual sense, on some level. One other big sign – your leaders take the time to explain not only why the decision was made, but HOW they came to it.  


3.       Diversity is CELEBRATED –I’m not talking about counting the number of females or persons of color that work in your organization and giving yourself a pat on the back. A culture that truly celebrates diversity understands one thing: it’s diversity of thought and experiences that can take anything - an idea, product or concept - from good to great. A culture that celebrates diversity shows this by inviting people into the conversation and creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable contributing. You‘ll never hear the phrase“ well, that’s just the way we do it here”. Instead, people listen and are rewarded for taking the time to consider new ways of thinking before shooting ideas down.


4.       You understand your customers – You know who they are and what’s important to them. Not only that, but you understand WHY your product or service makes their lives better and you BELIEVE it. The key here is that it shouldn’t matter whether you’re an intern, in HR, R&D, marketing or the assembly line – as an employee you fundamentally understand your customers and feel you are adding value to their lives.


5.       Courage takes the lead – We continue to watch big brands take a stand on big issues. Some are led by CEOs that believe it is their responsibility to give back while others have simply reasoned that doing so is essential to staying relevant to their customers. Whatever the reason, having a perspective on societal issues has simply become necessary for brands. Business not only has the means but the reach to affect real change. In our current time of chaos and negativity, you can become the hero by focusing on solutions. When your company is guided by its values – you watch leaders demonstrate the courage to stand up for the issues that matter to your workforce and your customers, always. This can take many forms – your organization donates proceeds, encourages volunteering or best of all, makes swift decisions to part ways with employees or partners that act against their values. If this sounds lofty to you – you may not have had the benefit of working in such an environment. Believe me, it exists.


Now I’d love to hear from you! Does any of this resonate? Do you notice any of the above at your place of work? If so, how has it impacted your experience and if not – why don’t you think it’s happening in your organization?

Mory FontanezComment