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Training new employees on the values of the business early on is becoming more important to overall success. Studies by Nielsen and Engage for Good highlight that the values and social responsibility of a company are a core consideration for both customers and staff, especially for over 70% of millennials, as they are among the criteria they use when electing who to work for.
There are two questions worth considering:
How do we embed the business’s values in new employees during onboarding?
How can we drive values with more consistency?
As many who work in learning, development, training or HR will appreciate, values are an important component of any staff induction program. Planting strong seeds at this point is essential.
A key shift in learning over the last couple of decades has been the increased move towards individual learning pathways. The same principle applies here.
Once you can wrap your head around the five core elements of values and value perception, you can tailor onboarding and individual learning pathways accordingly.
The five value elements
1. Personal value is the essence of why individual learning has so much merit. The way people learn, their particular strengths, their Achilles heels, their motivation and personal circumstances play a significant part in their interpretation and application of any ideologies you wish to see espoused in your business.
Take time to ask questions (a skill that applies both in sales and coaching) about what’s truly important to each individual. When you know their motivations and goals, you can adapt your language, even rewards, to align with them.
Profiling tools (such as DISC, MBTI, etc) may be exceptionally handy as a component of this but are by no means necessary.
2. Tangible value is the value language of business. Every company leader has days of joy, or sometimes stress, as they digest spread-sheets of results. And every leader in the world knows, even subconsciously, that there are only four tangible value metrics to be aware of.
Often, however, we get so focused on the results we need to achieve that we forget to realise – or translate this into – what’s more important to the individual. A classic example is the misconception that all sales-people are only interested in money.
When reviewing business reports, learn to ask better questions and figure out which metrics are important to each team member.
3. Emotional value is like a sprinkling of magical fairy dust. We are all emotional beings. In fact, Daniel Kahneman (behavioural economist, psychologist and Nobel Prize 2002 winner) proved how much of our decision-making happens at an intuitive, emotional level. In my own TEDx talk I share a quick two-minute example to demonstrate how much emotions shift perceptions.
Storytelling, sensory engagement, personalisation and unique experiences are your toolkit here. So look for ways to bring values to life through personalised stories and sensory submersion. This is where the soft, fun touches often associated with the Instagram-perfect business snapshot fit in – along with CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiatives. Which leads us nicely into the importance of service value.
4. Service value. The next generation of employees (even customers) is noted for being more concerned about the impact of their employers (and providers) than ever before. Service value is something you now ignore at your peril.
The 2015 Nielson Global Corporate Sustainability Report found that 66% of global consumers would pay more for sustainable brands and 73% of millennials would pay extra for the same.
The same results are seen in a survey of millennial employees. Engage for Good cited the following figures for 2019.
- 75% of millennials would take a pay cut for a business with solid CSR
- 76% would take it into consideration when choosing an employer
- 88% felt more fulfilled when their work made a positive social impact
Communicate to employees the positive, long-term, thought-out possibilities of your business values that enrich the lives of others and respect the community and environment.
5. Relationship value is the ace card. The 80-year (and still going) Harvard study of adult development has revealed that the secret to fulfilment lies in the quality of your relationships.
Harmony in the workplace is far better than back-door politics or furore. Jack Welch (former CEO of GE) articulated well that the “biggest dirty little secret in business” is a lack of candour. Create a culture of authenticity, candour, kindness and love, which leads to a culture that taps the magic ingredient of ‘discretionary effort’. Your people love what they are doing and contributing to, and love being part of the crew.
Tapping into all these ideas helps fill the value buckets as part of a roadmap to bringing those words on a poster (or short statements painted in wonderful brand colours on a wall) to life!
Mark Carter is the author of Add Value, published by Wiley. He is an international keynote speaker, trainer and coach with over 20 years’ experience as a global learning and development professional.