How Company Values Can Attract and Retain Quality Talent
Think about the following scenario: you’re almost finished with a final round interview with a highly qualified candidate. You think the person is perfect for the role and so you start to think about crossing the ‘need to hire’ off your to do list.
Then you get hit with the question: what is it like to work here? The candidate also wants to know what makes your company different from the other companies. If you’re able to draw the candidate’s attention to the values and culture of your workplace, it is a very quick win in the fight to find quality talent that is often hard to come by.

When I meet with candidates, there are many considerations they make when looking for their next job. There are obvious aspects such as the role itself, like will it be challenging or fulfilling? What are the development, training and learning opportunities? There are also the benefits and compensation, with all the questions and negotiating that generally entails. But not much further down the list of priorities for many candidates is the company itself. In the insight, analytics and market research industries, with many companies doing similar types of work, I’ve seen again and again how difficult it can be to attract talent to the company if there is no differentiating factor that gives candidates an idea of what it is like to work there.

Lots of candidates, particularly younger ones who have been in the workforce for a decade or less, ask me about the values and culture of the workplace. Even though much time and thought goes into getting the compensation and details of the role right, it still surprises loads of organisations what a differentiator, well-articulated company vision, values and culture has on their ability to attract top quality candidates.

How defining values and culture can help with recruitment

When it comes to daily priorities, particularly for small and medium sized companies, it makes total sense that a company vision and culture falls down the list. We also see large companies who have ‘mission statements’ or company visions eviscerated in the press for not living up to their standards; it can sometimes seem like such a shallow exercise or mere window dressing that will do little to impact your day-to-day or bottom line.

But from a recruiter’s perspective, I’m here to tell you that when done properly, having clear values can set your company apart from others, and as a result, attract great talent that will contribute to your team. I didn’t just dream this up, either; 80% of Forbes 100 businesses publicly announce their values, and those with values outperform their competition by 400%.*

Employees who work in places where values are reinforced are more productive, more engaged and stay with your company for longer, lowering onboarding costs and increasing client satisfaction.** An added bonus? Not only do employees love working at a company that they can feel proud of, consumers tend to support mission-focused brands, as well.

“80% of Forbes 100 businesses publicly announce their values, and those with values outperform their competition by 400%.*”

What are company values?

One thing I often hear when I ask about company culture and values is that there’s confusion about what they are or should be. Another thing that’s quite common is that organisations have values but they’re often informal and uncodified. If you already have values but haven’t done much to let your employees and clients know what they are, formalise them: write them down, talk about them and demonstrate how those values underpin things you do through performance, actions and feedback from clients and employees.

If you aren’t sure what your values are, there are some great resources available, such as this article in Forbes about how to start to define your values and this article in the Harvard Business Review about how to craft and implement mission statements, values and purpose. One question to get you started: what kind of workplace would you like to work in, and why? Having values is not about ticking some superficial box or creating fluff but should be rooted in authentic motivations that are interwoven in the way your company and its employees work, speak with people and interact with the working world.

Once you’ve done some work in refining what your company culture is (and is not), you’ll see some of the benefits described above. You’ll also have a much easier time articulating answers to questions about your company culture and values, which often helps when selling a role and differentiating your company in the ever-competitive game of attracting high quality talent.

The best part about this? There’s no cost (in pounds and pence) to articulating these values. Only the benefit of differentiating yourself from competitive organisations.

A note to job seekers

Many job seekers want to know more about what it would look like to work at a company but often don’t know how to ask those types of questions. I’ve found that asking about the company values and culture is a great way to get stuck in, as organisations with an articulated culture will be able to give you specific answers to this question.

However, if you are interviewing at a company that doesn’t have a culture so fully fleshed out, you can always ask the interviewer to describe the company or team as if they were a person: what values would that person stand for? How would they take on tasks, and deal with customers? This is a great way to get talking and understand more about the company you’re interviewing with.


If this has got you thinking about your career and you’d like to chat or get in touch for more advice we’d love to hear from you.

Email today or call us on 07730 466035 or 020 3633 4509.

Enlight Consulting
Recruitment services for Insight, Market Research, Strategy and Analytics