When was the last time you did a pop quiz with your team to find out if they know what your organization’s core values are?
According to new research from Eagle Hill Consulting, if you popped the quiz today, nearly half your team would fail.
Eagle Hill interviewed 604 U.S. employees to find out whether they have a good grip on their employers’ core values.
The firm did so based upon earlier research that shows employee behavior can be highly influenced by corporate culture — although core values are not necessarily reflected in culture, which is what people actually do, not what the rules say they should do. Further, research exists that strongly suggests productivity is tied to solid organizational values.
Eagle Hill identified two very important trends in this somewhat limited-scope survey: Far too many employees don’t know their company’s core values, but those that do embrace them at work.
To the question, “Do you know what your employer’s core values are?” 53 percent say they do.
That means nearly half don’t.
“These findings are troubling because organizational values should be the driving force motivating employees’ day-to-day behavior and their relationships with customers, partners and other stakeholders,” says Melissa Jezior, Eagle Hill president and chief executive officer. “When employees say they don’t know their organization’s values, that’s a warning signal that an organization can’t effectively execute on its business strategies, has a workforce morale issue, or is vulnerable to ethical lapses.”
Indeed, those who say they know the core values definitely paid attention to them. This small group was asked, “Do these core values drive your decisions and behavior at work?” Nine in 10 say they do.
Although many didn’t know the core values, most say they know the difference between ethical and unethical behavior on the job. Asked whether their employer encouraged them to report or “raise concerns” unethical or dishonest behavior, 75 percent say their employer does.
“The good news in our poll is that most employees feel that they are in an environment where they can report ethical lapses,” Jezior says. “For leaders, this whistleblower reporting can be a trigger to examine if there is a misunderstanding of values or a misalignment between company values and policies — like sales target or compensation — that can drive bad behavior.”