Top 9 Employee Values

Why do employee’s stick it out with companies, even when the renumeration is poor? Why do overpaid employee’s still leave? There are a many things to consider here, and it will be the subject of another blog post, but for the moment, lets keep it simple. Let’s focus on values.

Values can be defined as:

“Important and enduring beliefs or ideals shared by the members of a culture about what is good or desirable and what is not. Values exert major influence on the behavior of an individual and serve as broad guidelines in all situations.”

from :

To meet the needs of their employees, managers need to consider their staff’s values, and think on how they are delivering, or enabling those values. As a manger you need to be aware of all the core values. So what are they? What are the Top 9 Employee Values?

Research by Jamieson & Mara in “Managing Workforce 2000″, shows that there are nine top work-related values – recognion, respect, freedom, involvement, pride, lifestyle, security, development and health.

Explicitly considering these 9 values in the context of your staff can be a useful tool to understanding how they see their employment, and provide insight into how some slight changes could make for a more engaged team.

“Thinking deeply about all nine will make you a better leader.”


People what to be recognised for their contribution. They need to feel their contribution and capabilities are recognised and appreciated. This is also extends to the recognition of the team they are working in. Too often achievements are overlooked, business-as-usual efforts undervalued, and the only recognition given is negative- the recognition of a failure. I think this is a result that often, as a busy manager, you only delve into a team’s performance when something has gone wrong. So you’re more likely to publicly recognise failure, than dependable, reliable or great work.


People want to be treated with respect. This doesn’t just mean being polite to them day-to-day. It means respecting their thoughts and suggestions. It means respecting any cultural differences. It means listening and considering their ideas without pre-conceived notions that it won’t be better than yours. It means being fully engaged when they come and speak with you. Stop writing that email, and give them your complete focus.


No one likes decisions pushed down on them all the time. People want to be free from “constraints and decsions made for and about them” by management. Outside of work, it is clear that people want to be able to excersize their own judgement and be able to make personal choices about their lives. The quest to create the ideal workflow or process can crush personal freedom, trying to make robots out of humans. This diminishes them and prevents the company from benefiting from any unique insight or talent that staff member may have. Low freedom will hinder internal efforts of innovation, so it’s not just about meeting the needs of employees, it’s about the ongoing sucess of your business in an increasingly disrupted world.


Staff want to feel involved in the company strategy, to understand, agree and feel part of what everyone is trying to achieve. A sure fire way to reduce employee engagement and satisfaction is to not involve them in the decisions that will affect their work and quality of life. If there are plans being drawn up that affect them, they want to be involved and have their say. Unfortunately, many staff feel they are rarely involved or consulted. Communication is key.


Everyone wants to do a good job, and feel proud of their efforts but achieving a high quality outcome isn’t aways so easy. An employee’s output is a function of their personal skills and abilities, their motivation and the support they are given by their organisation. Working in a poor environment, with poor support can crush even the most able worker.


The workplace can have significant, negative impact on employee lifestyle. It’s a no-brainer that employees desire time for leisure, family and friends. It’s also important for employees to spend time together, outside of the normal working environment, fostering workplace relations and understanding. The built connections can be lent on when crisises or dificulties appear. Don’t underestimate the cliché – ‘I hate the work, but I love the people’.


People want to trust that their organistation will look after them, that even if times are tough they’ll still have a job. Modern lifestyle can involve a significant reliance on credit, for many, security of employement can be as simple as feeling confident that mortage payments will continue to be met. But security is about more than financial issues, it is also about career security- will my company look after me, is my career safe in their hands? As with any of these nine values, if employees feel they are not being met, they will seek to remove that feeling, through three options – new job, fighting for their values, or by repressing the importance of the value.


As the heading suggests, this is all about learning and growing. As a manager, do you support your team’s development, or do you want them to stay in their box, to stay the same, day in day out? Research shows that individuals have a very strong desire to take initiative and use opportunities to further themselves. No-one wants to stagnate.


People are more and more consious of their health, and the effect that a job may have on their wellbeing. Usually the older the employee, the more they worry about this value. Do you promote healthy living to your staff? Does your company? Time after time do they wear themselves down for short term goals? What about stress? Do you willfully put your staff under stress to achieve more from them? Do you need to? In many ways, the value of health is about sustainability, can the employee keep up this level of effort without negatives? Getting this balance wrong can result in high staff turnover and worse, difficult workcover claims.


So that’s the most common employee work-place values. Keeping staff happy, engaged and motivated is more complex than just considering what they value, but its a good place to start.

HANG ON! STOP! Where’s Money? Cold, hard cash? People value that right? Changing jobs for money is probably just an excuse for when one or more of these nine are lacking.

Comments? Thoughts? Hit me up below!

Did you like this? Share it:

6 thoughts on “Top 9 Employee Values

  1. Hi Andrew

    A very good and interesting posting. Values tend to be an area most organisations don’t think much about, especially during challenging economic times. At other times, values are often treated as a ‘tick the box’ exercise to demonstrate an organisation “values its most important asset”, its people, when in reality very few actually do.

    I have always believed in the adage of treating people the way you would like to be treated yourself and the values your have outlined reflect exactly that.

    Numerous studies over the years have found that in only between 11% and 13% of cases do people leave a job simply for more money. Apart from career advancement, in most cases it is because one of the above values is missing, as you say.


    • Hi Lindsay,

      Thank you for your comments and feedback, I really appreciated it, probably the best comment MBA Nights has had to date. I think organistions should consider how to instill regular consideration of employee-values by managers. But if a values-based approach is only being implemented (or pushed down) by the HR department it will be hard to escape ‘ticking the box’ syndrome.

      Thanks again

      ps: I had a look around, including the latest newsletter and found it quite interesting. I will keep it bookmarked.

  2. When I go for job interviews I always ask what the company’s values are too (and not just their business values/mission statement), and express that this is of paramount importance to me when choosing an employer. Recognition, respect and development are three that are top of my list, as I pitch myself as a highly loyal employee whose sole concern is contributing to the success of the business, and I want that to be acknowledged and valued. Full time work takes up most of your life, and if you are devoting yourself to an organisation, you want to know that they will ‘take care of you’ in return.

  3. Pingback: Alfie Kohn’s 6 Reasons Why Incentives Cannot Work |

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>