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Retaining Valued Employees: Five Steps to Keep Talent Engaged

A team of diverse employees with shared valued collaborate together

As an HR manager, you know how challenging it is to attract and retain the right people your company needs to thrive. But finding top talent and keeping them on board is only half the battle. You also need to ensure your employees remain engaged so they continue doing the great work you hired them to do.

Promoting engagement, unfortunately, is difficult for many companies. According to the most recent State of the Global Workforce Report by Gallup, only 21% of global employees are engaged. That means more than three out of four of your employees may be checked out, making retention a moot point.

Thankfully, there’s one thing you can do to help keep your workforce engaged—and committed to your company for the long haul: hire people who identify with your company values from the start.

  • 54% of employees say they would take a pay cut to work at a company that shares their values.
  • 82% of employees say it’s important for their organization to see them as a person, not just an employee.

Discover why it’s so important to attract candidates whose values align with your company—and five steps you can take to incorporate values into your hiring process.

The Power of Hiring for Culture Fit

When you screen and identify candidates based on values, you get people who are motivated by more than just a paycheck. You find people who are invested in your company’s vision and will likely stay committed long term. Simply put, onboarding a team with shared values helps you build a workforce with the right people, right from the start.

“We are driven by thoughts and beliefs,” 2logical Executive Vice President, Global Learning and Development David Naylor said. “This is the greatest predictor of how someone will move in his or her career path.”

Take it from Google, one of the world’s most innovative companies. The company speaks to the value of values-based hiring on the careers page of its website:

“If we hire you based on your skills, we’ll get a skilled employee. If we hire you based on your skills, and your enduring passions, and your distinct experiences and perspectives, we’ll get a Googler. That’s what we want.”

Let’s explore five steps you can take to emulate forward-thinking companies like Google—and keep your talent engaged far into the future.

Step 1: Define Your Values

Taking a values-based approach to hiring starts with a seemingly obvious first step: defining those values.

By understanding what your company cares about, you can get an idea of who you want to attract and what should matter to them.

Start with the easy steps, like referring to your company handbook for your mission statement and defined values.

Then, take a deeper look: Does your company actually practice its stated values? Alignment is critical. If you advertise values that you do not ultimately deliver on, you’ll negate the reason you incorporated values into your hiring process in the first place. You also risk breaking the trust of your new employees by failing to make good on the expectations you set from the start.

Next, talk about values with your hiring managers before sourcing candidates. While your company’s values should consistently apply across internal teams, some managers may want to accentuate or tweak certain values to meet their team’s specific needs.

“Our job is not to present candidates to managers,” Blueboard People Relations and Talent Acquisition Manager Shireen El-Maissi said. “Our job is to present qualified candidates that will be a good fit for the company to the managers.” Doing so starts with getting on the same page with hiring managers about values and other expectations.

Step 2: Communicate Your Employer Identity

You’ve communicated internally about values. Now it’s time to make sure your candidates are in the loop.

“Most companies simply post a job description listing duties and responsibilities,” Naylor continues. “When they include information about organizational culture, mission, and values, the number of applicants dramatically increases.”

It’s not just about quantity, though. Clearly stating your values from the start helps you attract candidates who share your company’s vision. As a result, you boost your ability to attract qualified job seekers—and save time by weeding out candidates whose values don’t line up with your own.

Listing company values in your job description is a good way to set the tone immediately. Even better is to include examples of how your company applies these values, such as how your teams work together, how you interact with customers, what causes your company supports, and more. You should also explain specifically how you expect candidates to embody company values within their roles.

Step 3: Ask the Right Interview Questions for Culture Fit

Job descriptions are a great starting point for letting candidates know you’re serious about values. But they’re just that—a first step. Continue the process by asking about values during the interview.

Questions about values can be direct or general, so it’s helpful to ask more than one. Here are a few examples to get you started.

  • What values would your ideal employer have? Your candidate’s answer will give you a good indication of how important values are to them—and whether your priorities coincide.
  • What specifically interested you in this job? If your applicant mentions the company values included in the job description, it indicates not only that they thoroughly read your posting but also care about what your company cares about.
  • How would you handle a situation in which [insert example here]? Make sure candidates aren’t just parroting the information you listed in your job description. Ensure they actually understand your values by putting them into a hypothetical scenario and asking how they’d react. For example, if your company’s values include both speed and quality, ask your candidate how they might deliver top-tier work while under pressure to get a job done. Their answer will give you insight into how they might apply values in their day-to-day roles.

Step 4: Check References—And Beyond

Once you’ve talked to your prospective employees about values, you’re ready for the next step: Hearing from other professionals who know them best.

As an HR person, you’re a strong judge of character. But we all have blind spots, so speaking to references (or having your hiring manager do so) is an essential step.

“Well done is better than well said, and there’s no substitute for good referencing,” University of Pennsylvania President Amy Guttman said.

When it comes to getting the scoop on a candidate’s values—or any aspect of their personality or skill set—it helps to do some extra digging. That means not just reaching out to the references a candidate provides but also reaching out to other people they’ve worked with. LinkedIn, for example, is a good place to find mutual peers that can speak about a candidate’s qualities. Look for people who worked with your candidate to verify whether they practice the values you seek.

Step 5: Offer a Holistic Employee Experience

Just as it’s critical to ensure alignment with an applicant’s values, your company’s actions must reflect those values—particularly when it comes to the employee experience. Offering the right total rewards policy is an ideal way to do just that.

Let’s say, for example, your company champions values like empowerment and trust. Offering flexible hours or remote work shows you trust them to get their jobs done and empowers them to take ownership of their schedules.

9 out of 10 remote workers want to retain remote work
Here are some other examples of how you can align benefits and perks to embody your company values:

Value: Ownership
Total Rewards Offering: Equity Awards
When you offer equity to your talent, you essentially give them an ownership stake in your company. As a result, you incentivize them to take control of their jobs and truly care about the outcome of their work.

Value: Work-Life Balance
Total Rewards Offering: Flexible Workspaces
Give your employees access to flexible workspaces across the world so they can work on their terms, when and where they need to—and better balance their jobs with their lives.

Value: Wellness
Total Rewards Offering: Supplemental Benefits
No two employees’ needs are the same. Help yours maximize their health and well-being by offering them supplemental medical benefits tailored to their specific needs and region-specific expectations.

Retaining Good Employees in Tough Times: How Velocity Global Helps

Adopting a values-based hiring approach helps you bring on the right people right away so they stick around—and stay productive—far into the future.

To increase your ability to find candidates with the same or similar values, it’s time to think beyond borders. Hiring globally helps you turn your talent pool into an ocean so you can hire the best people for the job, not just the closest.

Velocity Global is here to help.

Since 2014, we’ve empowered more than 1,000 companies to hire the world’s top talent in over 185 countries. We assist with every step of building teams around the globe, from onboarding and payroll to compliance—no entity establishment required.

We can also help you offer locally tailored supplemental benefits packages, equity awards, flexible workspaces, and other total rewards that reinforce your values—and boost your appeal to the right candidates.

Ready to level up your hiring strategy? We’re ready to help. Find out how by reaching out today.

Offering remote work can lower a company's attrition rate by up to 35%