Do you know what your personal values are? And more specifically, do you know how your personal values relate to your company’s values?
Not many people do. In fact, less than 1% of people on the planet can rattle off their personal values on command, never mind their company’s values.
To be fair, I actually didn’t do a study to justify my inkling that it’s less than 1%. But being on the road keynoting events as much as I do, I always ask the room if they can rattle off their personal core values. The question is met with crickets and tumbleweed: it’s a resounding no.
We’re in the midst of a clarity epidemic. We are living in a cloudy time where we should be putting in the hard work to be clear. What better way to start than with yourself?
Whether you like it or not, you are a brand. People have an opinion of you. So if you’re still reading this blog post (thanks by the way), then perhaps I can help you put in the hard work to better understand your values.
Understanding your personal values is particularly important for anyone working in Talent Acquisition — after all, if you’re responsible for finding people who mirror your company’s values and championing these values to candidates and employees, it’s essential to know your own values too and why they align with where you work.
Perhaps the reason that most people don’t think about their values, especially at the workplace, is that your business isn’t operationalizing their own values in a way that shapes your employees’ true behavior. Rather, the values are nothing more than stale, sideline values found hidden on page 39 of some dusty CYA employee manual.
We hear values are useful but often there’s no proof of them in the actual actions of the organization. Values then become the gym membership you paid for but never actually went to the gym to use. We need to change this.
When famed social psychologist Milton Rokeach professes, “values help speed up our ability to make choices,” he means it. From my 3-year journey studying courage, I learned that core values are not eye rolls — they’re how the exceptional roll.
So here’s to a new decade. If you or your company are not utilizing your values, it’s time to change that. Let’s make values valuable again. Here’s how to get started.
Why your personal values matter professionally
In today’s world, as mentioned above, we’re all brands.
In everything you do, whether you’re posting on social media, interviewing a candidate, or attending a networking event, how you present yourself represents your personal brand. Your brand, like any commercial brand, is motivated by a set of core values, whether you can articulate them or not.
It’s important to be clear about what those values are because if you aren’t, people can fill in your brand’s values for you. More importantly, when you aren’t clear about your values and what your brand stands for, you won’t know when to take a stand and take action. How important is this? So important, I’ll ink it again:
If you don’t know what you stand for, you never know when to take a stand.
On the other hand, when you know your values, you can use them to guide every decision you make, represent your brand the way you want it to be represented, and optimize your decision-making process.
When a decision must be made, run it through your set of values. If it agrees with your values, promote it, stand for it and shout it to the world! And if it doesn’t, make it clear that it doesn’t.
One scenario where this can apply, for example, is choosing where to work. You can filter out organizations based on which companies or teams best align with your own values. Let me expand on how this works and how it can be beneficial for you as a Talent Acquisition professional.
How personal values relate to your corporate values and your employer brand
At a corporate level, values represent the guardrails for how decisions are made at all levels throughout the company.
As an employee, when your personal values don’t align with company values held at the corporate level, it can be extremely demotivating and unproductive. In some cases, it might even be worth finding another company to work for.
When your personal values and your company’s values align, however, your motivation will be higher, you’ll have more conviction and you’ll make better — and faster — decisions.
This is why when promoting your employer brand, putting company values front and center is crucial. It allows candidates to easily see how your company’s values align with their own personal values, which can help them decide if they’re a good fit from the get-go.
How to define your personal brand values
I spent 3 years shadowing the most courageous people and leaders on the planet — astronauts, Navy SEALs, the cofounder of Method, the former VP of Communications at Apple — to try to understand why and how they make the courageous decisions they make.
Each and every one of them had clarity and the self awareness to understand who they were. I explain all my findings in my book Return on Courage. It’ll also walk you through how you can define your personal values to drive courageous decisions in your own life. The secret is that being courageous (although it may not feel like it in the moment) makes us happier. If you’re stuck, the book can help you get unstuck. If you’re in preservation mode at work, Return On Courage can be a liberating experience for and your team.
If you’d like to get started in defining your values, download this list of personal values I created that you can use to prioritize the values that best represent you.
Regardless of what you do, the main thing is to start right now. It’s never too late to figure out why you’re wired the way you are. And it will make you better at attracting the right talent to your company and being a champion of your employer brand. When your personal values and corporate values align, there’s an authenticity in why you choose to work where you do, and you’ll be better at convincing others to join too.
Looking for more? Watch the replay of Ryan’s RallyFwd keynote session to find out how to develop courage brands and apply Ryan’s PRICE methodology to put your values into action.
And if you’re wondering what the Rally community values are, take a look at the results from the live poll we conducted during RallyFwd: See the Future of Candidate Experience: