The overwhelming majority of employees believe it’s important that their company’s core values align with their personal values, yet just above half of workers say they actually do align, according to a new study produced by Blue Beyond Consulting and Future Workplace. The study, “Closing the Employee Expectations Gap: The Undeniable—and Promising—New Mandate for Business,” has far-reaching implications for the “Great Resignation,” in millions of workers who have voluntarily left their jobs in the last six months.
This values alignment is so important that 52 percent of workers say they would quit their job— and only 1 in 4 would accept one—if company values are not consistent with their personal values. The study also reveals broad alignment among all employees when it comes to one core value in particular: More than 3 in 4 employees expect business in general and their employer specifically to be a force for good in society.
The research study also provides recommendations for companies on how to avoid or mitigate effects of the “Great Resignation.”
Key insights. The study participants included an equal mix of knowledge workers, business leaders, and HR leaders. They shared the following expectations and consequences for employers:
- 8 in 10 survey respondents overall say it’s important that their company’s values align with their own, but only 57 percent of knowledge workers said that they actually do align;
- More than half (52 percent) of knowledge workers are likely to quit their job if company values do not align with their own;
- Only 1 in 4 knowledge workers are likely to accept a job if company values do not align with their own;
- More than 3 in 4 of all respondents expect their employer (76 percent) and business in general (77 percent) to be a force for good in society; and
- This force-for-good expectation extends across demographic groups, with more than 70 percent of all respondents from nearly every age group, region, company size, and demographic group saying business in general, and their employer in particular, have an obligation to be a force for good in society.
“Being a force for good is so much more than corporate citizenship,” Cheryl Fields Tyler, founder and CEO of Blue Beyond Consulting said in a release. “People want their employer to be a force for good in their lives—at home and at work. Employees are showing they’re not afraid to make a change if their employer’s values don’t align with their own.”
Workplace culture. The study also found strong agreement between employers and employees when identifying the tangible factors that permit a workplace culture to flourish, such as effective communication (89 percent), clear goals and accountabilities (88 percent), and leaders who serve as good role models (86 percent). However, only 1 in 4 knowledge workers strongly agree that their workplace exemplifies these same key factors, marking a significant gap between expectation and achievement.
“Culture is critical to retention, and our work directly informs why ‘The Great Resignation’ has taken place over the past six months,” added Fields Tyler. “The change in employee expectations is permanent, and business and human resources leaders must take stock of their approach to building a strong working culture to make sure they’re ‘walking the talk.’”
About the Study. Blue Beyond, which describes itself as a management consulting firm that builds effective organizations in which both the business and people thrive, developed the study in collaboration with human resources research firm Future Workplace. Seven hundred fifty-three people participated in the survey, which was conducted across the United States and Canada between July 15, 2021 and August 1, 2021. The sample included 251 business leaders, 251 HR leaders, and 251 knowledge workers around questions about employee expectations as they relate to company values, workplace culture, business as a force for good, and other societal issues.
To help inform the study and its recommendations, individual interviews were conducted in April and May 2021 with business executives from Fortune Global 500, Fortune 500, and smaller companies that represent a variety of industries, including aerospace, technology and engineering, and consumer goods. Questions focused on the role of business in society and changing employee expectations in the workplace.
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