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Recruiters and hiring managers are extremely comfortable talking to job candidates about their companies’ compensation, benefits and perks. Many aren’t nearly as comfortable talking about their companies’ values with the same degree of assurance.

That needs to change. ASAP.

New research from Talent Board reveals that company values were the most important content sought out by job candidates in North America when researching jobs in 2022. In fact, values-related content rose an astonishing 109% in importance over the prior year.

Other research shows that company values are now even more important to workers than higher pay. More than half of the US workforce won’t even consider working for companies whose values don’t match up to their own, and more than half would be willing to take a pay cut to work for a company with better values.

Given facts like these, it’s crucial that you put your company’s values front and center in your 2023 recruiting efforts. By “front and center,” I don’t just mean posted to a page on your company’s website. I mean integrated into your job ads, job descriptions, company backgrounders and other employer marketing collateral — i.e., all of the materials candidates might come across before they even speak to a recruiter.

In short, your values should be everywhere.

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Searching for Connection and Fit

The ascendance of company values isn’t surprising in the post-Great Reshuffling era, after record numbers of workers quit their jobs due to feelings of being disconnected from their work, misaligned with their employer’s mission or disrespected and devalued by their company’s culture.

These same workers are slowly making their way back into the workforce, but they’re far choosier about where they’re landing. They want to work for employers whose values more closely reflect their own and whose cultures are more supportive. They want to feel a deeper connection to their jobs and their employers. They want work that offers meaning and purpose.

When such meaningful connections are made, the outcomes are impressive. As research from Great Place To Work indicates, workers’ performance, engagement, loyalty and pride all soar. And, as a result, “retention, employee well-being and stock market returns improve.”

Clearly, all of this is about fit. Candidates are now hyper-focused on finding companies and jobs where they feel a strong sense of fitting in, personally and professionally. For their part, recruiters have long been focused on finding best-fit talent for their companies, as doing so translates into all of those business benefits noted above.

So, now that candidates and recruiters are both attuned to the importance of fit, effective talent acquisition will get a whole lot easier, right? Well, talent shortages aside, there’s another challenge in the way: Many employers have yet to make the transition from showcasing their jobs to showcasing their organizations. Remember, today’s candidates want to feel aligned with an employer and its values before they explore job fit.

This shift to showcasing organizations will take time and practice, but it needs to start right away. Putting your company’s values front and center in the candidate experience is a good place to begin. In addition, your candidate experience should give candidates a clear understanding of your company culture, insights into your employee experience and a sense of connection with your overall brand. Indeed, these are the three things job seekers want even before they’ll look closely at your open jobs, according to Talent Board’s candidate surveys.

As many smart business leaders have pointed out, your competitors can steal or duplicate your products, processes, ideas and customers. But they can’t steal your values or your culture. They make your company unique, and they’re what draws great talent to your organization and keeps it there.