Academic Research based Employee Core Values List

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In this blog you’ll get our academic based employee core values list. You’ll also hear some cool ways our customers have used the list.

Core Values List

First, I want to be clear about one thing: There is no right or wrong way to think about employee core values. Over the last three years I’ve talked with over 2,000 really smart HR and Business professionals. Ask any two for some examples of employee core values and how those values play out in the real world, and you’re sure to find that the uniqueness of each response will be matched only by the similarities.

“A core value is an internalized principle that guides behavior.”

As different as every description of core values can be, the general feeling is that a core value is some sort of internalized principle or foundational element that guides a person’s behavior. At RoundPegg we’re on the same page.

The Core Values List

Here’s our core values list. Make sure to scope out the explanation for how this list came to be. There’s a quick example about how you can use the list in real life. Hopefully the example does a better job than I can to explain why and how we use this list.

Psychologists have identified 36 core values, that in combination describe how an individual behaves. The research proves that core values are hardwired by the time we hit the working world. Because core values do not shift over time they are an awesome starting point in an otherwise massive attempt to understand people. Here are the first 18 of 36 values on that core values list.

Get the full list and a profile of the core values on your team

Adaptability People who value adaptability tend to easily adjust to changing circumstances or requirements.
Being Aggressive People who value being aggressive tend to be highly assertive when identifying goals and communicate freely without being swayed by others feelings.
Being Distinctive People who value being distinctive tend to identify and demonstrate the ways in which their personality or talent is unique
Being People Oriented People who value being people oriented tend to enjoy interacting with others and consider people before pragmatics.
Being Quick to Take Advantage of Opportunity People who value being quick to take advantage of opportunities tend to feel comfortable taking on more risk and acting on opportunities as they arise and with less data in hand.
Being Supportive People who value being supportive tend to enjoy assisting others and helping them achieve success.
Confronting Conflict Directly People who value confronting conflict directly tend to discuss disagreements and problems with candor.
Creativity People who value creativity tend to think outside the box and consider out of the box solutions.
Desiring a Well Defined Role People who value a well defined role tend to prefer to have roles and responsibilities that are clearly defined.
Fairness People who value fairness tend to believe that the same rules should apply equally to everyone regardless of the circumstances
Having High Performance Expectations People who value having high performance expectations tend to work hard to achieve goals and expect the same of others
Informality People who value informality tend to have a more relaxed style of communication, dress, personal and professional interactions.
Offers Praise for Good Performance People who value praise for good performance tend to take time to identify and praise good performance as it occurs.
Paying Attention to Detail People who value paying attention to detail tend to focus on specifics over generalities and ensure that communications and documents are clear and detailed
Risk Taking People who value risk taking tend to take advantage of opportunities as they appear even if there is substantial risk involved.
Seeking Input From Others People who value seeking input from others tend to consistently ask others for suggestions and constructive criticism.
Stability People who value stability tend to prefer consistency in their roles, responsibilities and schedules
Tolerance People who value tolerance tend to generally be patient and accepting with others regardless of the circumstances. 

Get the full list and a profile of the core values on your team

“Wait! I don’t see my examples or my organization’s values in your list!”

I’ve been told our list is a little boring. That makes sense! Each value is strength based, but none seem particularly noble or virtuous. You might think “Wait! I don’t see my examples or my organization’s values in your list!”  We hear that a lot, and it’s totally valid! Remember, there is no right or wrong list of values.

There are three main reasons values like integrity, innovation, customer service and teamwork are not included in our core values list.

  1. Most people are noble and virtuous. Yup, you heard that right! Most people genuinely care about other people. Think about it! How many dishonest people who hate working with others on innovative solutions do you hang out with? Since most people are noble and virtuous, those values don’t do a great job of describing a unique person.
  2. Integrity was a stated value at Enron. If we included those obviously noble values in our list it would be tough not to select those values as descriptors, especially if they see those values on your website, walls, and coffee mugs. That’s called selection bias. That leaves you with info that isn’t a great reflection of an individual.
  3. In some situations it can be useful to think of certain values as actions or behaviors. Just rewrite a few values as actions to see what I mean. Here’s some examples:
Value Action
We value exceptional customer service We provide exceptional customer service
We value Teamwork
We work together as a team
We value Innovation We innovate

This story might demonstrate why thinking about employee core values as actions or behaviors can be useful.

A customer came to us afraid that their Tier 1 support team wasn’t living up to the organization’s stated value “We Value Exceptional Customer Service.” T1 teams field incoming calls and support tickets for everything from password resets to questions about why your servers are down. It’s expensive to lose a customer, so the role is critical to business success. When customers are frustrated they can be difficult to deal with and the job pushes reps to their limit. The perfect test case!

From our list of values, the company determined that 4 values were most common amongst their Tier 1 reps.

  1. Desiring a well defined role
  2. Opportunities for professional growth
  3. Sharing information freely
  4. Fairness

The problem was that process and procedure in the team did not align with those values:

  1. Roles were poorly defined and responsibilities shifted constantly
  2. There was little focus on training or coaching to help employees grow their careers
  3. Reps were short on answers because communication about software bugs between the team and developers wasn’t smooth
  4. Promotions were by appointment rather than an internal interview process.

It doesn’t take a Ph.D to see why the team was not providing an exceptional customer experience. Misalignment of values is the root of low morale and disengaged employees. When core values are not met, team members will be frustrated and look for new jobs.

Is it clear why some values are not included in our list? Can you see why it can be useful to think about certain values as actions or behaviors in some cases?

How to use a core values list

There are tons of ways you can use a core values list. I’ll give you a few ideas here, in bullet points, just to get the gears spinning.

Get the complete list and a profile for your team or group

 You’ll get:

  • The complete university researched list of 36 employee core values
  • An overview about how we packed decades of research into RoundPegg to make anyone an Org. Psych Ph.D
  • A values profile of your team or group that you can use immediately to take actions like the ones above.
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