More than ever, attracting and retaining employees has become critically important in the corporate world.
With so many jobs available in a workplace where countless companies are looking to fill myriad vacancies in their workforce, organizations now have to convince prospective employees why they should come to work for them.
Having a clearly delineated set of values is one way to do that, says Brendan Reimer, a strategic partner in values-based banking with Assiniboine Credit Union (ACU).
“The importance of value alignment can’t be stressed enough,” says Reimer. “Job seekers want to see prospective employers engaged in the community and making a genuine effort to work toward making the world a better place.”
In short, job seekers need to view a potential employer in a positive light.
“They have to like a company’s values – what it stands for,” he explains. “Of course, people choose where they work based on passion, pay, advancement and convenience. At the same time, they want to see that you’re aligned with the right people and the right companies.”
At the same time, prospective employees – and those who do choose to sign on the dotted line with a company – want to see their employer back up its words.
“It’s all about being authentic and acting with integrity,” says Reimer. “It’s not just about messaging, it’s about living it – you have to match your message with your actions.”
For that to happen, a company has to understand its values.
“Once in it, you can’t stop doing business a certain way from a moral standpoint. There always has to be authentic action behind messaging.”
He adds that it’s imperative to back up words with actions. If employees discover the depth that their employer will go to to put their values into action, the sky’s the limit.
“Engagement goes up, which in turn contributes to retention and increased productivity,” notes Reimer. “Your workforce will be inspired and become champions of your company, which will make them better ambassadors.”
There are other benefits that stem from becoming a purpose-driven company, as well.
“Employees will go the extra mile for the company and be more collaborative and innovative. They will strive to find ways to make an organization better.”
In turn, the public’s perception of a company will become increasingly positive as they see it back up words with actions on environmental initiatives and other programs that are designed to make the community – and world – a better place.
“These days, consumers are expecting companies to be good citizens,” he says. “Expectations really shifted during the pandemic. Now, consumers have a greater awareness of what companies are about, from Black Lives Matter to climate change and workplace reconciliation. They are just expecting companies to be better.”
Striving to be better as a company has its benefits, Reimer adds.
“It’s been shown that companies do better when they pursue ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance). If you run your business with integrity and authenticity and strive to make a difference in the world beyond a product of service, people notice. A by-product of this is that your company becomes more profitable. It’s a win-win scenario.”
Such a scenario – where both a business and the public wins – can be born from a simple act.
“It starts with a commitment to deciding who you want to be as a company. Start there, and then figure out your actions later. Doing that can transform your business into becoming more than you ever thought possible.”
Michael Mikulak, executive director for Food & Beverage Manitoba, agrees. “There are so many examples of good work emerging in this area.”
“Manitoba Hemp Harvest is a great example of a company that combines the triple bottom line: people, profit and the planet, to create a company is not only profitable but committed to the rigorous standards of the B-corp movement. Maple Leaf is another great example of a company where a deep commitment to sustainability, manifest in them becoming the worlds largest carbon neutral food processor, also creates a culture of engagement and pride within the company.
In both cases, looking towards the role of the company within a broader culture and social context helps to drive strategies and operations,” he says.