Best workplaces have simple, spelled-out values

Organizations with a simple internal message about their values and aspirations have workforces that tend to trust the company, feel freer to innovate and stay longer.

“Clear, straight-forward messaging of organizational values and aspirations allow employees an unobstructed view of the nucleus of their employer,” said Cathy Littlefield, chair of the Business Department at Peirce College in Philadelphia. “As a result, when organizations are perceived as clearly understood and transparent in nature, they are more likely to retain valued employees.”

Simplicity Pays

“When your organization is rooted in something simple and earnest, people respect it and work harder to honor it,” said Carolyn Morgan, president of precisioneffect, a healthcare advertising and marketing agency.

“That leads to greater team trust and a common sense of purpose,” Morgan said.

A simple, consistent internal message “works like a mantra,” said Joe Weinlick, senior vice president of Nexxt, a recruitment media company. “If everyone in the company consistently hears and says the same thing, then there is a powerful energy to make that thing happen. The more dilated the message is, the less powerful the mantra.”

“Organizations that articulate their values clearly and are transparent about their mission and strategies tend to win when it comes to attracting and retaining talent,” said Jan Bruce, CEO of meQuilibrium, which offers a digital resilience coaching platform. “Employees at these organizations understand their company’s mission, and their role achieving it, and are therefore more engaged in their job.”

What constitutes a simple workplace? Siegel+Gale, a global strategic branding firm, defined them as organizations that communicate clearly from the top about their purpose, values and business goals.

The firm polled 14,000 employed people around the world and found that in a simple organization:

  • 95% of employees are more likely to trust their company’s leadership;
  • 54% find it easier to innovate;
  • 65% are more likely to refer someone to work at their company;
  • 84% of employees plan to stay longer in their job.

Simple workplaces have a higher rate of dedicated staff who understand and are committed to what their company stands for, said Brian Rafferty, global director of business analytics and insights at Siegel+Gale.

“These employees are motivated by intangible factors, such as personal fulfillment and growth,” Rafferty said. “They also tend to have longer tenures, while disengaged employees are driven by salary and benefits alone.”

  • Devoted staff in simple workplaces are 65% more likely to advocate on behalf of their companies;
  • Purpose-driven industries have more devoted staff—55% of military employees consider themselves in this role, versus 20% in retail and grocery sectors;
  • Cultural norms impact devoted staff—48% of employees in India consider themselves this way, versus 12% in Japan.

“In an era where your people are your brand, the study shows how ‘simplicity’ boosts organizational culture to drive business value,” said Rafferty. “Building company culture through simple experiences at work is critical.”