The personal values most employers hope you will bring to work with you

03 May 2016

People at work

According to some surveys, more young people want to work for companies that have values, firms that make a difference to the world above and beyond satisfying customers.

But it isn’t a one-way street. Almost any firm will look for a range of personal values that their people bring to the workplace, ones that make them more effective team members. It’s all very well that you want to save the planet, or help the homeless, or whatever it is that drives you. But without certain disciplines, you won’t be a very effective agent for either the causes or for the business.

These are some of the most common ones that employers look for.

1. Work ethic

However caring a company you end up with, at the end of the day it’s about getting the work done. The willingness to do what it takes and the enthusiasm for the task at hand is one of the things that will immediately pick you out as one to watch. If you can match the work ethic with working smart, so you get the best results for the effort you put in, then that’s the ideal.

People who project confidence are the ones who rise up the ranks

2. Positive attitude

This usually goes hand in hand with point 1, but not always. People with a positive attitude don’t just perform a task and then, like a robot, stop and await further instructions. They’re looking for what needs to be done and proactively doing it. They’re demonstrating every day that they’re signed up for the mission, and are actively working to help achieve it. They also help to motivate the people around them, and make the office a more pleasant place to be.

3. Trustworthiness

You want to establish a good relationship with your employer, and that starts with trust. Any company wants to know that the moment you’re left unsupervised you’re not going to be watching TV on your computer, or pilfering from the office supplies. When representing the company outside, obviously you need to be able to be trusted to do so professionally, having done all the necessary preparation.

4. Dependability

If you say you’re going to be there, be there. If you say you’re going to get it done, get it done. It’s not rocket science, but you’d think so sometimes.

5. Self-confidence

This is actually one of the most highly valued of all, whether that is a good thing or not. People who project confidence are the ones who rise up the ranks, who build the support of teams, who persuade clients to sign up. And you know what? Nobody, but nobody, is actually as confident as they would like to be. All of them have nagging doubts and concerns. But the ability to tap into the attitudes that make you feel strong and project them outwards is a huge deal. Not just at work, but in life. Might as well practice it early and often.

6. Loyalty

So you don’t work for the perfect boss. Guess what? You won’t marry the perfect partner. You weren’t raised by the perfect parents. And you’re struggling just a little on the quest for perfection yourself, aren’t you? Unless your boss is a total jerk (in which case see the section below), his or her imperfections shouldn’t get in the way of the fact that you owe them and the company loyalty so long as you work there. That shouldn’t mean that you can never tell them, in the appropriate way, that you disagree with something, or that you think there’s a problem.

Obviously, we’re no longer talking the sort of loyalty that comes from the expectation of a lifetime with the company. And you may ask therefore why show a company loyalty if it might show none to me? It comes down to that positive attitude. For now, the company is putting money in your pocket and giving you a platform to grow and develop, and get things done. Make the most of it and you’ll make plenty of friends and allies to help you take the next step when the time comes.

When your values are ignored and undermined

In most workplaces, any employee with the above values will do well. But there are, sadly, some where life is toxic and unwholesome with bosses who are too narcissistic to even notice what’s good about anyone around them. 

It’s no big revelation that the best thing to do in that situation, if it seems unlikely to change any time soon, is to get out. Specifically, any situation that, over time, is likely to undermine your confidence in yourself will make it a lot more difficult for you in the future. Don’t wait until you reach breaking point. Get out from a position of strength, recognising that this situation isn’t going to give you the platform to succeed and to make a difference.

Did I miss any values out that you think are crucial in the workplace? Let me know in the comments below.