In the IT industry in Serbia today, the market is expending in such a rapid pace that everyone is trying to outperform or, at least, keep up with the competition. In order to survive, companies try
to provide the most suitable conditions for their employees. Benefits package and highly competitive wages have become a norm. So, how do we decide which company to work for and
what is that decision based on?
On the other side, a question for companies is how to get noticed in the job market when every company offers the same benefits? How to attract top candidates?
There are different factors that influence our decision when choosing a company, and the company values, or more specifically, the match of our personal values with the company’s, is
one of those factors. What do I mean? I mean, if the company is committed to the same goals and values that we respect, it is much more likely that we will feel satisfied working there.
In order to achieve this, and to ensure that employees’ values match with the company’s, the employer must be very clear at defining them and openly communicate the values both with his
team and externally. If you want to your company to be differentiated in potential candidates’ minds, they need to understand what it is really like working in that company.
If we decide to work for a company that nurtures values that we do not agree with, sooner or later, there will be a sense of discomfort and misunderstanding in communication, which eventually affects work efficiency. This can already be seen in the job interview.
During one of the interviews where I was a candidate, I tried to leave a strictly professional impression and for that reason, I avoided talking about my private life and anything that is not strictly related to the job description, thinking I was doing the right thing. What I did not know was that the company valued exactly the opposite, spontaneous people who are always acting naturally, where the team was very friendly and informal.
I like having fun and socializing, but I usually don’t mix work and pleasure, so there was a sense of misunderstanding in that conversation. What remained after this conversation is to adapt to their values and not to worry about leaving a strictly professional impression or to go look for another company.
I would highlight three most important reasons for defining company values:
Recruitment and employment
As I mentioned, through ads, website design, campaigns and all other marketing activities, if you are guided by the clearly defined values that are practiced inside the company as well, you will communicate them with the potential employees.
If others recognize these values as something they value, working for your company will be appealing to them.
And when they get hired, there’s a great chance that they will fit into the collective and be satisfied and it’s less likely that they will make imbalance in the team and enter into conflict with other colleagues.
Within the company, if the values are clearly defined, they will serve as a guide to the employees while they work and make decisions. It is very clear what is desirable and what is undesirable behavior. What is shown in practice is that the employees find it the hardest when they are not sure what is expected of them. In this case, they are never sure whether their actions are seen as positive or negative.
Also, team members will know what to strive for, and it will be another motivating factor for them.
In this case, the whole team understands each other better, which also improves communication, and hence the interpersonal relationships and efficiency in team work. If one
member of the team thinks that the most important thing in the job is to remain kind to colleagues, and cherish long-term relationships, while on the other side, we have a result-oriented individual, there will be two people with a completely different approach to solving the problem and a potential conflict.
When a collective practices and adheres to company values, newcomers fit in easier by looking up to the behavior of others, and thus meet the need for group belonging.
If the current employees do not know what kind of behavior is valued, then they will not know what information to pass over to those who are just joining the team.
If it is clear to others who you are and what you are advocating, your name becomes a brand, it is defined in the consciousness of people outside of the company. StartIT's research has shown that for one third of developers brand is of great significance when choosing a company.
It is important that the values are mutually compatible and that they create a cohesive brand image, so people would have a unique association when they hear your company’s name.
How to define values?
When defining values, one should take into account that they have to represent the real image of a collective.
On the other hand, top management needs to state the values that are important to them and which they value in employees, in order to serve as a motivating factor and as a message from
top management to the whole team.
So, values, on the one hand, describe the current state, and on the other, describe the state to which employees should strive, if at the moment values are not practiced in the amount they could be.
They should be defined briefly and clearly, while being interconnected in a way that they make a clear picture that is understood by both employees and other stakeholders.
Choose 3 to 5 values, and describe them with a short sentence or slogan, to make it clear what is meant by, for example, ‘responsibility’, and what is specifically meant by ‘teamwork’.
But before anything else, it is very important that the top management leads by example with their own behavior, and also to clearly explain why the values they chose are important for
Do you care for individualism and efficacy or teamwork and nurturing close relationships? Is it important for you to follow procedures and be in a well-organized environment, or do you care
only for the end result, and the way it is achieved is irrelevant, as long as the job is done well?
Communicate it with current and potential employees, and you will attract people whose values match yours. You will have a stable and complex team, where people will feel more satisfied.
Build your brand clearly in the minds of potential employees and your company name will have a clear and recognizable connotation.
Aleksandra Bajić, Manager of human resources