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Columbia Business Monthly

Why trust and values matter in workplace culture

Nov 14, 2018 11:37AM ● By Kathleen Maris

By Bob Helbig, Energage

How do great companies create long-term success? Not by focusing on the balance sheet, a corporate brand expert says, but by improving people’s lives based on strong, shared values in workplace culture.

“Great companies have an amazing opportunity to provide a lifelong impact on all of the lives they touch,” said Michael Weisman, founder and CEO of The Values Institute, a research and consulting company that stresses the importance of trust and values in corporate culture.

The advertising executive and brand developer has become increasingly passionate about corporate values since the 2008 recession. He’s spent years working with hundreds of companies, advising C-suite executives, and speaking with thousands of employees.

Five key values-based principles

In his experience, values are what makes companies great. They define corporate culture: how they imagine, how they invest their time, and how they spend their money.

“Values create the foundation of every successful organization,” Weisman said. “All the choices we make in life are influenced by what we value most.”

Since the recession, consumers expect more than mere transactions. In a values economy, these qualities stand out, Weisman said:

1. Relationships are more important than transactions. Without good relationships, transactions are not sustainable.

2. Put purpose before profit. “People don’t mind companies that make profits,” Weisman said. “They mind when they grab for our wallets.”

3. Transparency over opaqueness. Great companies value open, honest communication.

4. Conviction over compliance. Great companies value doing what’s right over what’s expedient, he said. They follow their heart.

5. Advocacy over apathy. Put the needs of others ahead of your own.

Values give purpose, Weisman said. And without purpose, “we simply become economic agents in the pursuit of revenue.”

Values are the gateway to trust, which he calls “the most valuable asset of any company.” Over the long term, having repeat customers and developing meaningful relationships creates trust and brings tangible benefits to an organization.

High-trust organizations create a “rabid community of advocates.” He added: “Trust is earned; it can’t be bought.”

Bob Helbig is media partnerships director at Energage, a Philadelphia-based research and consulting firm that surveyed nearly 3 million employees at more than 7,000 organizations in 2018. Energage is the research partner for Top Workplaces. Nominate your company as a Top Workplace at www.topworkplaces.com/southcarolina.

About The Top Workplaces Program:

The Top Workplaces program identifies organizations that excel at organizational health and employee engagement. Greenville Business Magazine, Columbia Business Monthly, and Charleston Business Magazine, in partnership with Energage, formerly WorkplaceDynamics, offers a free assessment through a simple, scientifically sound, and anonymous employee feedback survey.

The Top Workplaces program recruits organizations, walks them through the survey, and creates the list of top-ranking companies. Why participate? Consider the benefits:

Shout out, stand out: Encourage workplace pride. If you work at a great company, give colleagues a morale boost with something to celebrate. And give your employer well-served credit for creating something special.

Assess, reward, and improve: The results from the Top Workplaces survey can help assess the health of companies. They validate achievements, reveal problem areas, and set a foundation for new goals.

Boost recruiting: Attract and retain the best talent. Employees want to work at companies recognized as leaders that operate by a strong set of values.

Raise the business profile: The Top Workplaces logo on company materials and websites helps spread the word about successful work environments. Customers and business partners will take notice. That awareness can help create new business opportunities, too.

Earn public recognition: Achievements are recognized by Greenville Business Magazine, Columbia Business Monthly, and Charleston Business Magazine.

“Top Workplaces is more than just recognition,” said Doug Claffey, CEO of Energage. “Our research shows organizations that earn the award attract better talent, experience lower turnover, and are better equipped to deliver bottom-line results. Their leaders prioritize and carefully craft a healthy workplace culture that supports employee engagement.”

To participate, go to www.topworkplaces.com/southcarolina or call (864) 501-9699.

Energage, founded in 2006, is located in Exton, Pennsylvania. A leader in organizational health research and SaaS-based HR tools, Energage has reached more than 17 million employees from 50,000+ organizations through its employee engagement platform, Top Workplaces program, and workplace improvement solutions.

Contact: Bob Helbig, Media Partnerships Director Energage 414.207.1648

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