‘The Great Resignation’: A Majority of Employees Would Quit Their Job and Only 1 in 4 Workers Would Accept One — If Company Values Do Not Align With Personal Values

New Workplace Study From Blue Beyond Consulting and Future Workplace Demonstrates Importance of Alignment on Core Values Especially Great Resignation “Business as a Force for Good”

A new research study reveals that the overwhelming majority of employees believe it’s important that their company’s core values align with their personal values, yet just above half of workers say they actually do align. In fact, this values alignment is so important that 52% of workers say they would quit their job — and only 1 in 4 would accept one — if company values are not consistent with their personal values. What is especially startling is the broad alignment among all employees when it comes to one core value in particular: More than 3 in 4 employees expect business in general and their employer specifically to be a force for good in society.

These are the findings of “Closing the Employee Expectations Gap: The Undeniable—and Promising—New Mandate for Business,” a new study produced by Blue Beyond Consulting and Future Workplace that has far-reaching implications for the Great Resignation, which has seen millions of workers voluntarily leaving their jobs in the last six months. Blue Beyond, a management consulting firm that builds effective organizations where both the business and the people thrive, developed the study in collaboration with human resources research firm Future Workplace.

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The study’s participants, which included an equal mix of knowledge workers, business leaders and HR leaders, shared clear expectations—and consequences—for employers:

  • 8 in 10 survey respondents overall say it’s important that their company’s values align with their own — but only 57% of knowledge workers say they actually do align
  • More than half (52%) of knowledge workers are likely to quit their job if company values do not align with their own
  • Only 1 in 4 knowledge workers are likely to accept a job if company values do not align with their own
  • More than 3 in 4 of all respondents expect their employer (76%) and business in general (77%) to be a force for good in society
  • That force-for-good expectation extends across demographic groups: Over 70% of all respondents from nearly every age group, region, company size, and demographic group say business in general and their employer in particular have an obligation to be a force for good in society

“Being a force for good is so much more than corporate citizenship. People want their employer to be a force for good in their lives—at home and at work,” said Cheryl Fields Tyler, founder and CEO of Blue Beyond Consulting. “Employees are showing they’re not afraid to make a change if their employer’s values don’t align with their own.”

The study also found that strong agreement exists between employers and employees when identifying the tangible factors that enable a workplace culture to flourish, such as effective communication (89% of all respondents), clear goals and accountabilities (88%), and leaders who serve as good role models (86%). Yet just 1 in 4 knowledge workers strongly agree that their workplace exemplifies these same key factors, marking a significant gap between expectation and achievement.

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“Culture is critical to retention, and our work directly informs why ‘The Great Resignation’ has taken place over the past six months,” added Fields Tyler. “The change in employee expectations is permanent, and business and human resources leaders must take stock of their approach to building a strong working culture to make sure they’re ‘walking the talk.'”

In addition to survey responses, the study incorporated learnings from interviews conducted with senior human resources and management executives at Fortune Global 500, Fortune 500 and smaller companies who represent a variety of industries, including aerospace, technology and engineering, and consumer goods, to name a few. The result is a body of work illustrating the changing employer-employee dynamic, as well as each group’s perspective on walking a collective path toward a culture that serves their respective needs.

The research study also provides recommendations for companies on how to avoid—or at least mitigate—the effects of the Great Resignation.

“Trust is critical— Great Resignation our employees are thinking, ‘If I don’t trust you, I don’t want to be part of your organization,” said Elizabeth Adefioye, Chief People Officer at Emerson, a global, diversified technology and engineering company. “Frankly, as business leaders, we have to understand we are no longer in the driver’s seat. Employees can really be more vocal, more demanding and more deliberate about what they want because they can go anywhere. Their options are endless.”

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