The First S – Shared Values

In a previous article we touched on how ‘premature evacuation’ is costing Australian businesses $3.8 billion per annum and proven strategies for successful alignment, effective onboarding and how you can play a role in reducing the impacts of ‘premature evacuation’.

The First S is the central S and all the other S’s feed from the first S of Shared values. Ensure the employees and employer’s values overlap and identify the behaviours that underpin these values. This is foundational to the success of the onboarding program, the organisation and the role.

Benefits of values alignment in the workplace

All relationships that stand the test of time are founded in shared values – marriages, friendships, partnerships, rock bands and of course, the employee/employer relationship. According to Ian Boreham, there are three key areas value alignment impacts long-term:

· Work attitudes

· Turnover

· Prosocial behaviours

Work attitudes

When employees have strong values alignment with their employer, it fosters the more intangible aspects of employee engagement. For instance, levels of motivation, commitment and job satisfaction tend to increase. Also leads to enjoyment and greater feelings of personal success.


The natural progression from having positive work attitudes is that employees are more likely to enjoy their job, feeling an affinity with their employer and a sense of cohesion with their team. When this happens, they are more likely to remain with the company, reducing the risk of turnover.

Prosocial behaviours

Strong values alignment positively influences organisational citizenship behaviours, fostering teamwork and cooperative behaviours, rather than competitive behaviours. This aids with the sharing of resources for the better functioning of teams and organisations.

The key to all these benefits arising from shared values is employee engagement. You’ve already read about the intangible side of this, but the tangible effects of engagement are visible in direct work output and activities. In short, productivity and success in the role are greater.

When you align employees value systems with the company’s, it allows for proactive decision-making from a place of understanding.

Where values meet needs

The Oxford Handbook of Organisational Psychology cites four essential needs that are crucial for a structured onboarding program.

Those are:

1. The need to belong which refers to human’s desire to develop robust interpersonal relationships.

2. Social exchange theory says our social behaviour and relationships are an exchange process which facilitates a person’s perception of who they are within a group.

3. Uncertainty reduction theory says we try to reduce uncertainty about others by gaining information about them to help us develop a sense of belonging. Improved interactions can also hasten productivity.

4. Social identity theory refers to a person’s sense of belonging based on their perception of who they are within a group.

You can see that each of these needs has strong ties to the tiers in Maslow’s hierarchy, from Safety, through to Self-actualisation. This tells us that an onboarding program centred around shared values provides the best chance of surviving the critical first three months.

My practical, proven and adaptable structured onboarding process is based on the famed McKinsey 7-S alignment framework, so in our next post we will be looking at some of the main points of the second S Structure and in future posts we will be looking at the remaining S’s Style, Skill, Strategy, Staff, Systems for effective onboarding and how recruiters can reduce impact of ‘premature evacuation’.


Greg Weiss is Australia’s leading career coach. He is the author of “So You Got the Job! WTF Is Next?”. The book prescribes a proven, practical 7-step guideline for new employees, so they succeed, rather than fail their probation periods and beyond. Find out more about the book at

He is the Founder and Director of Onboff an online training and coaching platform that helps HR specialists, coaches and recruiters to deliver exceptional onboarding and offboarding experiences for employees.

He also hosts The Keep: The Employee Experience podcast and runs CareerSupport365

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