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Nearly half of US workforce unsure of employers’ core values

Arlington, Va., November 30, 2016 – A new national survey by Eagle Hill Consulting indicates that some 47 percent of working age Americans say they do not know or are unsure about their employer’s core values. The new poll also finds that the overwhelming majority – 89 percent – of employees who do know their employer’s values say that those values steer their decisions and behavior at work.

Read an infographic with the poll findings here.

The research was commissioned in the wake of recent scandals that seem to be rooted in a breakdown in organizational culture and core values. Wells Fargo & Co. is under fire amid revelations that some 5,300 employees opened as many as two million fraudulent accounts without customers’ knowledge. And, drug maker Mylan has drawn ire for increasing the price from $100 to $600 for its lifesaving food allergy EpiPen device.

“These findings are troubling because organizational values should be the driving force motivating employees’ day-to-day behavior and their relationships with customers, partners and other stakeholders,” said Melissa Jezior, Eagle Hill president and chief executive officer. “When employees say they don’t know their organization’s values, that’s a warning signal that an organization can’t effectively execute on its business strategies, has a workforce morale issue, or is vulnerable to ethical lapses.”

“When there is a values breakdown, the culture simply becomes what is tolerated among managers and employees. At best, the organization isn’t as effective as it can be. At worst, we see ethical lapses that become a crisis,” Jezior said.

The poll findings are important because the disconnect between values and behavior can have a big impact on business performance and the bottom line. Research finds that when it comes to culture and values, high levels of integrity are positively correlated with good outcomes like higher productivity and profitability. Eagle Hill’s new polling is consistent with this research given that nearly nine in 10 workers who know their company values say it drives their performance.

“The good news in our poll is that most employees feel that they are in an environment where they can report ethical lapses,” Jezior explained. “Three-fourths of respondents said that their employer’s culture actually encourages them to raise concerns if there appears to be dishonest or questionable behavior by co-workers. For leaders, this whistleblower reporting can be a trigger to examine if there is a misunderstanding of values or a misalignment between company values and policies – like sales target or compensation – that can drive bad behavior.”

The Eagle Hill survey was an online poll conducted by Ipsos in October 2016. Respondents were 604 employed people from across the nation. The results were weighted to reflect U.S. demographic factors, including age, income, the four national census regions, and gender.

Eagle Hill Consulting LLC is a woman-owned business that provides management consulting services in the areas of business strategy, organizational transformation, human capital transformation, process improvement, program management and change management. Eagle Hill works with a range of public, private, and non-profit organizations in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and across the nation. Forbes named the company one of America’s Best Management Consulting Firms of 2016. And, the company was named a 2016 Best Place to Work in Greater Washington by The Washington Business Journal, and earned top workplace awards from The Washington Post and Washingtonian along with multiple top rankings in the Vault 50 Consulting Ranking. More information is available at www.eaglehillconsulting.com.