Everyone’s a winner when you match your core values to those of your employees

“The assumption that employees come to the high-tech market solely because of the benefits or choose the company with the loudest, most expensive campaign, has proven to be wrong,” writes Emil Fisher

Emil Fisher 16:5918.03.21
The cushy benefits that startups and high-tech companies tend to provide their employees garner a lot of attention: From generous salaries, to luxurious corporate retreats and flights, to dreamy destinations abroad. But these aren’t supposed to be the main motivation at a company where a sense of purpose and passion for the mission statement are the most important things. For this type of workplace, employees who come primarily for the ‘luxury’ are usually not the suitable choice for you.


The reality is the demand for good high-tech employees far exceeds the existing supply, especially when it comes to software development. This intense competition has created a veritable “knife fight” for every quality candidate, and in this type of fight, all means are valid, including fantastical pay and private offices you only see in movies. There are companies that have, and still are, spending millions of dollars on loud employee recruitment campaigns, but this is not necessarily the right way to get the employees you truly want.


Emil Fisher, co-founder and CTO of BreezoMeter. Photo: Yariv Eldad Emil Fisher, co-founder and CTO of BreezoMeter. Photo: Yariv Eldad


While this ‘free for all’ to get the best employees has eased slightly in 2020, due to the Covid-19 virus and the transition to remote work, lately it seems that the benefits culture for drawing in high-tech employees is coming back in full force. The demand for good employees is increasing, and the benefits offered are growing in proportion.


Cushy benefits and high salaries are a legitimate and even an obligatory means to attract good employees to your startup company. Nowadays everybody understands that a company rises and falls based on the employees it recruits to its ranks. And yet, employee recruitment is very complex, as different HR companies and divisions can attest - because they are familiar with the complexities and challenges of this task.


Alongside the many difficulties involved in the recruitment process, there is an additional challenge which comes when you want to find good employees who also genuinely believe in the company’s core mission statement. How do you verify an alignment between the values, culture, the DNA of the company, and the employees’ intrinsic values and character traits?. In my eyes, this is the most important factor that influences the success rates of connecting employees with a company, even more so than a professional aptitude for the job. Employees who connect with the mission statement and are excited about the journey will experience satisfaction on a whole other level, and will appreciate the fact that their work carries influence beyond their official role.


When we recruit employees at BreezoMeter, we don’t want to attract people solely because of the attractive salary and good benefits we offer. From the start, we want candidates to want to work for us because they identify with the missions and values that the company was based on. Our goal as entrepreneurs is for candidates to want to work for us because they connect with the nature of the company, and not only because of the luxuries and benefits we provide to employees.


In recent years, a new force has risen in the Israeli “startup nation” market, called ‘impact companies’. These companies believe that together with an attempt to maximize company profits, it’s also possible to advance social goals, such as protecting the environment and developing digital healthcare. The social missions and values of these companies are congruent with the set of values exhibited by members of the Y generation, who find alignment between the values the company represents and the values they believe in very important.


So the million dollar question (or even a far higher number) is, how do we recruit good employees who identify with the social values and missions that serve as the company's foundation?


Here are a few suggestions:


Clearly and transparently write what the company’s core values are - put the cards on the table and unequivocally write, both on the company’s website and in job ads, the company’s values and mission statement, and look for employees who identify and believe in those values. This will also distinguish you from most formal job recruitment ads, laden with qualification demands.


Try to recruit employees using the “refer-a-friend” method - a familiar and popular recruitment system in many workplaces. Ask company employees to check and see if they know quality individuals who are looking for a new place to work and who share the company’s core values. Current employees are the best ambassadors of the company’s impact and their own work and productivity.


Personal and authentic employee posts on social networks - for example, in the field of health and environmental technologies, we know many activists are involved in active voluntary initiatives. There is even a way here for employees to contribute to such causes twice over: Through their day job as hired employees, and through volunteering. There are many Facebook groups for people interested in taking part in projects that support environmental protection values or which promote personal health improvements via different means.


The assumption that employees come to the high-tech market solely because of the benefits or choose the company with the loudest, most expensive campaign, has proven to be wrong. In the race for benefits and salary, startups will lose to tech giants. More and more employees nowadays prioritize the values and mission of the company they work for. More and more employees also want to take part in social progress, especially when it comes to protecting the environment and people’s personal health.


In my eyes, every company should strive to match its set of core values with the set of core values of its employees. At the end of the day, the profit of both employee and company will double, both financially and socially, making possible the reality that people work together towards a single, worthy purpose, and don’t end up as a collection of individuals simply clocking-in to get paid, while advancing the company’s roadmap goals on the way to going public or making the supposedly wishful “exit”.


The writer is co-founder and CTO of the startup BreezoMeter, which is currently recruiting backend developers, algorithm programmers, and data scientists.