Discover Your Workplace Values

by Rachel Vilsack

One of the best additions I made to my workspace this year is a list of my 10 guiding values. I have them posted on my cubicle wall, next to my computer. I read through them every day. They are a reminder, about what is important in my life and how I want to work. When the day comes that I no longer have an opportunity to grow, a sense of service, or passion for what I do (my top three values) then I’ll know that I’m no longer happy at my job.


What are Workplace Values?

Workplace values are characteristics that are important to your satisfaction on your job or in your career. They are not necessarily the same as your skills. Instead, your values relate to topics like: achievement, independence, recognition, relationships, support and working conditions. Your values may change over time as your interests or family situations change.

Some employers may even have a set of workplace values – like accountability or effective communication – which guide their employee and client interactions.


Defining Workplace Values

While skills assessments guide you to the professions best suited for your interests, a workplace values assessment reveals the types of work environments, day-to-day activities and rewards that are most important to you on the job. For instance, do you like:

  • Working in a team, or having autonomy?
  • Routine projects, or having variety in your daily tasks?
  • Using creativity, or having order and structure?


Whether you are in career transition or just want to assess what is important to you at work , consider taking an online workplace values assessment.  I took the assessment, and here are the five values that ranked highest for me:

  • Having a positive impact on others and society
  • Professional development and on-going learning and growth
  • Flexibility in work structure
  • Opportunity for balance between work life and family life
  • Using creativity, imagination; being innovative

Job seekers may find this information helpful when researching careers or companies. It might even be a topic to bring up during an informational meeting or during the question-and-answer portion of a job interview.


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