What are ‘Shadow Values’? And what can we do about them?

  • Positive These are the great aspects of your workplace which are not represented in your employer brand. If you have positive shadow values, you’re missing an opportunity to understand your culture, expand on your employer brand and leverage your culture.
  • Negative Negative shadow values are often associated with unethical behaviour.

If you have positive shadow values, you’re missing an opportunity to understand your culture

Negative Shadow Values

  • dream and curiosity
  • diversity
  • integrity
  • sincerity
  • sustainability.
  • excellence
  • professionalism
  • commitment to integrity.

Positive Shadow Values

  • Why do you work here?
  • What does it mean to work in this organisation?
  • How would you describe the culture?

How to Uncover Positive Shadow Values

  • Ask for stories about when they’ve been most proud to work for the organisation
  • Provide them with a list of values and ask them to tick what they think best describes the business
  • Use anonymous staff surveys and ask questions around ethics and behaviours.
  • Look at psychological safety and how do you embed that into your organisation

Ask for stories about when they’ve been most proud to work for the organisation

Dealing with Negative Shadow Values

Leadership

Language

Action

Dealing with Positive Shadow Values

Take a Second Look

No matter whether your shadow values turn out to be positive or negative, they require action.

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Karen Kirton

Karen Kirton

Founder of Amplify HR — a consulting company in Australia that specialises in enabling businesses to find, grow and keep great people. www.amplifyhr.com.au