Walking the Talk: How to Activate Company Values and Inspire Your Team

Walking the Talk: How to Activate Company Values and Inspire Your Team

Demonstrating a commitment to your organizational values and the causes you support matters to your employees.

Consumers are increasingly interested in doing business with brands committed to shared social causes. In fact, in a global study, Zeno Group found that individuals are four times more likely to buy from and trust purpose-driven brands. 

So it should come as no surprise that employees, too, seek out employers with an authentic commitment to core values and defined causes. 

  • One study by LinkedIn and Imperative found that 74% of LinkedIn users surveyed placed a high value on finding work that offers a sense of purpose.
  • In another survey by Qualtrics, 56% of U.S. employees said they wouldn't even consider a job at a company whose values didn't align with theirs.
  • In a Gartner study of over 30,000 employees across the globe, 87% of respondents said companies should take a public position on social issues relevant to their business.

Your company’s core values and the mission-aligned causes it supports are foundational aspects of your workplace culture. Beyond listing values on your website, it is essential to put your values into action in clear, visible, and concrete ways. 

Your company’s values and causes are unique.

Many factors go into selecting the values and causes that your company supports. Often, businesses choose things that relate to their industry or benefit the community within which they operate.

Here are some inspiring examples of brands you likely know and the causes they have prioritized:

Patagonia: Protecting the Planet

Recently, Patagonia's CEO transferred 100% of the company's voting stock to the Patagonia Purpose Trust, effectively making Earth its only shareholder. But even before that, the company’s commitment to sustainability was embedded into the culture in many ways. Patagonia uses earth-friendly materials in its outdoor clothing and gear and donates 1% of sales annually to benefit environmentally-friendly causes.

Airbnb: Championing Belonging

A core aspect of the company's mission is to create a world where people can belong anywhere, so it makes perfect sense that they launched the #weaccept campaign. As part of this campaign, Airbnb committed to providing short-term housing for 100,000 displaced people and donated $4 million to the International Rescue Committee.

Panera Bread: Fighting Hunger

The bakery-café has had a longstanding commitment to hunger relief efforts. They have donated over $100 M worth of retail goods each year to feed people in need through programs like their Day-End Dough-Nation. Though now closed, they operated a Panera Cares line of restaurants using a pay-what-you-can model. Panera also partnered with World Central Kitchen, offering meals, financial support, and kitchen space to combat food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How to get your employees involved and show what your company stands for.

Once you are clear about your organization’s causes and values, it is essential to go beyond “talking the talk” and find ways to “walk the walk."

Here are four ways to make an ideal concrete for your team and activate your purpose.

Embed your values in how you do business.

It may seem obvious, but incorporating your values into the way you do business is a critical first step. Reflect on everything from the materials you use, the vendors you involve, and the sales process you follow. There are likely several opportunities to make small but meaningful adjustments based on your values. Once you've made these, highlight them to your team so that they see and understand each choice.

Participate in an event.

As a company, you can organize an event or participate in a public event, like a fundraising walk. Events are an active and fun way to involve many employees and their families! They also offer an opportunity for some positive press.

Send a gift.

A gift is a great way to celebrate a cause-related holiday or to encourage your team’s participation around a particular value. For instance, if you are a company committed to sustainability, you might celebrate with an Earth Day gift that offers employees sustainably made items to "green their routine." If you are a business that has gender equality as a value, you might celebrate by sending a gift box for International Women’s Day. Or if you hold employee wellbeing as a central value, gifts to celebrate employee personal milestones or support stress-relief might be the perfect choice.

Here’s the Earth Day box we recently launched for PlumTree clients to share with their team members:


We also love the item of selecting values-driven items for an onboarding gift box that introduce company values right from the start! 

Make a charitable contribution.

Corporate giving signals to your team that you care about a social cause. Consider which giving model makes the most sense for your organization based on your size, structure, and budget.

You could select a nonprofit that shares your passion for a cause and donate some of your annual profits. Or, you could invite your employees to help determine a charitable organization each quarter to engage them more deeply. Putting your profits behind a cause will inspire employees and consumers alike! 

If you need help creating a gift box that demonstrates your cause commitment and empowers your employees to be a part of it, PlumTree can help.

Get started today.


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