How to Craft a Values-Aligned Benefit Proposition

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How to Craft a Values-Aligned Benefit Proposition

When starting the daunting prowl for a new job opportunity, what’s a candidate’s first toggle on an organization’s website? Most likely About, which (hopefully) leads to values. Next up? Benefits. While scanning the offerings, in today’s purpose-driven corporate world one can only hope to see a straight arrow from company values to benefits, revealing harmony between the two.


As one of the pioneering values-based cultures once highlighted, “It actually doesn’t matter what your values are, what matters is that you have them and that you align the organization around them. And the power actually comes from the alignment, not from the actual values.” –Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO

Mr. Zappos has a fair point. Applied to benefits, if your offering doesn’t gel with your company’s culture and values, it’s lacking a powerful alignment component.

This alignment may be more important than you’d expect, and successfully putting it into practice is an even greater challenge. A 2017 SHRM report found that 56% of employees said benefits are an important factor for overall job satisfaction. However, the same report found that only 31% of employees felt satisfied with their current benefits. Organizations need to ensure their benefit offerings are not only values-aligned, but authentic in their implementation to avoid a benefits branding scheme that is solely purposed for external accolade.


Values-aligned benefits that energize Stok’s innovation trajectory have been embedded in our culture since day one. We offer 40 hours of paid volunteer and learning and development time for community service and professional advancement, the world’s first fossil-free, gun-free 401(k) to support our long-term commitment to a regenerative future, and flexible schedules and time off to feed autonomy and work-life integration.

According to Stok’s most recent Engagement Survey, 85 percent of our team members feel our benefits meet their and/or their family’s needs. We are extremely proud of this feedback, but our ethos pushes us to constantly iterate what’s next on the benefit horizon.

Speaking of horizons… you know that feeling when you’re on top of a mountain with no cell service, blissfully basking in the views (and sweat) of your hiking achievement? With a collection of avid outdoors folk at Stok, we relish in moments that lead us into the wild, where our deep appreciation for nature and how it connects to not only the organization we choose to be a part of, but our personal values of exploring and protecting the wonders of our Earth, is refueled.

To encourage this spirit, Stok decided to add a new values-aligned benefit to our 2020 offering: an annual America the Beautiful pass by the National Park Service.

This is about more than new perks; this is about parks! Over 2,000 of them, in fact. From Joshua Tree, to Rocky Mountain, to Alcatraz, our national parks, wildlife refuges, and forests represent unique natural and cultural sites. We feel this new benefit encompasses our values as a company and hope our team members use it to be better stewards of this planet while getting inspired by nature’s endless genius.


Stok has been at this for a while, but we recently held our first annual Innovation Tournament, stirring up creative juices from each team member across all practice areas of our organization. We were founded to develop radically better buildings, which embeds innovative thinking into every fiber of our work. Internally, we want our culture to reflect the same standard of innovation that we provide to our clients.

The idea for the America the Beautiful pass was borne out of this Innovation Tournament. We’re not saying you need to launch an innovation lab to align your benefits with your values, but simply acknowledging that benefits are an area for innovation is a great place to start. A brainstorm session that involves team members beyond your dedicated People Operations roles can get the juices flowing on a smaller scale.


As the Talent Delusion puts it, “When people pick jobs that fulfill basic psychological needs, motives, and values, they immerse themselves more in their work, experience higher levels of job satisfaction, and their productivity rises.”

Benefits can and should play a role in fulfilling needs, motives, and values of your team when done in a meaningful way. As companies continue to bake their core values into every aspect of their services and operations, don’t let perks and benefits hide in the shadows. Instead, let your values seep (or dare we say perk-olate?) into how your organization values its employees. Trust us, the impact will shine as bright as the sunrises caught across our majestic lands.

You can view Stok’s full benefit offerings on our Careers page.