Alike, Yet Different: New Study Compares Work Values of Top vs. Poor Performers

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A new study by and indicates that top-performing employees and poor performers share many of the same values. But for the former group, the value of hard work, empathy, and altruism hold much more meaning.

The stronger an employee’s values, the higher the likelihood that he or she will act in accordance with them.

Top-performing and poor-performing employees share the same values – but only one group cares more about upholding those values.

A person who forsakes their values too easily isn’t likely to adopt your company’s values either, let alone follow them.

Abraham Lincoln believed that “you can tell the greatness of a man by what makes him angry.” By extension, you can also learn much about a person based on what they value. Someone who prioritizes money above all else, for example, may find that their relationships fall by the wayside. Those who value power may find themselves spending most of their time obsessing about keeping that power.

Research from and also indicates that what an employee values could have a significant impact on how he or she performs.

Analyzing data from 1088 people who took their Values Profile, researchers at PsychTests focused their analysis on two seemingly distinct groups: Top performers and poor performers. Interestingly, while the two groups shared 9 of their top 10 values, the top-performing group scored significantly higher, indicating that they place a much higher priority on living by those values, rather than simply paying lip service.

The top 10 values are as follows:


Score for top performers: 81
Score for poor performers: 66

Those who value hard work put a great deal of effort into everything they do, and may often go above and beyond the call of duty. They don’t shy away from demanding tasks or workloads.


Score for top performers: 80
Score for poor performers: 68

Employees who value empathy recognize the importance of showing compassion to those in need, and adopting a cooperative attitude. They strive to be open to and to understand other people’s perspective.


Score for top performers: 78
Score for poor performers: 63

Those who value acceptance enjoy being a part of a team. They like the idea of working with others toward a common cause.


Score for top performers: 78
Score for poor performers: 69

Employees with this value treasure their relationships, and derive a great deal of joy from being surrounded by those they care about. They work hard to maintain and improve their relationships with others.


Score for top performers: 78
Score for poor performers: 66

Employees who value altruism show both a concern for the needs and lives of others and a desire to extend their assistance. They consider it essential to create an atmosphere (and a world) that is based on mutual respect, harmony, and giving rather than receiving.


Score for top performers: 77
Score for poor performers: 62

Individuals who value stability thrive on structure and planning ahead. They seek job stability and financial security, and are unlikely to take reckless risks with their money or their future.


Score for top performers: 76
Score for poor performers: 62

Employees with this value consider it essential to live their life according to a set of principles. They follow their conscience, even if they find themselves in situations where they could easily get away with a dishonest act.


Score for top performers: 75
Score for poor performers: 64

Those who are an advocate for innovation believe it is important for the world to continue to progress and advance new theories, ideas, and inventions. They don’t necessarily believe in change for the sake of change, but recognize that sticking to the status quo isn’t always prudent or efficient.


Score for top performers: 74
Score for poor performers: 62

Employees with this value are either highly involved in their community or seek out jobs/companies where they can give back in some way. Individuals with community values may be more likely to speak out against injustice and/or be the first to come to the aid of victims of a tragedy.

The final value is where top performers and poor performers differed. While the former group placed a great deal of value on their career (advancing in their company or field; accomplishing something they can be proud of) the latter group considered an “appreciation of beauty” more important.

Although top performers and poor performers have similar values, top-performing employees seem to care about them more. So how does that translate into performance?

“The more you value something, the greater the lengths you will go to protect that value,” explains Dr. Jerabek, president of PsychTests, the parent company of Queendom. “The fact that top performers score higher on their values indicates three things: 1) They are more likely to make decisions based on their values, 2) they are more likely to act in accordance with their values, and 3) they are more likely to stand by their values. That means that the person who values stability will work hard to keep their job, and to earn their place in a company. The person who values ethics and morals will respect rules. The person who recognizes the value of hard work will put in a great deal of effort to get a job done well. This is why it’s important to hire someone who not only has values that are compatible with those of the organization, but who is also willing to adhere to them. A person who forsakes their values too easily isn’t likely to adopt your company’s values either, let alone follow them. You want someone who stands by their convictions, even under pressure.”

What do you value? Go to

Professional users of this test can see a sample of the Values Profile report:
VaPRO – R4 (Value Profile – 4th Revision)

Request a free demo of this test and any other assessments from ARCH Profile’s extensive battery:

To learn more about psychological testing, download this free eBook: Spotting Diamonds in the Rough. (

About is a subsidiary of PsychTests AIM Inc. is a site that creates an interactive venue for self-exploration with a healthy dose of fun. The site offers a full range of professional-quality, scientifically validated psychological assessments that empower people to grow and reach their real potential through insightful feedback and detailed, custom-tailored analysis.

About PsychTests AIM Inc.
PsychTests AIM Inc. originally appeared on the internet scene in 1996. Since its inception, it has become a pre-eminent provider of psychological assessment products and services to human resource personnel, therapists, academics, researchers and a host of other professionals around the world. PsychTests AIM Inc. staff is comprised of a dedicated team of psychologists, test developers, researchers, statisticians, writers, and artificial intelligence experts (see The company’s research division, Plumeus Inc., is supported in part by Research and Development Tax Credit awarded by Industry Canada.

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Ilona Jerabek
PsychTests AIM Inc.
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