More and more companies are coming to appreciate the advantage of defining company values, as each tries to describe its company culture to potential employees, future clients, or even disillusioned colleagues. How important are these statements of organisational values, and how can these be used to facilitate a real environment for productivity and satisfaction? A great deal of research (Posner and Schmidt, 1993) indicates that clearly defined values do play an important role in promoting productive behaviour and inhibiting unethical practices. Specifically, it is crucial for managers to promote individual morals and principles, and to allow this to define the company’s values.
Instead of using ornate language and slapping it onto a company website in an attempt to define organisational values, managers should let this come from the bottom up. While company beliefs do matter, research by Suar and Khuntia (2010) shows that personal values are more influential on the workplace than the congruence of private and organisational morals. In other words, the success of your company will be determined by each of your coworkers’ personal values and how you bring these together. Here are some tips for identifying your collective priorities and goals as personal entities, and as a complete organisation.
1. Listen to your people.
Your company is made up entirely by the people who work for it. The most powerful force in creating a positive company culture will come from the attitudes and goals that your employees have. When hiring, look for people with personal convictions that you want displayed in your firm. Instead of trying to form your company’s principles based off arbitrary ideas, build it up with people who can contribute to and share your ambitions. With your current employees, find out what they hold as important, and shape these collective values into your company’s culture. Not only will this make your employees feel better about their impact, but it will align personal and organisational values, enabling further engagement and productivity.
2. Exhibit the values that you find important.
Act upon these collective values, and show your employees, future applicants, and clients your commitment to a good company culture. Make sure that you project your values in everything you do. There’s no doubt why companies that listen and react to employees’ thoughts tend to be more successful. By consistently checking in on how people feel about their company and management, recognition, development, relationships, and well-being, you can understand what action to take to ensure your values are coming across. Portray your personal and organisational values by setting an example for your co-workers. Show that you care.
3. Allow these principles to shape your brand.
Having a good company culture won’t just make you and your employees feel better, it will be transparent to anyone that takes interest in your company that you have strong and unified values. This is attractive to everyone: investors, potential applicants, or future clients. Let your culture be a part of your image, and people will appreciate the effort you put in to improve the company for everyone.
By truly hearing everyone out, you will be able to base your organisation’s values off the people who make it up. A great way to do this is by gauging sentiments through employee feedback surveys. Using this tool will help align your personal and organisational values to increase productivity, satisfaction, and engagement of your employees.
Author: Jackie Spang