How do values impact on employee commitment?

“To be mature you have to realize what you value most. It is extraordinary to discover that comparatively few people reach this level of maturity. They seem never to have paused to consider what has value for them. They spend great effort and sometimes make great sacrifices for values that, fundamentally, meet no real needs of their own. Perhaps they have imbibed the values of their particular profession or job, of their community or their neighbors, of their parents or family. Not to arrive at a clear understanding of one’s own values is a tragic waste. You have missed the whole point of what life is for.”  – Eleanor Roosevelt.

Do you agree with this statement of Eleanor Roosevelt’s? I do. Working with leaders and business owners, I see many struggling to engage their teams and staff to a level that impacts positively on  performance and commitment. Some key questions to consider are:

  • What are the values of your organization?
  • How are they being demonstrated each day by YOU the leader?  What do you do each day to live those values?
  • How do you use the values to support difficult decision making?
  • Do your teams and staff know what the organization’s values really mean? ( Or are they just in a very smart looking plaque on the wall along with your vision and mission?)
  • Do you know if your people know their own values – THIS is key to having the power of values as the bridge to organizational success and happier people.
  • What do you care about? What do YOU value and believe in?

I was lucky enough to be on a webinar recently that  Jim Kouzes was presenting. Part of what he presented about leaders really engaging people was around Values.

Values – those things that you stand for; the promises you make to the market and to your staff; the non negotiables; the positive platform upon which your culture is built.

Have a look at the quadrant below.

We work to fulfill our own aspirations. When leaders are clear about their own philosophy there is clear connection to employee engagement.

When people know what they care about they are more committed than if they only knew company’s but not their own.

values_and_employeesIn Jim Kouzes extensive research and experience in leadership development this is a key finding with regards to staff and values. You can see, the highest level of employee commitment is when people have clarity not only about the organizations values but also about their own.

From: James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, The Leadership Challenge: How To Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations, 5th edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2012, p. 56.

Help your people clarify and understand the importance of their own values, then help them see where the alignment is between theirs and the organizations. It might be that some people see there is no alignment and exit, and more likely the outcome will be that your  people really understand how they fit in and how they can, and want, to engage more fully and authentically.

If you need some help in clarifying, implementing and institutionalizing your organizational values I can help. Just email me  or go to the contact page. You can also go here to read more about personal Values and download a  free tool to start on clarifying your own personal values.

Please leave a comment about your experience using Values as a tool for employee engagement or culture change, or any kind of change you have led.

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