Values at Work: Why They are Important and How to Create Alignment

authenticity Jun 03, 2024

Think about what gets you out of bed and excited to go to work. If you are lucky enough to feel energized about your job, chances are your career aligns with your values.

I’m not referring to the generic and mostly ambiguous statements you add to your resumes or post on your office walls. I mean those core beliefs that shape how you act and make decisions. When your career reflects what you truly care about most, you will experience work as meaningful. You will likely be committed and engaged.

Now, imagine your organization’s mission and values. I’m talking about the real-deal values shown by how leaders behave, their decisions, and the stories people share. The game-changer is when you work in an organization with values that align with yours.

How do you feel when your values match the company's mission and actions? You are probably loyal and committed. Most likely, you believe that your work matters.

When your values sync up with the organization’s, you experience a work environment where everyone pursues the same big-picture goals. In other words, values alignment creates a value-based, engaging culture.

And guess what? Most other people feel the same. They want to find a connection between what they care about most and what their organizations stand for.

An organization's success depends hugely on committed people who care about and contribute to it. So, if you’re in a leadership role, you have a golden opportunity and responsibility to foster this values-aligned culture. Even if you’re not at the top, you can still play a pivotal role in creating a value-driven, values-aligned team. 

Creating a Culture of  Value Alignment

But here's the catch: you can't just force a culture. It grows organically from everyone in the organization. It's like a plant that needs the right conditions to thrive. Your job is to create the right environment for a values-based culture to blossom. And the best way to do that? Co-create a values-based vision. Co-creation is where everyone has a hand in defining and living what they care about and believe the organization should stand for and move toward.

Get Everyone Involved

Get everyone involved in the process to ensure values align across the organization. Invite employees at all levels to share what they think the core values should be or, at the very least, what the values imply for decision-making and how people must treat each other.

When everyone has a say, the values will resonate more deeply, making everyone feel invested and committed.

Lead by Example

Leaders set the tone. When they embody the company’s values daily, they inspire everyone else to follow suit. Show transparency in your decision-making, act with integrity, and consistently highlight the importance of these values through your actions. Leaders create a ripple effect throughout the organization when employees see them living their values.

Keep the Conversation Going

Create a space where open dialogue about values is the norm. Regular check-ins, feedback sessions, and open forums allow employees to voice their thoughts and concerns. This ongoing communication ensures the organization stays in tune with its workforce's evolving needs and values, fostering a supportive and dynamic environment.

Make Values Part of Everyday Life

To keep values front and center, weave them into daily practices. Include them in performance reviews, recognize and reward behaviors that reflect core values, and make them a crucial part of new hire onboarding. When values are a visible and integral part of the workday, they become more than words—they turn into actions.

Build a Strong Community

Fostering a sense of community is crucial for a values-based culture. Encourage team-building activities, create opportunities for cross-departmental collaboration, and celebrate successes together. When employees feel connected to each other and the organization, they’re more likely to embrace and live out shared values.

Wrapping Up

Aligning employee values with the organization's purpose is a game-changer for creating a culture of well-being. By involving everyone in shaping values, leading by example, keeping the conversation going, embedding values in everyday practices, and building a solid community, you can build a motivated, engaged team in your workplace.




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