Living your values and beliefs is what drives your company culture and promotes employee engagement.
When you uphold your company values and beliefs, you give employees a place where they can align their personal and professional values. You’ll attract, and retain, the right people for your organization.
Your company culture is critical to their happiness, and essential to your success.
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Why Culture is So Important
Imagine that you are a gifted athlete, capable of playing any professional sport and you decide upon baseball.
By making this choice, you enter into a culture where you believe you’ll be happy. This is what attracted you to baseball, which is why you chose it over other sports.
Just like our athlete, you could work in different industries, and when you made your decision, you signed on with your company because you thought it was a good fit. You mutually agreed to work together.
If values alignment was a prerequisite for employment:
- Would you be working where you are right now?
- Would your employer hire you again today?
Culture – the set of values and beliefs that define a community; inherited from predecessors, lived today, and passed on to those who will follow
Aligning Values and Beliefs
To set the stage, let’s use these definitions for our discussion:
Beliefs – the things you hold to be true
Values — principles or beliefs that you consider worthwhile; those that should guide your actions
Upon completing four years of college and ROTC, I entered the Army as an officer. After I had a particularly grueling week at the Infantry Basic Course, I was trying to relax, reading Dale Carnegie’s, How to Win Friends and Influence People. When, my roommate walked in, he questioned whether this book was what the Army expected of us in our future roles as leaders.
If he was correct, I seriously wondered whether I made the right career choice.
Like you, I had some challenges that led to further doubt. Within three months of my first assignment, I had an important decision to make. Either uphold an important safety policy and hold a soldier accountable on this particular Saturday morning, or communicate to my unit that my personal and professional values were not consistent with the Army culture.
In my example, I was fortunate to be in an incredibly supportive environment. The Army was the right place for me, my personal and professional values were aligned, and as a consequence, I committed to the culture for a career.
Three different career professionals confirmed the values defined our culture, and supported my decision. Then, I knew that I had made the right career decision.
I share the details of this story in my May 2016 book, Unleash Your Values: How to Lead and Succeed in Business Today… A Helicopter Pilot’s Spin on Developing the Leader in You, available by the end of this month.
Your organization decides its values; the membership creates the culture
If your personal and professional values are aligned, then you are the exception in today’s workforce, one of the engaged employees who is actively contributing to the good of your organization.
When it comes to your career decisions, I’m sure that your instincts were correct. You did your research and decided upon a company, its mission, and its purpose, which is what brought you to where you are today.
Sometimes, however, things don’t unfold as you had hoped.
Quite often, it is because employees are not able to live their personal values and beliefs, which leads to decreased employee engagement.
Employee Engagement – when business values the employee and the employee values the business.
When you establish an environment that matches why employees signed on to your company, you create a culture that promotes engagement and actively contributes to your organization’s success.
Managers can reinforce their culture by helping team members align their personal and professional values through these 5 Employee Engagement Ideas.