4 Powerful Company Values For The Modern Workplace

Gallup’s 2022 Exceptional Workplace Award winners, selected for having exceptionally high employee engagement levels, have a few things in common. A notable one is that they use their organizational culture and values to guide business decisions. “Leaders at these exceptional workplaces relied on their culture and organizational values when making decisions that affected their people. Employees, in turn, saw the organization’s values lived out through decisions, which builds trust in leadership,” according to Gallup. 

Why company values matter 

In a business landscape where engagement is on the decline and companies are fighting to attract and retain talent, that trust matters a whole lot. “Company values are more than just words thrown on the wall for your employees to see. They even transcend the general direction and mission of the company. Why? Because research has shown that value alignment between employees and employers not only increases job satisfaction but is also a protective factor against burnout,” says workplace well-being coach and consultant Kelsea Warren

According to her, workplace values have drastically shifted in the last few years, especially for younger generations. “Employees who feel there isn’t congruence between the values of the company and their own workplace values will typically begin to feel mental exhaustion, leading toward cynicism and resentment over time.” 

Company values that you can clearly articulate and live through your actions on a daily basis are therefore powerful for improving employee retention and productivity. Unsure where to start as a leader? Here are four company values you’ll want to embrace, as well as tips to ensure that you walk your talk. 

Company values for the modern workplace 

Howard Prager, an author, speaker, executive coach and leadership consultant with over 40 years of experience, says that the four values below are meaningful building blocks for positive workplace cultures

1. Ethics and integrity 

“There’s been too much in the news of unethical executives and leaders. Living and leading with integrity demonstrates that you seek an honest, trusting relationship with your employees, customers, and vendors,” he says. 

In action, integrity is about acting with fairness and moral principles in mind. It might look like avoiding layoffs – or letting a senior leader go because of bad conduct despite good performance results. 

2. Respect 

In a similar vein, respect is a value that cannot be ignored. It breeds connection. It encourages diversity. It fuels commitment. 

“It doesn’t take much to show respect to your workforce, and when you do the payback is engagement, involvement, and commitment. Ensure that respect is sincere and given to all your workforce regardless of race, gender, faith, or nationality,” adds Prager. 

This may sound obvious, but more than a quarter of Americans have experienced a microaggression at work and 36% have witnessed one, according to SurveyMonkey, so there’s room for growth on the respect front. 

3. Innovation

Innovation is key to the growth of any organization, according to Prager: “Companies where ideas are welcome to encourage continuous learning and allow for mistakes along the way.” Many organizations like to think that they embody the value of innovation, but without the psychological safety that allows people to share ideas, try things and fail forward, you can’t actually innovate. 

4. Gratitude 

Gratitude is an underrated company value to embrace in the modern workplace. As Prager puts it, “there is never enough appreciation in the workplace.” Make sure appreciation flows freely in your workplace culture and you’ll be amazed at the results. People will show up with a smile on their faces to tackle challenges. They’ll lift each other up. They’ll want to work for your company and stay. 

Tips to ensure congruent company values 

Regardless of the specific company values that you embrace, congruence between what you say you value and what you do is critical. You can even dig into company values in an employee engagement survey to get honest feedback. 

“In order for company values to become a resource, they need to be witnessed by employees in everyday actions and behaviors of leadership, not just words on the wall or in the handbook,” according to Warren. “While most companies already have an established set of values, my best tip is to run through these values and conduct an audit of each to see if and how it is being operationalized in the business.” 

For example, if employee well-being is one of your values, you may want to audit your employee experience, from hiring processes to benefits and performance evaluations. You’ll also want to assess the behaviors of leaders and get honest about your processes. Do they actually show behaviors that prioritize employee well-being? Are there changes to make that would improve employee well-being? 

Finally, being unsure of your values and whether you truly embody them is a telltale sign that you need to work on articulating them. “If you are unsure, there is a good chance your employees are also unsure of what the company values are, or how they are expected to embody them,” adds Warren. 

Get clear on your core values, hire consulting help if you need to, and make sure that your business actually reflects them in practice. It’s worth the extra effort. 

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Source: Blog – Hive

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