Despite conflicting opinions, employee engagement doesn’t only mean employee happiness. Employee engagement is also the connectedness an employee feels to their job, the understanding of their personal contribution to the process, and the motivation they feel for growth within the company. It all starts with defining your mission, vision and values. For starters, ensure that the “who, what, why” trifecta of your mission statement is answered, your vision statement provides motivation for the future, and your values define your company’s organizational culture and beliefs. Of the three, your company’s values are most connected to employee engagement by being anchored in your company’s culture. This will have a huge effect on productivity and make the most of your mission, vision, and values.
"Your Mission creates FOCUS. Your Vision provides DIRECTION. Your Values define BEHAVIOUR.” ¹
Breaking the Mold with Company Values
Values such as integrity, teamwork, and customer service encompass the top three most common Fortune 100 company values. Nonetheless, they are exactly that, common. These values won’t set your company apart from competitors, nor will they attract and retain top employees. Core company values need to be implemented into everything, especially all processes involving employees. From start to finish, your company values should be the base of every company decision. This can be particularly difficult because strong values are tough and often controversial, but in the end, they will keep the company unified. When implemented properly, strong values will actually cause pain before they do good, as strange as that sounds. This means that some employees will feel cast out or constrained by behavioral boundaries, in fact narrowing the operational freedom of your business. On the bright side, when an employee’s values do align with the company core values, higher employee engagement and productivity will thrive.
Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” answer for this, as every person has a different perspective on values. Creating clear definitions for your company values, whether they’re core values, aspirational values, flexible values, or accidental values, will help clarify the meaning of every term your company stands for. This will avoid confusion and only attract the warrior employees who strongly believe in your company. It’s important to remember that values aren’t about people-pleasing. Rather, they place core beliefs at the forefront of your company. Just as you wouldn’t implement a survey for an overall consensus on financial or strategic issues for your company, the same concept applies to values for them to succeed.
Give Them Culture and Performance Will Follow
A study from 2015 involving automobile sales challenged the question, "Which comes first, organizational culture or performance?" The results strongly proved that if an engaged culture is implemented, more consistent and adaptable performance will result. Categories such as sales and customer satisfaction increased, while absenteeism and employee turnover substantially decreased.
Company culture defines a social order that grounds behavior and clarifies what is accepted or rejected amongst a group of people. Ultimately, it culminates in a shared purpose that energizes a company to help it grow. Depending on your company values, your culture will likely thrive under one of the following eight shared company culture categories:
A caring-based culture focuses on helping and supporting one another. Teamwork is highly emphasized, alongside loyalty and positivity.
An authority-based culture emphasizes competition, drive, and personal advantage. Confidence and constructive criticism are highly encouraged.
A purpose-based culture comes together by focusing on global sustainability. They are striving for a greater cause and an ideal world.
A results-based culture is goal-oriented and success driven. They strive for accomplishment and winning to get ahead.
Creativity, curiosity, and cultivation of new ideas are highly characterized in a learning-based culture. Exploration of new knowledge is made into adventure and open-mindedness is embraced.
Happiness, fun, and excitement are emphasized in an enjoyment-based culture. A sense of humor is welcomed and stimulation is found in play.
An order-based culture thrives on punctuality, structure, and rules. Employees are cooperative and looking to conform.
Planning ahead is a big value for a safety-based culture. Risk-taking is set to a minimum, and thorough preparedness and caution are taken in any business strategies.
A recent Harvard Business Review study showed that the success resulting from a company culture is again not a magic formula. Factors such as region, industry, strategy, leadership, and organizational design all play a part in the calculation of success due to company culture. Therefore, it’s not possible to say that what works for one company will necessarily work for the next, but clarifying which category of company culture your core values align with will help you to make the most of your values. Clear company cultures help employees to feel involved, connected, and supported. Guess what that sounds like? Employee engagement. In fact, it’s a direct domino outcome of clearly defining your company mission, vision, and values.
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