Values very often form the bedrock of a business and without these important guidelines, it can be difficult to establish a recognisable and trusted brand and unite and motivate employees. When leaders are seen to embody the company values, they are much more likely to stick with others in the team whilst also providing a framework for expected behaviours. Even though these benefits are widely recognised, sometimes when a challenge arises, these values are lost in favour of a quick solution and damage limitation but this is often to the detriment of the business, brand and staff motivation as a whole. This article will discuss the importance of values with business and how they serve as effective motivators for employees.
Values attract aligned employees
When candidates are seeking a new role, it is much more likely they will apply to an organisation that clearly aligns with their own personal values. When we spend so much of our time in the workplace, people want to feel as if they are contributing to something bigger and something they ultimately believe in – much easier to get out of bed in the morning! If an employee is personally attracted to the values of the business they work for, they are likely to be much more motivated to go the extra mile in the workplace and leaders will feel more comfortable to be represented by them in client meetings as they know the employee’s values align with their ultimate goals.
This further heightens the importance of clearly displaying the company values internally and externally. If a business prides itself on their inclusivity policies, they should make sure they also shout about these externally via their website and social media channels so they will attract employees who also share these principles as it makes it much more likely they will be embedded for the future.
Whilst this is true it should not be completely taken as a given. Leaders should be actively engaging employees and encouraging them to get involved and buy into the values. This could be through team days, meetings or lunches or other avenues that generates a feeling of belonging. This should cut across all business avenues from corporate social responsibility to dealing with customers and suppliers.
Live the values
However, it is not enough to simply shout about these values without the action to back them up. It is not enough to only share rhetoric, companies need to share actual examples of how they are living their values; for example, businesses who claim to be employee-centric should share success stories and examples of how they are celebrating the greatness of their staff. If a business professes to hold a certain quality as a value but does not act in line with this, employees will actually begin to feel demotivated and will not trust or be loyal to their leaders. Similarly, these values should always be tied into performance reviews so they are not just another piece of corporate wallpaper but a fundamental part of the way the company is run.
Values unite the business and teams
Once a business has attracted employees with similar values to their organisation, these values can serve as a great motivator to encourage employees to achieve their best work and push forward in their careers. To harness the power of these values as a motivator, spend time demonstrating how each individual task feeds into the ultimate business goals to help employees know the key role they play in driving the business forward.
When creating teams, values are a great way to ensure these are effective. If the teams created share similar interests they are much more likely to gel and work together effectively as they have a common goal. This is not to say the team will always be unanimous over how this can be achieved, but there will be less debate over the ultimate destination so the team is able to focus on working out how to get there.
Values show what is expected
In addition, values are important to workplace motivation as they clearly display exactly what is expected of each employee. From the overall business values, a set of practical workplace expectations can be derived to guide employees on what is acceptable within the workplace and hold them to account. As employees who most naturally align will be the most likely to join an organisation they may already be acting within these however they serve as an easy reference point for new employees throughout the onboarding process and during any procedures if any exhibited behaviours are deemed to be unacceptable. When everyone knows exactly where they stand, everyone is able to feel comfortable and motivated.
If someone’s behaviour is outside the company values, this can have an incredibly detrimental effect upon the motivation and happiness of others around them so it is important that any instances of behaviour outside of these are dealt with accordingly to safeguard the wellbeing of others. Businesses need to ensure they are enforcing these values across teams so they can have maximum impact.
Leaders in particular should be living the values. Employees will look up for guidance on best practice and this should be found within the senior leadership team. If leaders are not acting with these they too should be held to account.
Values can only serve as effective motivators if they are harnessed fully. Businesses not only need to ensure they clearly display their values but they also need to show how they are acting within these as this will draw in other employees with similar interests. They can also help to set expected workplace behaviours and create united teams.
About the author
Sarah Jones is an accredited coach, trainer and speaker specialising in career coaching, leadership, talent development and team productivity. After a successful career in PR, Sarah founded her coaching business, Sarah-J Coaching to help people find purpose, meaning and direction in their lives and careers and support organisations with talent development and executive leadership coaching. Sarah is an NLP practitioner and holds diplomas from the Coaching Academy, accredited with the International Coach Federation, and Institute of Leadership and Management — the Personal Performance Coaching Diploma, and a Corporate and Executive Diploma (both Merit). More information can be found here: https://www.sarah-j.com/