The tensions between individual and organizational values have been clearly identified in management research. A close alignment between individuals’ values and those of their organizations leads to many positive outcomes, including a reduction in staff turnover.
To further explore the likely outcome of allowing employees the space to reflect on and connect with their personal values in the workplace, Insead collaborated on a study with a large services company in the Middle East, using randomized control trial methodology. Individuals were given the opportunity to affirm their own core personal values before the study explored whether employee engagement changed as a result.
- Employees who felt their values were already aligned with the organization before the values affirmation felt even closer to the firm afterwards.
- Those who didn’t feel very close to the firm before the affirmation felt even further apart.
When you place your own values front and center, there is an opportunity to attract candidates with ‘like-minded’ individual values – but you must ensure corporate messaging and recruitment efforts are aligned.
Problems will arise when workers’ individual values and those of their organization are misaligned. When organizations emphasize their own values and encourage people to fully inhabit their own values, alignment will lead to a more authentic workforce.
Do you have a robust set of 3-5 values and associated behaviors guiding your organization? Are these values actively ‘in use’ in things like hiring decisions, promotions, rewards and recognition?