In any business, there is a common goal that every employee—from the C-suite to the frontline—is working towards. The only way for a company as a whole to be successful is to achieve value alignment across everyone in the organization.
According to a recent Glassdoor survey, values and culture top the list of employee satisfaction factors. So increasing your employees’ awareness of value alignment will give them a deeper understanding of the company’s purpose and their guiding principles. This connection inevitably leads to increased engagement.
Here are the best three ways to use value alignment to increase employee engagement and achieve your business goals.
1. Start at the Top With Company Value Alignment
Leaders should always ask themselves “what are the values of my organization?” They should have a firm grasp of those core values. If leaders of the company don’t appear to believe and exhibit company values, employees won’t either. Leaders need to authentically embody the values they want in their organization and their team.
Company values should be more than a few sentences on a website. Leaders should provide an example of what the company represents. If serving the community is an important value to the company, executives should organize company community service events with the rest of the employees.
The four steps in top-down value alignment include:
- Know your values
- Model those values
- Communicate your values
- Celebrate those employees who live the company’s core values
When employees understand their company’s value set, they have a clearer path of how to perform their job. They become better problem solvers, more autonomous, and more productive. In short, they become an empowered, engaged workforce.
Pro tip: Make sure your managers are aligned with your core values. They’ll directly impact value alignment with their employees.
2. Align Employee Engagement to Values Through Recognition
One of the biggest reasons employees feel disconnected from their employers is not understanding the part they play in a company’s mission. Workers often want to know, “what value do I bring to the company?” It’s your job to let them know.
One of the best ways to ensure the alignment of personal and organizational values is to recognize employees who exemplify those company values.
Recognition can come in many forms. Some ideas include:
- Mentions: Employees who appreciate and display company values should be publicly recognized in company-wide communication. You can do this through an employee app like Beekeeper, in a company newsletter, in an email, or give them public praise during a staff meeting.
- Rewards: Consider giving small bonuses. The bonus doesn’t always have to be monetary. It could be a bonus vacation day or a special parking spot.
- Promotions: Look at exemplary employees as the future leaders of your business. It’s always best for organizations to hire and promote from within. Employees who embrace and model values have the tools to support your mission and grow in your organization.
Recognizing those stellar employees who demonstrate company values will inspire others to embrace those values, too.
3. Evaluate, Redefine, and Adapt Values on a Regular Basis
It may sound counterintuitive, but if company values seem too far from team values, it might be time to redefine them. As a leader, you need to be agile and adaptable. That means routinely evaluating your company’s values to ensure they are relevant to your organization and your objectives. It’s also an effective way to improve company culture.
One company took value alignment and assessment one step further. Aetna, the healthcare company, decided to solicit internal feedback directly from employees in order to guide the updates they made to the company values. By bringing employees into the process, they became more invested in the company’s values and their work. Employees were able to feel truly engaged and understand how the company values impact them.
It’s important for employees to buy into company values. According to Gallup, only 27% of employees feel strongly about the values of their employer. Sourcing valuable feedback from your employees will:
- Increase feelings of inclusion
- Create a more well-rounded value set from a diverse group of people
- Build employee engagement by creating a sense of ownership over their culture
While there are many ways of increasing employee engagement, striving to align company values with team values may very well be one of the most effective methods.