How to align employees to organization core values

Realign employees with organization core values - Pinnacle People Solutions

Some time back, I came across an instance where the vision, mission and core values of the well known company were crafted by their website developers. The management was in a hurry to have a website and someone advised them that you must have vision, mission and values in your website. So, the responsibility of crafting one was given to the website developers. While we were conducting their HR Audit, we came to know this startling fact when we investigated why their vision, mission and values were completely mismatching their goals and core purpose of existence.

Core Values as well as vision and mission (derived from the core values) are the guiding lights of the organization. It is definitely not the stuff to be out-sourced!

In my previous article, I discussed why you should care about organization core values and how you can define them using introspection and your personal core values among other techniques. You can read the previous article here.

Defining organization core values is a problem half solved. Once business owners are clear about the organization values, they have to consistently align employees with those. 

At this juncture, I must mention work of Jim Collins, a famous writer and authority on visioning and core values articulation. Jim has suggested two strategies for aligning employees with organizational core values.

  1. Identify and realign your misalignment
  2. Create new alignment

1. Identify and realign your misalignment 

One of our clients had stated ‘Ownership in work’ as one of the organizational core values. He wanted this core value to be displayed by all his employees.

However, the ground reality in his organization was much different. All authority and decision-making power was retained by the management. Employees had to take prior approval for almost every decision. In other words, the owner’s wish was completely misaligned with the actual practices in organization.

To align employees with that value (ownership in work), empowering them with authority was necessary. As you are aware, empowerment and ownership go hand in hand. Unless you empower employees, ownership as a core value can’t be sustained. And, this is what we ended up recommending.

I have seen that many business owners struggle with aligning their employees with organization’s core values. One of the ways that works is identifying one value, realigning the misalignment (as we did in the above example) and then ensuring that the new alignment gets stabilized. Patience and discipline is of essence here.

2. Create new alignment 

Many times, creating a new alignment is less work than correcting a misalignment. If you are a small organization on the growth path, you have this choice.

One of the easiest ways is to check for core-value match during recruitment or head-hunting. That ways, the people you end up hiring are naturally aligned to that core values of the organization.

Another way is to involve your employees in core values articulation exercises right from the onset.  Most employees would put serious effort and passion in understanding and adopting something that they are going to eventually mentor others on. I am aware that this way is bit unconventional as most business owners like to do value articulation exercise themselves. But, from experience, this process works if done in the right fashion.

Having explained the importance of organizational core values and how to align your employees to those values, I must say this. The entire process is not easy and there are no short-cuts. To be successful, it would take loads of patience, discipline and a strong belief in value system. There will some pain as some employees (who can’t be aligned with values) will have to be transitioned out. However, your organization would end up having a soul and a value DNA. And, the benefit of that is immeasurable in terms of competitive differentiator and building a strong culture. 

In a nutshell, the twin strategies of identifying  organization’s core values and then aligning employees to those are excellent methods to increase your company’s effectiveness and employee involvement in shaping the future.

Please let me know your thoughts by commenting below.

Note 1: 

The article, How to align employees to organization core values, is written based on my professional experience at Pinnacle and other companies.

Pinnacle specializes in working with the management of family-owned companies to craft & implement HR Strategies to accomplish their business vision & goals.

References & Credits:

  • Jim Collins, Aligning Action and Values
  • Deepak Patil, Don’t just delegate. Empower your employees!
  • Photo: Scotty Burns 

Comments

  • Congratulations for good article.

    The strategies of identifying organization’s core values and then aligning employees to those are excellent methods. This will develop better sense of belonging among the employees.

    Sanjay RautNovember 28, 2013
  • Completely agree with you…
    You have it on tbe spot…

    Chitaranjan GuptaNovember 28, 2013
  • Hello Deepakji,

    Thank you for the email article.

    Regards,

    Moushmi Kapadia

    Moushmi KapadiaNovember 28, 2013
  • I agree with your views – this is indeed a critical part of any organization however, not many appreciate its importance.

    The key to its success is the involvement of every member of the organization in its co-creation (the belief) then only would all members look up to the Values, Mission & Vision of the Company.

    Deepak Prahlad AgarwalNovember 28, 2013
  • Good post sir, this will surely boost sense of bleonging towards company Vision.

    Totally agree.

    Amol NaikDecember 4, 2013
  • Good post sir, this will surely boost sense of bleonging towards company Vision.

    Amol NaikDecember 4, 2013
  • Dear Sir,

    Fantastic Article.

    Best Regards,

    Prashant M LakhaniDecember 4, 2013
  • Thank you so much for sending me your artical on the above subject .i agree that main issue is empowerment and not only deligation .
    I am sharing my little perceptions in this regard .
    Real power is knowledge .you buy an employee a mobile worth 15000/-and he is so happy ! You buy him books worth few lakhs , there is no excitement ! Now, unless people take efforts to increase there knowledge by study ,it becomes very difficult to leave decisions to them . And unless they have authority they can not be empowered in real sense .
    To my mind , unless people take efforts to study more things in their field ,they will not become powerful . Who wants to slog unendingly ? A boss is more than happy to leave things to capable people .
    I think that creative ideas to induce desire to study and increase knowledge will lead to creating knowledgable and capable employees ,who will be trusted for taking studied decisions and thus real empowerment of people will take place .
    It was my great pleasure to study your article .i look forward to receiving more such enlighting articles from you .
    My best regards
    Ar.paranjape

    Vishwas ParanjapeDecember 4, 2013

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