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Published: 12th March 2021
This Article was Written by: Nik Moore - Success This Way
Using Values to drive Employee Engagement and behaviour.
Are you of an age where you remember how managers in the ’70s and ’80’s especially used to “know best” and applied the “command-and-control” management style?
Thankfully it’s very different nowadays
When I’m in coaching businesses, I often refer to the difference between “transactional” and “transformational”. Here is a great summary of what I mean:
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The bottom 3 layers are what are called “Transactional” layers. The top 3 “Transformational”. Alan Williams and Steve Payne describe the difference clearly in their book entitled “My 31 Practices”…
“…you will notice that the bottom three levels feel more transactional. This means that they are tangible; where you are, what you do, and what abilities you have. Changes made in these areas are more likely to be carried out consciously. The top three levels are more transformational; values, beliefs, sense of identity, and purpose. They operate at a more subconscious level. These higher levels have a great impact on the lower levels, for example, your values drive your behaviour. If being compassionate to others is important to you (value), then you may find yourself automatically giving up your seat on a bus (behaviour) to someone who you believe needs more than you.”
In coaching, we often focus our efforts on the top three layers as this is where the magic can truly happen. When you ask clients about who they are, what their purpose in life is, and what’s important to them, it really empowers people to think on a level that we don’t often access day-to-day.
So, when you stop to think about your own company values, it presents us with a great question to ask. Does your workforce live the values out? Do they feel they aligned with their own personal values, identity, and purpose in life, or do they see the values are mere labels? And this is where the point of this blog is. When you have a workforce that sees the corporate values being lived out automatically, naturally and authentically by their fellow peers and managers, it provides an environment where they WANT to be.
I often see a lot of compliance going on in business nowadays. Businesses get so large that with all the imposed values/behaviours/processes and procedures it can sadly stifle employees. Let’s remember that you can’t force someone to behave in a certain way. After a time, they’ll just revert back to the way they normally behave anyway. You have to get inside their hearts and engage with them on an emotional level so that they see that the company is authentic itself, has values that resonate with their own and has employees that behave in alignment with the values.
I adore working with large corporations on a values level. It’s fun. Why? It’s all down to the fact that often companies are so big that it’s very easy to go about your daily work, with thousands of employees, and forget to spend time, energy and effort making the company values so visible, so explicit, so much part of the everyday language that they end up being forgotten about over time.
When companies dedicate resources to show the workforce what the values stand for, what they mean and then capture examples of the team living them out, then the magic starts to happen. When you walk down the corridor and people are being seen in their behaviour being in alignment with the company’s values, then you know that they are no longer label. This is when people realise that they are working for a company the resonates with their own personal beliefs and what is important to them. And they are happy employees.
…and when the opposite happens. Well, this is when the flood gates open and people start to leave.