With commitment, loyalty, greater productivity, and lesser attrition being some of the by-products of having engaged employees, it is no surprise why employee engagement has taken center stage for a lot of companies.
However, with engagement levels standing only at 30% worldwide, organizations have to take a close look at things they need to do to change this figure.
Amongst other things, one of the key drivers of engagement is the presence of shared values. It can be easy to think of shared values and company values as interchangeable terms. However, they are not.
Company values are related to an organization’s central approach to its overarching mission and values. Shared values, on the other hand, are the set of values that help employees relate to one another and ensure that they share common work principles and attitudes with their co-workers.
Having shared values builds a sense of shared interest in the success of the organization and reflects how the personal values of an employee align with their work and the organization as a whole.
But how do shared values drive employee engagement?
Don’t force it
Organizations cannot force shared values. Neither should they try to do so. What organizations can do instead is to create a culture that helps foster deep connections at work. To achieve shared values, organizations have to look for ways to build meaningful connections between employees and the company vision.
However, the company vision is a large, all-encompassing concept. To create a sense of shared values, this vision has to be tied to small, achievable goals for the employees to make it a part of the day-to-day experience. It is also essential to recognize the employees who accomplish these goals and help them stay motivated, committed, and accountable to this cause.
Establish clear communication
With enterprises today having interconnected functional departments, employee actions have a direct impact on their peers, especially as frequent change becomes a norm. Organizations have to help employees understand the importance of company values and ensure that their actions align with these.
A single session on company values conducted during the onboarding exercise is not enough. It is essential to not place the burden of aligning with the value system solely on the shoulders of the employee. Communicating these values clearly and how they are translated into the day-to-day procedural operations are essential to drive shared values across the organization. Hence, this has to be a continuous process.
Build the bridge
Today’s workforce, especially the millennials and Gen Z, have different motivations and expectations from their workplace. There is a high focus on purpose. They want to know how they are contributing to the larger picture. They want to see how their work matters. They want to see the value the organization is bringing into their lives.
To have shared values and vision, organizations have to communicate how the organizational vision and values align with this workforce. They also have to identify where the gaps in the shared values are and build the bridges to close this gap. By identifying issues related to shared values within the organization with information relevant to the employees, organizations can gather relevant insights. After all, we can only manage what we can measure.
Leverage coaching to foster connections
Organizations that want to develop shared values and vision also lean heavily on coaching and mentorship. This is especially relevant in the presence of a multi-generational workforce of today. Mentorship unveils how shared values matter. It helps employees understand how their role contributes to the bigger picture. It helps them decide how they can enhance their career goals in alignment with organizational goals. It also assists in reinforcing meaningful connections with all across the organizations by impacting attitudes and behaviors positively.
Shared values cannot be achieved in a day-long training program. Understanding shared values and learning how to employ them in everyday activities builds meaningful connections. This also leads to stronger social connections at work. And research shows us how strong social connections and productivity are directly related to one another.
Employees who build these connections and connectedness with their colleagues are more likely to stay loyal to the organizations and more committed towards their work. They will also be willing to put in more discretionary effort because they understand why work matters. It solves the conundrum of purpose, something that millennials value heavily. And by doing all this, it helps in driving engagement at work and gives legitimacy to the statement, ‘engaged employees are driven by shared values and vision’. Because engagement, after all, is an emotional commitment to the organizational goals.
We have to accept that employee engagement is not rocket science. Neither is it magic. It is a craft that is created using trust, and this trust engenders loyalty. Clearly, employee engagement is not a destination but a journey. Shared values and vision are the vehicles with which it becomes infinitely easier to navigate this journey.
With NumlyEngage™, we offer a next-gen employee engagement platform that provides a structured approach to soft skills development by bridging people and connections. NumlyEngage™ drives consistent and multi-touch interactions that are continuously scaled and nurtured by AI. Would you like to see NumlyEngage™ in action?