Plain and simple: Your workplace must not compromise your values. This goes for you—the owner—and it goes for your employees. Your employees will be unable to sustain a lasting commitment to a job if they are required to work in a situation that counters their values.
Respecting Individual Employees
Many organizations make the mistake of considering one value—hard work—and deciding that this value trumps all else. They take a hard-working employee and shove a pile of work onto her desk, ignoring whether she has competing values, intelligences, or striving instincts that trump or compete with the value of “hard work.” An employee who values his family might be wiling to work hard during office hours, but does he want a bunch of overtime? Probably not.
Or, a hard-working employee might value perfection, and an increased and hurried workload might threaten this value.
In the long run, it pays to know your employees’ values. You will be more likely to retain staff members for many years if you treat them as unique individuals instead of cogs in a machine. One size does not fit all. One size fits one.
BTW-When employees work hard, a “thank you” once in a while can help as well.
Likewise, Set Yourself Up for Success
We suggest that every business owner go throw a process of identifying workplace values. That said, creating workplace values is not the same thing as identifying individual values. Read my book, Five Eyes on the Fence to see one way to assess the important values of your effective employees.
Your business values must allow for your personal values to thrive, but they do not need to be the same. Your company likely has a set of values based on your professional vision. You might, for instance, value adventure on a personal level, but to support your love of extreme sports and travel, you need your company to avoid risk, play it safe, and be consistent.
The trouble comes when a workplace value flat-out violates a personal value. Say, for instance, that you value work, loyalty, and community. How would you feel if your workplace were filled with ultra-competitive employees who never lent a helping hand?
Your work would not be enjoyable. Instead of being inspired by your job, you would feel burdened, exhausted, and unfulfilled.
Entrepreneurs who do not intentionally set about to create a culture at their company might end up running a company they do not like. When designing your corporate culture, you must:
- Identify your personal values;
- Identify your workplace values;
- Identity the value sets of your most effective employees.
- Hire people who complement your values and the values of your workplace.
Doing anything else almost guarantees that your employees will create your corporate culture—and it probably will not be one that you like.