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A Wake-Up Call

We create mission statements because we want employees to see our big picture. Question is do we see theirs? Amid a growing war for talent, organizations are slow to recognize the role that values play in attracting, motivating, and keeping employees. But as a new survey reveals, employees are already paying attention.

In a nationwide telephone survey conducted by CO2 Partners, less than half of all respondents said their employer's core values match their own. What's more, a whopping 30 percent of workers think their core values may actually be misaligned with those of their employer. So what's causing employees to feel disengaged from their organizations' values?

When hiring workers, companies show perspective employees how aligning with the organization's values will meet their personal interests and needs. But once on board, employees look for evidence of compatibility -- proof that their leader's values are in alignment with the organization's, and thus, their own. Without frequent confirmation from their leader, employees might conclude the organization's values are not what they thought they were. If they perceive, whether accurately or not, that management changed or somehow misrepresented the values, employees will feel unaligned.

"Clearly, there is a link between core values and emotional commitment," says Gary Cohen, president of CO2 Partners. "If organizations are going to grow talent and commitment there has to be mutuality when it comes to communication and operating principles."

As a leader, your task is clear. By proactively demonstrating the correlation between your personal values and those of the organization, you will validate for employees that their values are compatible with those of the company. To do that, you must live by the values you profess.

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Great post! The key is to find out from your employees what their own personal core values are and get them to seek SIMILARITIES as opposed to differences with the company core values. Point out that the "labels" may be different, but the meanings can be similar.

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