Personal Values vs Company Values (How To Find Alignment)
If I asked you “what do you value?”, would you have an answer right away? Values are something we’re all becoming more aware of. Personal values are a big part of our lives, guiding what we buy, where we buy it from, how we live and who we spend our time with.
But company values are growing in importance too. They tell us what somewhere would be like to work, how the company treats their employees and what their approach is.
With the average person spending 90,000 hours at work throughout their lifetime, the conversation of personal values vs company values is an important one. Especially if you want to live a life that’s in alignment.
So how do you know if your values match up with your company’s?
What are personal values?
Personal values can be defined as our own internal rules for ourselves and others. They are at the centre of who you are and guide how you want to live your life.
Your personal values drive your behaviour. So much so, that you might not even notice it. Have you ever found yourself really not wanting to do something? Or feeling totally passionate about something but not knowing why? That’s an example of your values coming into play.
When something doesn’t feel in alignment with your personal values, your body will find a way of telling you. This could manifest itself in the gut reaction we all know so well, or butterflies of excitement, or something different and unique to you.
It can help to start looking out for these reactions early on, so you can start to identify your values by the signals your body is sending you.
Prompt: try keeping a daily mood journal to track your reactions to different scenarios. Use your notes to identify what your emotions are trying to tell you, this is a great way to uncover your personal values!
Types of personal values
Use these types of personal values as examples but don’t try to cherry-pick the best options for you. Instead, follow the prompts below to get to know yourself and find out what truly matters to you.
- What do you talk about most often, and most enthusiastically?
- What do you read, watch, listen to, or write about most?
- Where are you most disciplined and reliable?
- What dominates your space? What is obvious to a stranger who walks into your home or office?
- What do you always make time for?
Use your answers to create a shortlist of up to 10 values. Take your time, reviewing your shortlist over a series of a few days to find the ones that feel right for you.
These are your personal values and can be used to guide you through your decision-making process. The next time you face a decision that feels challenging or simply “off”, ask yourself “does this align with my personal values?”. If the answer is no, you know exactly what you need to do!
Why are company values important?
Company values are important because they tell us what the company culture is like. Strong company values will unite a team, bringing people together over a common goal and a shared approach to work. They should inspire a higher standard of accountability.
From a customer perspective, company values can help to guide buying decisions too. If a customer finds a company whose values align with their personal values, they’re far more likely to become a loyal customer. Why? Because they’ll have a deeper connection with the company. It’s that simple.
Personal values vs company values
Company values are similar to personal values. They tell us what matters at the core of a company.
But, unlike personal values, company values are usually determined by a group of senior executives at the organisation. They’ll take multiple factors into account, from the company’s target audience to their marketing strategy, employees, company culture and so much more.
Ideally, employees’ personal values should align with their company values. People who are happy at work tend to be those who work at organisations that value the same things they do – whether that’s freedom and flexibility or the environment and sustainability.
And companies will get the most out of their employees if their values align with their own. Happy employees are productive employees. They’re more likely to stay with the company for longer, reducing hiring costs and minimising organisational knowledge leaks.
So it’s safe to say… it’s important that your personal values align with your company values.
Personal values conflict in the workplace
One of the most common issues with personal values causing conflict in the workplace is when your employees aren’t fully aware of your company values. It may be that they don’t understand what your company values mean or that the company values haven’t been communicated clearly to them.
When this happens, take a closer look at your company values to ensure that they’re understood by your team.
I took a recent corporate coaching client through the following activity to uncover their team’s understanding of each company value:
- Write each company value at the top of a flip chart
- Give your team a stack of post-it notes
- Ask each team member to add at least one post-it note to each flip chart with words that they relate to each company value
Once you’ve identified your team’s definition of your company values, walk them through the intended definitions.
If the values don’t match up… the values aren’t being communicated clearly enough. Ask your team “how can we better bring these values to life through our work?” or “what other core values would you like to see within the company?”.
If the values do match up… it’s likely that the company values simply aren’t present enough in your work. Ask your team “what could be done within the company to increase the presence of your company values?” and ” how would you know these core values are present in the company?”.
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How to communicate company values
Your company values should be part of every internal process throughout your organisation – from hiring and recruitment to onboarding, staff reviews, employee development and everything in between.
When you communicate your company values clearly, you’ll attract employees who align with those values. They’ll be drawn to your company culture and will be more likely to stay around when they discover that your organisation lives and breathes these values.
Follow this checklist to communicate your company values clearly:
- Present and explain your values in interviews for new staff
- Ask potential new hires how they would define your company values and how they’d bring them to life through their work
- Make your company values part of the onboarding process
- Include your company values in staff reviews, assess the work of your team in alignment with your core values
- Celebrate employees who embody company values through awards and recognition
Your company values aren’t just something to list on your website. They’re an integral part of who your company is, let’s give them the attention they deserve! TAKE QUIZ