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Values in the Workplace

I’m not talking about the value give to things or people but values as in the things we live to, the way we feel life should be.

Many companies not list their values alongside their mission statements and so imply that they are important to them.

I suspect that in many organisations those values espoused on the marketing materials and in the company handbook may not be lived out in practice. In fact I have personal experience of that. It was only when I was in the middle of my coach training that I realised that my values may have matched those on the company screen saver but that in practice they weren’t part of day to day work life.

It was this mis-match, I realised, that had made me so unhappy in my latter years there.

I came to recognise that the mis-match itself was not helpful to my contentment but that it was being misled into believing that my values were important to the organisation that caused me the most angst.

I believe that values honestly stated can be really helpful to organisations, employees and customers alike. We like doing business and spending time with people like us. People who think that the same things are important. We can see this in all areas of life. When we spend so much time in the workplace it makes sense then that we spend time with those with similar values and beliefs.

Many choose to work for an organisation that believes in protecting the environment, being fair in their dealings with others, giving back to the community, caring for animals or supporting local business. With that understanding the employee buys into the organisation. They want to become a part of that and to give their all.

One of the worst things that can happen though it to go to work for an organisation that espouses something like environmental concerns (for example) and then to find that comes way down the list of priorities in reality. It induces a feeling of betrayal, you’ve been misled and resentment soon sets in. This is true for employees, customers and investors.

Best then to be clear on what your organisations values really are. To ensure that all managers buy into them and to recruit with that in mind. Check your policies to make sure that they are inline too. If you can’t tick all those boxes then it’s simply better to stay quiet until you can or make it clear that it is a direction you are travelling in and are committed to but have not yet reached.

It’s never good to feel let down, it’s incredibly hard to come back from that to a good, productive relationship.

Values do matter, be honest about yours.

Clare doesn't believe that telling people what to do is always the right way, there is a time and a place for it for sure. To help people long term though….the best help is for them to find their own answers, develop their own skills and confidence and watch them come alive.

Clare Wildman – Your Key to Change
Life Coach
Twitter: @ClareWildman

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