Why values are important

Companies often declare to have certain core values and that they act according to them. Unfortunately some companies proclaim corporate core values for mere marketing purpose. However, there are companies that act according to their core values and which even structure their recruiting process by checking whether the applicant matched with the company values. This blog post explains why values are important, be it in corporate life or private life.

More stability

Under the condition that an employee stands to its values and does not bend them too much to justify behavior, it is possible to derive stability from them. For example, an employee who is laid off would probably first not know how to behave, but the values would indicate how to act. Values I have found personally important are: 1. Openness 2. Gratefulness 3. Conscientiousness 4. Learning 5. Achieving. I also created an mnemonic to remember them and incorporate them in into my daily life: one great commander leads all. Since I incorporated them in my life I know most of the times why I do what I do. Referring to the employee who was laid off, he or she would know what to do by following values similar to mine: A. Thank everyone in the organization for the past support B. Absorb and process everyone’s feedback and C. Move on to search another work or become self-employed. There is not much time to lament and wonder what to do, thus the employee experiences more stability in life with consciously chosen values than without them.

Increased productivity

An employee has higher work productivity when working for a company with matching values compared with working for a company that does not has the same values. An employee who enjoys working at the company will add more value than one who does not as engagement increases. Furthermore, a worker who quits because of the inability to identify with company values increases turnover and as a result creates more cost for the company. For example, Lauren Braun from Alma Sana quitted her corporate job to pursue a path according to her values (Braun, n.d.). Nevertheless, human resources managers might criticize that the company becomes too homogenous and finally more prone to the halo effect if all employees have the same values. However, if the human resources managers recruit employees with diverse skills from diverse academic disciplines the company will still stay heterogenous.

Values over regulations

In the last blog post „Regulators became more important than their cause“ it was explained that too many regulations can hinder companies in performing successfully. If workers would truthfully follow corporate values, less regulations would be necessary. Values are more efficient than regulations if followed strictly because values affect behavior directly whereas regulations only try to restrain it. Having studied international and european law and one realizes there is often a loop-hole in laws and regulations. One can simply follow the European Union and observe the latest submitted case-laws (EUR-Lex, n.d.). Nevertheless, according to Lawrence Kohlberg’s stages of moral development there is only a small percentage of people who reach a stage that applies universal ethical principles (Kohlberg, 1973). Thus, not many people follow meaningful values and regulations are still necessary.

Good versus bad values

Finally, it is important to define what good and bad values are. It seems that there are no specific good values but many diverse values which are equally good and just different from each other. For example, some people were raised by families who put a strong focus on the value of community whereas others more on the value of ambition. Both values have the right to exist and neither value is better or worse – just different. On the other hand, values that imply harming other beings are bad values.

Lastly, there are selfish, self-full and selfless values. Personally I do not enjoy working with a person who is selfish but I also not enjoy working with a person who is constantly selfless. There are many people on this earth and I believe that one of the quests in life is to find the people who have similar values.

References

Braun, L. (n.d.). Conscientious innovation. Retrieved May 17, 2015, from http://www.cornell.edu/video/lauren-braun-conscientious-innovation

EUR-Lex Search results. (n.d.). Retrieved May 17, 2015, from http://eur-lex.europa.eu/search.html?qid=1395932669976&name=collection%3Aeu-law-case-law&type=named&locale=en

Kohlberg, L. (1973). The Claim to Moral Adequacy of a Highest Stage of Moral Judgment. The Journal of Philosophy, 70(18), 630–646. doi:10.2307/2025030

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