What’s All the Hoopla About Values and Engagement?

Posted by on Feb 18, 2016 | 0 comments

Last year I attended an HR conference where I attended a presentation on Values-Based Leadership. Sitting in that seminar I was screaming a resounding YES in my mind. This is exactly what I have been preachiBuild a Business Complete 2ng. “When you support employees in satisfying their needs, they respond with high levels of employee engagement – they willingly bring their commitment and creativity to their work.” Oh ya, baby! Tell me more!
The presenter kept making points that hit me at my very core. “We need a new leadership paradigm – a shift in focus from ‘I’ to ‘we’; from ‘what’s in it for me’ to ‘what’s best for the common good’; and from ‘being the best in the world’ to ‘being the best for the world’.”
As workplaces evolve and millennials enter the workforce, leaders will need to be seen as caring not just for all their stakeholders, but also for the environment and all of humanity. If you think that sounds a bit much, let’s break it down. The millennials are those that are born between the early 1980’s and 2000’s. Guess what era their parents were born and grew up in. The 60’s. What was going on in the 1960’s? Freedom; equality; fighting oppression; the civil rights movement. Now this is just my opinion, but do you think those parent’s that were born in the 60’s adopted these values that were going on around them? I’m going to guess yes. Now as their kids are growing up and finding their way into the working world will they also not have similar values? Again, my guess is a yes. It only stands to reason, then, that in order to get the most out of their workforce, the leaders of these millennials will need to provide certain freedoms in the workplace, equality, creativity and a democracy that may not have been present in past work environments.
Values describe what is important to us at any given time. Our values are always a reflection of what we consider to be our need. Our need is something that we think, if we had it, life would be better in some way. Going back to the quote in the beginning paragraph, “when you support employees in satisfying their needs, they respond with high levels of employee engagement”. Think of it as reciprocity. When you give your employees something they value which is based on what they need, they give you in return, their commitment to their job and the organization. It is a give and take. Figure out what your employees need, aka value, and you will increase your employee commitment aka engagement which betters your entire organization.

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