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The Value of Value

I had a conversation this week with a client about why people have a lack of ownership in the workplace. Upon hearing of a situation where an employee was trying to gain assistance in helping solve a problem and no one stepping up to the plate to help him, he wondered why no one would take ownership of the problem and the willingness to help solve the issue. It became very clear through our conversation that the people within this organization did not feel valued and therefore saw no value in what they did. When employees see no value in what they provide to an organization it is usually due to the fact that they themselves don’t feel valued. Which means the inverse is true, if employees feel valued they will see the value in what they provide to the organization and in turn provide value. Is it really that simple? If it is, then why do employees still not feel valued?

Valuing employees is part of an organization’s culture. It starts with how you treat employees and coworkers. It comes from seeing value in the mission of your organization and then instilling that mission’s value into the employees. It is the belief that what your organization does has a positive impact on the world and that the employees are key to creating that impact. Employees create the most value when their personal mission and an organization’s mission are aligned.

So the question comes, what do you do when valuing employees is not part of your organization’s culture? Is it due to the organization’s mission not being part of the culture? Is it that the employees don’t feel that they have an impact on the mission? Is it that employees don’t understand or see the connection between what they do and the organizations mission? Or is it that the company has a mission that they don’t follow and therefore the employees feel that they are working towards nothing? It could be one of these or all of these. But in order for change to happen, an organization has to find out where the disconnect is happening and begin to change the culture.

Changing an organization’s culture is something that cannot happen overnight. It requires persistence, dedication, and common values. It is the responsibility of everyone in the organization to create a culture that is one where employees feel valued. Culture is created by both small and large behaviors exhibited by the people in the culture. If you want to have a culture of respect and value, then respect and value those in your culture. If you want a culture where the mission is clear and all employees know their role in the mission and support the mission, then ensure that every decision and action made within the organization supports that mission. Change does not have to come from the top down but does need the support of management in order to be successful. The largest impact on culture change is desire. There has to be a desire to want to change the culture for the better. Without this desire, change cannot and will not happen.

What is your organization’s culture? Is your organization one where the employees feel valued and in turn create value for the organization? Or is your organization one where employees don’t feel valued and in turn create no value in the organization? What is the lack of making employees feel valued costing your organization? What does it cost to change a culture for the better? The investment in your organization’s culture and making your employees feel valued costs nothing, but not investing in creating a culture of value is costly. When employees do not feel valued, they don’t provide a value to the organization and will eventually leave. What can you do within your organization to create a culture of value? What will the cost be to your organization if this investment is not made?

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