After my rant in last week’s blog where I expressed the view that economists want productivity but people want progress, I’ve been thinking about the connection between the organization’s values and employee engagement. I’ve run across some good articles such as Shawn Callahan’s post “Four things you need to have in your head” which offers a quote from Gary Hamel “Every organization is “values-driven.” The only question is, what values are in the driver’s seat?”
So I’ve started to wonder whether those organizations that outwardly portray an image of social responsibility also reflect those values toward their own employees. It is difficult to determine whether that is actually the case unless one has the opportunity to view an employee engagement survey or talk candidly with employees. But given some of the challenges of gaining traction for social technologies in ‘anti-social’ organizations, it seems like an important question to ask.
As collaboration (or knowledge management or social media) project leaders plot their deployment and rollout approach, a useful step is to examine how the documented corporate values compare to the unwritten values and the goals for their initiative. Are they in sync? Will the initiative reinforce a workstyle aligned with the organization’s values and designed to increase employee satisfaction? Are there unwritten values that will get in the way of workers using social technologies? There is still the need for a more detailed assessment of value (AKA ROI) and our advice to tie collaboration/KM/social media initiatives to specific business goals still stands, but exploring this values connection can also provide some useful insight.