A collection of guiding principles; what an individual considers to be morally right and desirable in life, especially regarding personal conduct.
Personal values can be influenced by culture, tradition, and a combination of internal and externalfactors. Values determine what individuals find important in their daily life and help to shape their behavior in each situation they encounter. Since values often strongly influence both attitude and behavior, they serve as a kind of personal compass for employee conduct in the workplace. Values help determine whether an employee is passionate about work and the workplace, which in turn can lead to above-average returns, high employee satisfaction, strong team dynamics, and synergy.
How Are Values Formed?
Values are usually shaped by many different internal and external influences, including family, traditions, culture, and, more recently, media and the Internet. A person will filter all of these influences and meld them into a unique value set that may differ from the value sets of others in the same culture.
Values are thought to develop in various stages during a person's upbringing, and they remain relatively consistent as children mature into adults. Sociologist Morris Massey outlines three critical development periods for an individual's value system:
Imprint period (birth to age seven): Individuals begin establishing the template for what will become their own values.
Modeling period (ages eight to thirteen): The individual's value template is sculpted and shaped by parents, teachers, and other people and experiences in the person's life.
Socialization period (ages thirteen to twenty-one): An individual fine-tunes values through personal exploration and comparing and contrasting with other people's behavior.
Values in the Workplace
Values can strongly influence employee conduct in the workplace. If an employee values honesty, hard work, and discipline, for example, he will likely make an effort to exhibit those traits in the workplace. This person may therefore be a more efficient employee and a more positive role model to others than an employee with opposite values.
Conflict may arise, however, if an employee realizes that her co-workers do not share her values. For example, an employee who values hard work may resent co-workers who are lazy or unproductive without being reprimanded. Even so, additional conflicts can result if the employee attempts to force her own values on her co-workers.
Hiring for Values
If the managers of a business create a mission statement, they have likely decided what values they want their company to project to the public. The mission statement can help them seek out candidates whose personalities match these values, which can help reduce friction in the workplace and foster a positive work environment.
Skills-based hiring is important for efficiency and is relatively intuitive. However, hiring for values is at least as important. Because individual values have such strong attitudinal and behavioral effects, a company must hire teams of individuals whose values do not conflict with either each other's or those of the organization.