Personal Values vs Company Values: A Guide to Achieving Alignment

Uncover the Importance of Aligning Individual and Organisational Values

Published 15 February, by Chris Schutte

Company culture and values are increasingly important from the perspective of job seekers and employees. Personal values guide people’s decision making, interactions with others and aspirations, because they are the core motivators that drive individuals in their personal lives and at work.

Finding a company that fits these values has never been more important, as it directly affects motivation and drive at work.

From the perspective of companies, hiring a person with the right “culture fit” is also important. Recent studies have revealed that employees with values closely aligned to the company are likely to be far more productive, contribute to the organisation and build stronger workplace relationships and teams.

In this guide, we will explain what personal and company values are and how to align them in your organisation.

Table of Contents

What are Personal or Individual Values?

Personal values are the principles and beliefs that guide an individual’s behavior and decision-making.

The personal values theory is based on the PhD study by Dr. Beatrice Hofmeyr on the life model that addresses career choices and life management.

This theory outlines 21 values under 7 clear groups or “clusters” of values most important in the workplace. These clusters are:

  • Business Ethics
  • Physical Health
  • Lifestyle Stability
  • Autonomy
  • Need for Growth
  • Interaction
  • Entrepreneurial
7 personal values clusters

Examples of Personal Values

There are variety of different values often listed by organisations. However the 21 main values measured by Personal Values Assessment are:

  • Business Ethics
  • Physical Activity
  • Physical Challenges
  • Artistic Appreciation
  • Close Relationships
  • Cultural Identity
  • Financial Security
  • Predictable Environment
  • Authority
  • Creativity
  • Freedom of Lifestyle
  • Independence
  • Variety
  • Ability Utilisation
  • Achievement
  • Personal Development
  • Concern for Others
  • Social Interaction
  • Prestige
  • Financial Rewards
  • Risk

How to Identify Your Personal Values

There are a number of psychometric assessments commonly used to identify personal values. InterACT’s Personal Values Assessment is a quick and reliable way of identifying your personal values, and ranks them in order of their importance to the individual in the workplace.

This is completed in the form of a short questionnaire online.

personal values assessment results, the 21 values

Why Personal Values are Important in the Workplace

Personal Values drive how individuals interact with and approach different environments, tasks and people and the specific goals they set. They are closely tied to motivation, and when properly understood and utilised they can greatly improve productivity in the workplace, job satisfaction and workplace relationships.

Knowing your employees’ personal values is important for employee engagement, as values can help motivate and inspire more productive employees.

Exploring Corporate and Organisational Values

What are Corporate Values?

Organisational values are the core principles that guide an organization’s culture and practices. Corporate values distinguish your company from the competition and guide the way you engage with customers, clients and employees. 

A study by the Harvard Business Review found that companies with strong cultures based on clearly defined values outperform others in long-term profitability.

How to Identify Your Company's Values

Identifying your company’s values is essential for creating a cohesive and productive work environment. 

Once your organization has defined values, it can create a values statement that outlines what these important values mean to the company and how they can help guide decision-making. 

company values, team

But how do you go about identifying these values? Here are a few steps to help you get started.

1. Reflect on your mission and vision:

Your company’s mission and vision statements often contain clues about the values that are important to your organization. Take a close look at these statements and identify any recurring themes or ideas that represent your company’s core beliefs.

2. Gather input from employees:

Your employees are the heart of your organization, and they likely have valuable insights into the values that drive your company. Consider conducting surveys, focus groups, or one-on-one interviews to gather input and feedback from your team.

3. Observe your company's behavior:

Actions speak louder than words, and your company’s behavior can provide valuable clues about its values. Pay attention to how decisions are made, how conflicts are resolved, and how resources are allocated to identify the values that are truly important to your organization.

4. Complete a Company Values Profile:

Often organisations will have their management team complete a corporate values assessment, which can identify the values most important to the team – combining them into a single company values profile.

Identify Your Organisation's Values

Find the values most important to your organisation to improve employee alignment and engagement.

Personal Values vs Company Values

While personal values are generally an established part of each individual and their personality/behaviour, company values are generally decided by company executives.

Values created by the company show what they represent and they are the benchmark against which new employees are matched.

employees looking at values reports

Benefits of Aligning Personal and Company Values

When personal and company values align, it leads to increased job satisfaction and loyalty, because the organisation and employees are driven by a common set of goals.

Recent polling data from Gallup revealed that employees who feel a strong connection to their company’s values are far more likely to be engaged at work, less likely to feel burned out at work and less likely to be watching for job opportunities or actively looking for another job.

Benefits for Employees

When an individual’s personal values align with the values of the business they work for, it creates a sense of purpose and meaning in their work. This can lead to increased motivation, engagement, and job satisfaction, as the individual feels a sense of fulfillment and alignment in their professional life.

This alignment can also lead to better decision-making, as the individual is more likely to make choices that are in line with their personal values, leading to a greater sense of integrity and authenticity in their actions. Additionally, when an individual’s values align with those of the business, it can lead to a stronger sense of belonging and loyalty to the organization, ultimately benefiting both the individual and the business.

Benefits for Companies

For businesses, a closer level of alignment with employee’s personal values helps to improve workplace culture, productivity, team effectiveness, staff engagement and retention.

Employees want to work for a company whose values align with their own, and they are more likely to be invested in their work and dedicated to achieving the company’s mission.

Public companies with extremely healthy cultures often have a defined list of values and make a point to hire and retain individuals whose values and personal values are in sync with those within the company. By identifying and aligning values, a company can create a more cohesive and positive work environment for its employee’s.

Consequences of Values Misalignment

Misalignment can lead to decreased motivation and increased turnover. A significant number of employees considering a job change also cite lack of alignment with company values as a reason.

Values misalignment can lead to decreased job satisfaction and potentially higher turnover rates within the organization.

values misalignment, confused employee

Values misalignment often also causes conflicts and communication breakdowns between the individual and their colleagues or management. It often also hinders the individual’s ability to fully contribute to the company and reach their potential, as they may feel restricted or undervalued.

Finally, values misalignment can impact the company’s overall performance and success, as employees who do not resonate with the company’s values may not fully commit to achieving the organization’s goals.

Strategies for Values Alignment

Evaluate the alignment by comparing individual values with those demonstrated by the company. Compiling a match report between an individual’s Personal Values Profile and the Company Values Profile can be helpful in this process, and it allows businesses to make better hiring recruitment decisions and hire candidates who are a good values fit with the organisation.

Regular feedback sessions, team-building exercises, and workshops that encourage discussions about values can be beneficial. Organizations should also provide training to help employees understand and apply the company’s values in their daily work.

How to Communicate Your Company Values

Communicating your company values is crucial in ensuring that everyone in the organization understands and embodies them. When employees see leaders and managers embodying the values in their daily actions and decisions, it reinforces the importance of these values.

Additionally, incorporating the company values into performance evaluations and recognition programs can further emphasize their significance.

woman communicating, looking at laptop

Overall, it’s important to utilize a variety of communication methods and consistently emphasize the company values to ensure that they are understood and embraced by all members of the organization.

Conclusion

Aligning personal values with company values is not just about finding a comfortable fit; it’s about enhancing personal and organizational effectiveness. By understanding and bridging the gap between personal and company values, individuals and organizations can achieve greater harmony and success.

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chris schutte, managing director at interact global

Author of this Article

Chris Schutte

Chris has 30 years experience as senior manager and entrepreneur in the Human Capital consulting and management industry, using the DISC test in his practices. He has a wealth of experience in business development, Human Resources and Human Capital risk management and turn-around strategies. His leadership experience, runs across various industries including Manufacturing, Retail, HR, etc.