Do Best Employees Align or Conform

Who are the most valued employees in corporate America? According to business leaders, it’s those employees inspired by a company’s mission and values. Yet these same leaders say their companies value employees who do what they are told and are motivated by material rewards, a new study from LRN found.
The LRN “Value of Corporate Values Study” polled 150 senior leaders and found a disconnect between what these senior leaders say they value in employees and what their companies actually value in the real-world work environment. In fact, the majority of U.S. leaders (87 percent) say they personally value employees inspired by a company’s mission and values, but report their companies most favor employees who do what they are told (35 percent) or are motivated by material rewards (32 percent).
“There’s an interesting dichotomy in business today. Leaders see the benefits of becoming more values-based but aren’t certain of how to affect behavior change operationally,” says Dov Seidman, chairman and CEO of LRN. “Our work has shown that employees aligned on a deeper mission than just making money are inspired by a long-term view and behave in a way that brings advantage to the business. We are witnessing a trend in business where values-based behaviors and cultures are being shaped as a source of competitive advantage.”
Other findings of the study include:
>> Fifty-two percent of leaders said that the recent economic downturn has their companies emphasizing the organizational mission and values to encourage greater performance from employees more than in the period before the decline. But 47 percent said their companies are stressing values and mission less (5 percent), the same (15 percent) or not at all (27 percent).
>> Nearly half (49 percent) of the leaders said their companies weigh how aligned employees are with the organizational mission and values in making decisions to downsize teams and resources. Twenty percent of their companies do not consider the mission and values when scaling back the workforce.
>> A majority (56 percent) said their companies place a premium on workers who are allied with the underlying organizational mission versus an equally skilled employee who may not be as aligned; 17 percent do not value such workers.
A more detailed examination of the study results can be found at http://www.howsmatter.com/corporate-values-in-a-slowed-economy/.

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