Aligning Core Values: 3 Steps to Achieve Job Satisfaction

core values

Our core values consciously and unconsciously guide our everyday decisions, including professional ones. People often underestimate how much their fundamental beliefs influence both job satisfaction and career progression.

“Nothing moves the employees better than performing their activities that are linked to who they are as an individual.” – John Rubino

Indeed, finding the dream job is most of the times less connected with the job itself and more with the person and the values underneath. What’s important for you in life? What do you care about? What feels right/wrong for you in life?

Even when you are aware of your core values, to achieve self-actualization at work you need to act according to these values. In other words, there needs to be a match between the values you pursue and the values that the company culture promotes – what employers refer to as “tapping into intrinsic motivation” of employees.

We recommend three simple steps to discover how aligned your values are with your current company:

1. Find Your Personal Core Values

The journey to discover personal core values can take a lifetime, as it is a mix of gaining life experience and asking yourself the right questions. Here some input for you to reflect on what really matters to you:

Peak Performances: Recall your top performances. Consider what personal values actually contributed to your success and become your strengths in this process.

Anger due to Violation: Think about your most furious experiences. Recall what made you feel this way. Were there any personal values that were violated in the process? Analyze these situations and identify what was common among them.

Biggest Decisions: Remember the most important decisions you’ve made in your life so far. Try to recall the criteria and ways that you used to reach those difficult decisions such as accepting a new job offer. What were your “musts” that you were not willing to compromise during your decision-making process?

The Most Memorable Time: Think about the moments you want to remember after you pass away. This could be your most joyous or proudest moment. Identify what values were honored during that moment.

Personal Strengths: Identify your strengths – whether by asking your friends or by taking the HIGH5 free strengths finder test. Your strengths give you an indication of areas and activities that energize you and go in line with the way you perceive the world.

Once you have thought about the questions above, we highly recommend two things. First, write them down as it will force you to be clear in your thoughts. Second, talk them through with someone you trust as it will help you assess if that’s something you can stand for.

2. Find The Company Core Values

Regardless of whether companies explicitly state their values or not, there are some key aspects you can observe to discover what your firm stands for. Here below some tips for you to start:

Company Goals & Mission: Read the section on the mission of the company and the milestones they have set themselves to get there. Consider which factors the company has emphasized the most – in their mind, what is one thing that will help them to reach their mission?

Existing & Developing Priorities: Research what the current CEO says about the company. Pay attention to priorities s/he sets for the business. What are the core elements of the organization? Which implications would it have for the way people work there?

Celebrated Success: Nothing says more about the values of a company than their choice of which achievements to celebrate. Which achievements does the company highlight? What do they consider as successful and how did they achieve it?

Company Strengths: What is the company really good at? What is it known for? What is a typical strength that company’s employees have in common? Just as with your own strengths, understanding the strengths of the organization can give you a clear indication of the way it works and what it values. If you work in a team, asking your manager to make HIGH5 Team Strengths Assessment would be the easiest first step.

Organizations are similar to human beings. According to Tagiuri and Guth, the company culture and corporate strategies are mostly influenced by the values. Hence, the way the organization acts and talks indicate their true nature. By assessing the areas above you will have a good starting point to understand if the organization is your cup of tea and if you can reach high job satisfaction there.

3. Create An Action Plan

If you have successfully completed two previous steps, it’s time to compare the outcomes. Put your own core values next to the values of your company. Do they match?

Aligned: That’s a great start! Take a closer look at areas where you found an alignment between two sets of values. Create an action plan to focus even further on maximizing these areas. How can you exercise your core values in a constructive way? Is there a position/department in this organization where your core value alignment would be an even stronger asset?

Misaligned: Before panicking, try to assess the severity of the misalignment between your own and company values. The bigger the gap – the more urgent the change. Try to analyze the areas of misalignment to understand the reasons for it. What can you control, what can you impact? If you can’t (or don’t want to) change the company immediately, try looking for departments where your core values would be less violated.

Core values show what is the most important to a person. The alignment between what you value and what the company you’re applying to or working for values has a direct implication on your life & job satisfaction.

While the journey of finding the perfect match and building a great career can take a while, the benefits of a successful career and finding purpose at work are worth it.

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