Without a heartfelt connection, even the most powerful workforce will eventually lose their spark.
It’s no accident that the words morale and moral are so similar. When it comes to creating a thriving work culture, they are inextricably linked. In other words, for a group of people to experience good morale, they must collectively operate from an agreed-upon moral code of conduct. Period.
The key words here are agreed upon. Many, if not all, companies post a list of values expecting employees to jump on board without ever having a discussion about;
- The beliefs behind the values and why they matter to the leaders.
- How do the values translate into expected behaviors OR
- Including those values and expected behaviors in a performance management system so that they can become “socialized” and followed.
Without getting this type of concrete buy-in, it’s no wonder most people see creating a great work culture as someone else’s job.
Morals (values) + aligned behaviors = “good” morale
Morals (values) – aligned behaviors = “bad” morale
Overlooking the simple equations above is why so many organizations’ attempts at culture change fail. In the majority of companies we’ve worked with, the workforce, administrative to CEO, had no idea when questioned, what the company values were, let alone had any heartfelt connection to them.
Heartfelt connection is not a term you typically hear tossed around in the corporate world, but this speaks to the problem with disengagement, underutilization, employee satisfaction, etc. Behind the suit and the title, a human exists. Without a heartfelt connection, even the most powerful workforce will eventually lose their spark.
Transforming your work culture starts with you.
“Holding a boss, coworker, or HR accountable for creating a thriving culture,
while holding yourself exempt from it, is like expecting to play a game of football
while sitting in the bleachers.”
~Patricia Russell TRCG CEO
So, how do you use this information to start making changes today? Some questions to ask yourself:
- Do I know the organization’s morals/ values or am I interested in knowing them?
- Are they aligned with my individual values?
- Have I gotten agreement about behaviors I expect to be in alignment with those morals?
- Have I held myself accountable to behave consistent with the values or do I wait to be judged?
If your answers fill you with dread then you have some work to do. If, on the other hand, they motivate you to act, more power to you. If you should choose to leave the organization because your values are misaligned with the organizations, you can be empowered by refraining from blaming the organization.
Remember, great morale won’t make itself. It must be cultivated by first taking ownership of the morals of the organization and behaving consistently with them even when it’s challenging to do so. That is how great morale is made.