4 Ways Employees Disagree About Organizational Values

by Dora Wang on Jan 8, 2015 11:00:00 AM

How Employees Disagree About Organizational ValuesOrganizational values are a vital part of your company’s culture, so you want to make sure all of your employees are on board with them. They should not only know the values but also use them to guide their decisions on the job.

But just because everyone shares the same values doesn’t mean that they’ll always agree. Different members of your organization might practice the values in different ways based on things like their role in the company. It happens, but it’s okay. What’s important is that everyone knows where their colleagues are coming from, so they can keep communicating and cooperating.

Take a look at some of the conflicts that can arise:

1. Customer satisfaction: Keeping your clients happy is a vital part of staying in business. But consider how a salesperson might approach satisfaction in contrast to someone who works in development or manufacturing. A developer might be willing to delay a product launch to ensure quality (which makes customers happy). But in sales, you’re talking directly to the customer, and it’s more important to you to keep a smile on their face—which is harder to do when they’re getting impatient and you have to keep telling them “no.”

2. Integrity: You could define integrity as always obeying any relevant regulations and policies. But what if delivering on a promise to a client conflicts with that? Would you bend the company rules, just a little bit? When would it be justified? Employees in more administrative roles might say this should happen rarely or never. Those who work in customer-facing positions might say that keeping your word is a higher priority for organizational integrity.

3. Teamwork: Working together means making sure everyone is happy, but sometimes different people’s needs run into one another. What would you do if you had an employee who tried hard but performed at a subpar level? They are a part of the team, so maybe they deserve the time and effort of remediation. On the other hand, a manager might worry about the rest of the team who has to shoulder the burden for that employee.

4. Professionalism: Different generations can interpret professional behavior differently. Millennials are known for being informal and less hierarchical. Perhaps to this group, working remotely when you can’t get to the office (due to illness, family obligations, or off-site meetings with clients) is better than wasting time on commuting. Another employee might consider it unprofessional for a colleague to frequently be unavailable for in-person meetings or collaboration.

Disagreements aren’t a question of right or wrong when each party is working to uphold your organizational values. It’s important to be aware that these conflicts can happen, so you can keep your team together when they do. A culture of collaboration and respect allows colleagues to work together even when their needs might be at odds. It might not always be easy for employees to compromise, so make sure they always remember that they’re all on the same side.




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This post was written by Dora Wang

Dora is an employee engagement researcher for TINYpulse and managing editor of TINYinstitute. Having grown up in Texas, she is now firmly settled in Seattle, where she spends her free time reading comic books, wrangling her three cats, and (of course) rooting for the Seahawks.

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