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The Value of Innovation

Wickland Westcott Consultant Laura Oliver has been working in partnership with Manchester Airports Group (MAG) to research the link between employees’ personal values and their level of engagement.
Employees were asked to rate the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with statements linked with Manchester Airports’ six Corporate Values. These included ‘Customer Experience’, ‘Innovation’ and ‘Working with Colleagues’. The results from these ratings were then compared with objective measures of employee engagement, commitment, satisfaction and emotional intelligence. The study provided clear evidence that alignment between personal and organisational values does have a measurable, positive impact on key employment indices. Further, certain corporate values were found to have a more significant impact than others. For example, the extent to which people felt comfortable with the MAG Corporate Value ‘Innovation’ was found to have the most significant impact on employee engagement.

Why might this be?

MAG has been successfully creating and empowering Customer First Teams within the airport, in order to raise the levels of service provided to all customers. So why has ‘Customer Experience’ not emerged as value that has the strongest impact? On closer analysis we identified that these Customer First Teams concentrate upon stimulating innovative thinking and idea-generation amongst staff, encouraging them to take ownership of issues that may impact on customer satisfaction and proactively implementing solutions. It is this focus on creative problem-solving and looking to improve things for customers that appears to be having the biggest impact on satisfaction, engagement and commitment.

What do we conclude?

These results provide hard evidence that employees whose personal values match those of their employer will be more engaged, more committed and more satisfied by their work. The implication is that organisations should, therefore, consider assessing candidates’ values, as well as measuring the commoner areas of technical and interpersonal competence. Additionally, the complex link between values and the variables measured indicates that as priorities shift within organisation (e.g. within culture-change initiatives) the impact of people’s personal values on their continued engagement should not be ignored or taken for granted.

What should organisations be doing?

In addition to considering the personal/organisation values fit during recruitment (see our work with Purina Petfoods), we also recommend that organisations remember the three C’s.
Leaders need to Consider the current values held by the organisation and identify which they feel are fundamental to specific roles within their own team. They then need to Communicate and role model these values to their direct reports, so that they understand how they apply to them. Finally they need to embark on continual Collaborative discussions with their people to ensure that the values remain relevant and front-of-mind.

For more information, or if you would like to discuss how your organisation could capitalise on its values to improve satisfaction and performance, contact Laura Oliver, tel: 01625 508100, laura.oliver@wickland-westcott.co.uk.

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