Every company has values, but not every company truly lives (and works) by them. It’s those very beliefs that help build a strong team foundation and an even stronger company culture. However, a company’s moral code can easily get lost in the hustle and bustle of the work day.
The key to bringing organizational values front and center is to convert them into specific, behavioral examples. By modeling and rewarding behaviors that demonstrate each value, employees are constantly reminded of what their company stands for and how to better work by those principles. Additionally, these observable behaviors make it easier for employers to measure and manage company standards.
Don’t let organizational values sit on the company career page and in the new hire handbook. Here are four easy ways to bring them to life:
1. Put values front and center.
It can be easy to lose sight of company values when focused on the task at hand. They should guide all aspects of business, from the decisions we make to the talent we source to the way we interact with customers. But they can’t be applied if they’re not remembered.
So how can employers make company values stick?
Keep the company’s moral code at the forefront of everyone’s mind by making it prominent within the workplace. In addition to featuring it on the company website and in the employee handbook (neither of which employees look at on a daily basis), post it where employees often gather (conference rooms, snack rooms, etc.). At ClearCompany, we have them painted on the walls throughout the office, along with our logo, to serve as a daily reminder for our team.
Reminding employees of values doesn’t stop after crafting, laminating and posting posters throughout the office, however. They need to be communicated from the top on a regular basis.
2. Hire based on values.
Building a workforce that lives and works by the company moral code starts with hiring based upon values. For each of the company’s values, develop a list of questions designed to assess a candidate’s character and potential fit.
For instance, one of our values at ClearCompany is that we’re team entrepreneurial. Asking interview questions related to a candidate’s ability to be enterprising is essential to finding talent that shares and fulfills our values.
Related: Are Business Ethics at a Low Ebb?
People are often predisposed to sharing (or not sharing) the company’s beliefs, so using the interview process to identify people who have similar principles is crucial to building a workforce that can successfully apply company ethics to everything they do.
3. Work (and play) by values.
The best way to bring organizational values to life is to model them. In other words, don’t just let them sit on the wall and call it a day. Live, work and play by them on a daily basis.
One of software company VMware’s values is to give more. The company does this by giving employees 40 hours of paid time off each year to volunteer. In addition to volunteering together, the company even has its own charitable foundation based on service learning, social investments, matching donations and milestone awards.
Actively model company values by aligning them with company culture activities, such as taking time off to volunteer together. Most important, lead by example. Show employees how it’s done by using company character to guide business decisions and empowering employees to do the same.
4. Reward and promote values.
Last, but certainly not least, promote organizational values by rewarding behaviors that demonstrate them. Don’t hesitate to publicly reward someone for exhibiting behaviors that are in line with the company’s character. Not only does this make the individual feel good, it also pushes the rest of the company to follow suit.
One way we reward employees at ClearCompany is by featuring employees who demonstrate our values on our company website. Whether it’s by making individuals “employee of the month,” featuring the employee in the company newsletter, blog and/or website or by giving them a simple pat on the back, just be sure the behavior doesn’t go unnoticed. After all, there’s no better way to promote great behavior than to reward it.
How does your company bring organizational values to life? Share in the comments section below!