Your company values say a lot about your company's mission, who you serve, and how you make the world a better place. Whether you're offering financial security to the world's investors, or providing services that make it easy for local entrepreneurs to run a small business, your team will perform better when they understand why the work they're doing matters. Values also help to provide a tangible guideline on how to interact with customers, solve problems, and prioritize workload. Here's a closer look at five ways to better ensure that your workforce understands your company values:
1. Put Values at the Center of Your Recruiting
Building a culture around your company's mission and values starts when you recruit new people. Use your company values as a standard to help attract the right people and screen out candidates who won't be a good fit with the company culture. Recruiting based on your values can start by making them clear in your job ads and employer branding materials. It's also important to structure interviews and the hiring process to better determine whether a candidate's values align with the company’s.
2. Visibly Reward Employees Who Demonstrate Company Values
One of the most powerful ways that you can enforce your company values is by rewarding visible, positive examples in action. For example, if your main company value is providing excellent customer service, it's important to always be on the lookout for examples Whether it's a customer service rep who successfully resolves a tough challenge or a sales rep who goes over and above to close a sale by focusing on the customer, recognize those performers. Rewards can be monetary, bonus days off, small prizes, or as simple as recognition during a staff meeting or in a company newsletter. Employees following your values are inclined to continue that good behavior, while real-life case studies model ideal behavior for the rest of the workforce.
3. Develop Values-Focused Training
Whether it's part of your company's onboarding practice or you're offering annual refreshers, consider developing a syllabus around your company's values. What are they? Where did they come from and what do you hope to accomplish through them? Many companies find that using interactive examples, case studies, and roleplaying helps employees translate the abstract idea behind corporate values into day-to-day actions that are aligned with your company's objectives.
4. Connect Performance Evaluations to Company Values
Are your performance evaluations tied to the company's values in any way? For example, let's say that creativity is one of your key values. Creativity can be measured in many ways: contributing new ideas, reimagining core processes, and going above and beyond on delivering high quality work. Employee evaluations should be – in part – a way to measure and reflect back to your workforce how well they're embodying your key values and what opportunities they have to improve.
5. Leading by Example: Values at the C-Level
For values and vision to become something more than statements in the company's employee handbook, CEOs, CFOs, etc. have to walk their talk. When you lead by example, workers quickly internalize the fact that values guide the way that your company operates. Provide examples of how values shaped your business decisions or challenged you to creatively solve a problem; discuss the challenges and advantages to being a values-led company. Workers should see both sides of the discussion, and why their leadership has decided it's worthwhile to commit to values.
Communicating and rewarding values in a way that your team internalizes them can be a challenge. But it's a worthwhile endeavor; when values are more than just a note in a handbook or a plaque on the wall, they can have a transformative impact on the way your company does business.