Your company values are such an essential piece of your organizational culture and brand. But while the executive leadership may understand the list of these values deeply — even maybe had a hand in creating them — you have to ensure that this understanding trickles down the organization to people at every level. Why bother having core company values if nobody even knows what they are?
Clearly there seems to be a direct line between understanding company values and engagement and working toward company goals. This is good news for organizations — you just are in charge of ensuring your employees know your company values backward and forward. However, that’s not as easy as it seems. Companies who do have a solid core of values have to reinforce them within their organization. It’s more than just handing over a manual during new-hire orientation; employees should be engaging with their company values on a daily basis.
Here at TINYpulse, for example, we have one strategy that helps to drive engagement with organizational values. In cross-departmental groups, we role-play scenarios and discuss how we would respond to the situation based on our core company values. Many other companies have many other ways to achieve this same goal, and you can delve into three more ideas for increasing employee engagement with your values.
Implement a Real-Time Peer-to-Peer Recognition System
Values-based rewards should be a key component to your employee recognition program. Just look at the statistics from SRHM/Globoforce , measuring employees who responded “yes” to these three statements:
Employees who take part in a values-based recognition program feel more appreciated for their work, every step of the way.
But to boost the emphasis on organizational values, DecisionWise implemented a real-time, peer-to-peer reward program. Every two weeks, each employee at DecisionWise is given five tokens, each one representing one of the core company values — vitality, authenticity, drive, expertise, care, and family. When they see one of their peer employees exemplifying a value, they hand them one of the tokens of that value. Tokens can then be redeemed for cash and non-cash prizes.
This program reinforces behavior that lives those values, consistently reinforcing the values and ensuring that these behaviors are rewarded.
Decide Who You Would Send to Mars
No, this isn’t a way of getting rid of underperforming employees. It’s a strategy of identifying and understanding your company’s core values. The idea of the Mars group is to imagine you are leading a new branch of your organization on the planet Mars but that you only have room on the spaceship for five to seven people. The catch is that you must send the best people for the job. By identifying these five to seven people, what you’re really identifying is the people who embody the values you find most important to your company.
Have everyone on the team do this exercise and see which people consistently overlap across employees’ decisions. See who leaders and managers in the organization choose. Then have a discussion over what this means to the core values of your company.
According to Jim Collins, who discussed the idea of the Mars group, this values exercise should bring about a dialogue about several key questions:
By thinking about core values as people, not just a list of words, it helps your employees self-identify with and more deeply understand what the values entail.
Have Your Company Values Go Visual
Company “culture decks” are buzzing through the human resources world right now. They are a visual representation of your values, the things your company holds as most important.
The most visible example of a successful culture deck was a slideshow created by Netflix, titled “Netflix Culture: Freedom & Responsibility,” The 124-slide, easy-to-read slideshow walked employees — and outsiders — through Netflix’s core company values and why they are important. Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg called Netflix’s culture deck “the most important document ever to come out of the Valley” — and considering her own company, that’s massive praise.
The culture deck has been viewed more than 3 million times, and it sparked a revolution in many big business HR departments. HubSpot and Zappos jumped on board the new model of showcasing organizational goals.
The keys here are that not only is it a breeze to read and understand, written in conversational language with examples, but it is shareable. It puts your organizational values front and center as representative of your company as a whole, unshakably intertwined.Company values are well and good, but they are absolutely moot unless your employees understand and live them. Ensure that communicating these values daily is a strong part of your employee engagement strategy.