3 Best Practices for Creating a Values-Based Company
Jul 15, 2017 - Nita Kirby, Director of Client Solutions
Creating a value-based company and culture isn’t a one step process. It involves honing in on what your employees want, need, and believe in. Pinpointing these is just one part of the company values process that will get your employees and your organization headed in the right direction.
“Being a great place to work is the difference between being a good company and a great company.” – Brian Kristofek, President, and CEO, Upshot
73% of employers believe a great corporate culture gives their organizations a competitive edge. And as you might guess culture starts with what your company values. But here’s the thing, a company doesn’t have values, the people working on it and IN it DO. So, what are the next steps in truly integrating values into your culture? Let’s take a look:
Walk the Walk
What’s the point in stating all these company values but then not following them to their full extent? Hint: there isn’t one. You, as a manager, CEO, supervisor or employee can’t just talk the talk, you have to lead by example too. Let’s say you focus on philanthropy and CSR initiatives via community involvement. It’s not enough for your organization to simply donate a check once a year. You have to be sure to provide resources for employees to learn more about your company efforts and give them ways to get involved.
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This requires patience, consistency and a plan. Get your values printed on t-shirts, integrate them into performance reviews, give recognition when an employee lives out a value. The more you reinforce your values, the more people will start connecting the dots.
If integrity is a value, you have to bear that out when a dicey situation rears its ugly head in accounting. If transparency is a value your company espouses, it’s crucial to live that out wherever you can, from compensation to performance feedback. The bottom line is you cannot simply place values on your website and never live them out. Use troublesome or new situations to show your employees that values can be more than stated, they can be lived. If the rest of your team follows suit, it creates a continuous loop of progress, productivity, and success.
Share in Success
One way you spread company values is by making others feel they are valued as well. Share in the success of your company and make it a place that employees are proud of and proud to work for. Therein lies the opportunity to get employees to work towards enhance your values and culture so that it can be a great place to work. Encourage managers to praise employees, and employees to share stories of success and encouragement on the company intranet or in meetings. Taking five minutes to tell how Susan wowed the board with her proposal, will not only make Susan feel great but it will serve as an example to other employees, who might see this as a tangible way to live out “excellence” as a value.
Elaborate on this by also giving employees their own chance at success. Show them when and how they have contributed to the accomplishments of the business as a whole. These elements together will result in employees who care about the company and want to see change and progression in its evolving culture. Think this is tough to do? It isn’t. You can give employees credit on social media, have an employee of the month club or even give internal atta boys and atta girls to employees living in out the values of the company. Not only does this promote alignment, it reinforces the values for newer employees or those who may not have completely internalized your value structure.
These days, everyone wants to make a difference. A survey of ours found that there has been a 6% increase in global consumer awareness of the role corporations must play in promoting CSR. And, the same goes for employees or candidates you have to be hiring - they want to ensure they are working with a responsible company! That’s why it’s important to understand what you can do to participate in doing social good for a charity or even just giving to your local community. Hold volunteer days, ask for donations and more to make employees feel like they are working towards a better cause.
You can visibly point to impact with company leaderboards, an internal ticker that counts donations or time, posting pictures of your endeavors online and so much more!
Integrating your values and company culture doesn’t have to be a difficult talk. In fact, simply knowing what your values are is great progress. However, be sure to remember to listen to your employees, be an example, and, most of all, make sure your team actually feels like one.
“Corporate culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage that is completely within the control of the entrepreneur.” – David Cummings, Co-Founder, Pardot
It can be difficult for teams to stay engaged if they never see any tangible impact from their efforts. For some jobs, think sales or design, it’s easy to see the end result of their hard work, but for others, like service or operations, sometimes the result is more opaque. The same holds true for values based work. If your impact isn’t measured and shared with the team, you run the risk of discouraging some of your biggest advocates!
Want to see more ways you can improve on culture within your community? Philanthropy and CSR efforts could be the answer!