Every organization has values that showcase what it stands for. In most cases, these are words like innovation, collaboration, or integrity that are used in the company’s mission statement and emblazoned on the walls. As important as many companies think their values are, in reality, most companies have similar values. Nearly every organization emphasizes things like trust, quality work, and authenticity.
So if the words themselves aren’t unique, what makes your company different? Employees don’t care as much about the words themselves as they do with how the values come to life. It’s one thing to say your organization values transparency and another thing to actually showcase transparency every day. It should be evident what your company stands for just by looking around the office.
Here are five ways to make your company’s values come to life:
1. Do a value audit.
Look around the physical workspace to see if you can find the values in action. Look for employees who are live the values or procedures that encourage the values. If you can easily see the values, your organization is likely doing a good job of bringing them to life. However, if you can’t see the values or if you see the opposite values in action, it’s probably time for an overhaul.
2. Start at the top.
Values should be personified by top leaders at the company. If the CEO and other executives make things like innovation and empathy part of their mindsets and actions, those values will flow to the rest of the employees and become a crucial part of the company.
3. Get employee feedback.
Ask employees how they think the organization is doing. Can they name the values without looking at them? Employees who are in the trenches often have better recommendations of how to improve the values and overall culture.
4. Focus on purpose.
Modern employees want a sense of purpose at work. They’re more likely to be engaged and live the values if they see the impact of their work. Make sure each employee knows how their responsibilities impact customers and the company.
5. Reward values.
Back up the words with rewards. If your company values collaboration and teamwork, reward employees that showcase those characteristics. Employees naturally work towards whatever is rewarded, so focusing on values can encourage people to find their own way to apply the values.
Many companies have similar values, but that doesn’t mean every company is the same. Focus on bringing the values to life and turning them into the walk and talk of your company instead of just words on an inspirational poster. Truly applying the values will help separate your organization from the rest.
Huge thanks to VMware for sponsoring this episode! If you want a free copy of my upcoming book The Future Leader, go to http://bit.ly/vmwareee