Core values are among the most crucial parts of a company’s culture. However, it’s often not enough to share them with a new or existing employee. The company must show these values in action.
It’s up to leaders to introduce employees to how their company operates. But what’s the best approach to take to communicate this information? Here are some successful methods to share core values.
Weave values into job descriptions
As the backbone of the company, core values should be woven into hiring dialogues. One way to achieve this is to link and discuss them with aspects of the job description. Job candidates will become aware of your values this way. They will appreciate being reminded of them. This will create an overall positive feeling organization-wide.
Make hiring decisions based on values
Values aren’t as easy to transfer as experience and knowledge, and hiring someone with the wrong kind can inflict harm. Have a list of questions ready to allow you to evaluate their value set and make sure they with your business’ culture.
You can attract new talent by sharing your values with those outside your organization. The right people will come and want to stay long-term if you can show how your organisation looks after its employees and what it expects in return.
Address issues with inadequate performance
If worse comes to worst, you must address any issues with a team member who doesn’t fit your core values immediately. If employees are aware of your expectations for their performance, but aren’t meeting them regardless, set boundaries to show them their shortcomings and the consequences they face.
The entire organization will suffer if you choose to retain someone with conflicting values. This happens more often than you may imagine. For example, a boss might let a top employee’s occasionally inappropriate behaviour go unchecked. Your values should be integrated within performance reviews, both annual and one-to-one reviews.
Communicate with examples from company history
Let the members of your organization know what has worked in the past and what hasn’t. You can just name your values and expect people to grasp them. Give examples of adopting and applying the values across the company.
Talk about what management is currently doing to make sure that all employees are equipped with the techniques, tools, and anything else they might need to enforce important values.
Engage your team
Mission and value statements are passé. They won’t help your team remember your core values – if anyone even reads those for that matter. One more engaging format could be a video of a manager explaining them. Onboarding software is one of the most effective ways to engage new hires. Your employee goals and targets should also reflect those values.
Incorporate values in the employer brand
Your brand should also communicate your core values. This includes messages on the website, social networks, and job ads. You must be able to communicate and demonstrate values clearly in the onboarding process. New staff members should experience core values when interacting with colleagues on a daily basis.
Create dedicated guidelines and content
You could share your values or guidelines through an executive blog on your site by publishing specific content at regular intervals. This might include personal anecdotes and videos of shout-outs, stories, or history. You could also share types of behaviour reinforcing the principle.
Engage your team virtually
Beyond the forms of engagement already listed, you could reconfigure onboarding and orientation content in a consumable online format. Some companies assign a coach to each new employee, who checks in with leaders regularly and has experience in weaving corporate culture into collaboration.
It’s important for your organization to have a human face, one that’s easily perceived by new hires. Despite distancing, your team needs to feel connected, and that’s no easy task. Create videos with interesting facts about leaders and employees using the latest technology available. This will help demonstrate values in action through the eyes of those who live by them and bring them to life.
Build a workshop
Part of the problem with navigating core values and how to apply them in day to day business is that people don’t always understand themselves and what motivates their behaviour. If they did, it would be easier for them to connecting with others based on shared values.
To help your team in this direction, you could create a workshop to communicate how your team members’ personal values can complement those of your organization.
Don’t underestimate stories
An old-fashioned, face to face talk can be powerful and impactful. Through history, stories have been the main way of passing down important ideas. Leaders can make a strong impact by speaking with staff on important matters openly. Of course, they should also listen to their employees’ stories to establish a connection to the core values more easily.
Communicating values in the context of company expansion
As your company grows and the team gets bigger, your culture might change. Expansion often leaves no room for insightful talks about the company’s core values. To ensure core values aren’t forgotten as you grow, here are some additional ways to communicate them in a changing environment.
Values should be part of the team’s lifecycle
This is a difficult task, but not an impossible one. Try to integrate values in recruitment, progression, and exit. Ask yourself which value a given action or decision aligns with. This process links daily behaviour to the impact of an organization, revealing those who don’t subscribe to the values. Then, open talks could show ways of embodying different values, fostering greater inclusion, which would benefit the whole team.
Express values through action
A good leader expresses values through action. If empathy is a value, really listen to employees’ problems. If teamwork is one, don’t tolerate employees talking behind each other’s backs. If customer service is important to the company, try to be helpful when customers call. Those who live by their values are capable of demonstrating integrity, which encourages achievement as well as ethical behaviour.
The connection between values and actions should be clear. Employees will appreciate sharing examples of values in action and explaining this connection. Employees working on projects for the benefit of the community should receive attention if the company claims it values community service. And not only that – they should be seen as setting an example of values in action.
If you must have a values statement, make it simple
An organization’s values, vision, and mission must be expressed in a few sentences at most. In many cases, the statements are overly wordy and complicated and the staff doesn’t understand them. Once you simplify them, discuss them with employees and give real world examples. This will help the organization stick to its core values and excel ethically as long as the values have been set correctly.
Make it visual
The value statement may be helpful for potential clients and new employees learn what the company values, but it won’t necessarily help existing employees keep them in mind. You could place them in conference rooms, break rooms, the reception, and other high traffic areas. They will become a prominent feature that’ll be easier to focus on.
Slideshows are another way to breathe life into values. This form of a “culture deck” is utilized by Netflix, whose slideshow presents reasons why values are important. This is a shareable, easier to digest medium. In the future, being capable of looking back to these values frequently will be a crucial part of your employee engagement strategy.
Create a value and culture playbook
If you have the time, create a playbook around each core value. This will explain what the value means and how you know if you’re living by it. It’s easy to see when you define, develop, and maintain it.
Use values to make decisions
A company’s core values are a framework for actions, decisions, and interaction quality. Apart from referring to them regularly, including in the context of decision-making, a good way for leaders to communicate values is by living up to them consistently. You’ll set an example for your team if you do this.
Explain why values are important
To communicate impactfully, you must address the whys and the whats. The why refers to the reason values are important. How do they relate to the company? Knowing the reason isn’t enough. There is also the what: what’s in it for the team. How will they benefit from complying with the values (apart from keeping their job, of course)?
There should be an emotional connection to the employees within the message. Try to create one. They will remember the values more easily.
Make strategic planning inclusive
Workplace engagement will increase if employees feel included in strategic planning. You should aim not only to inform them of the planned trajectory, but also how it will evolve as well as of any potential changes. Each employee should be able to see how his or her role furthers corporate goals.
Reward employees for living values
An employee who’s publicly rewarded for demonstrating values at the workplace will be quite pleased, but that’s far from the only plus. Your appreciation will motivate other employees to demonstrate similar behaviour.
The reward can be as simple as a gift card or something more notable depending on the situation. Members of the management team shouldn’t be the only ones choosing the individuals who deserve rewards. You should encourage employees to recognize one another because you’ll make sure such valuable behaviour doesn’t go unnoticed.
An additional plus is that employees will be encouraged to demonstrate the values as they look out for them in their peers. Regardless of how you choose to show your appreciation and reward your staff, do so in a timely manner and on a regular basis to make the reward as impactful as possible.
You also need to address behaviour that’s inconsistent with the values. Managers who live by the values and draw attention to how they affect their decisions help their teams see values in action.
Frame decisions and announcements in the right context
Try to frame at least some decisions or company announcements in the context of values. Expressing ways, in which values fit in with leaders and managers’ work and decisions will serve as effective, natural, and positive reinforcement. When leaders’ actions and decisions are misaligned with values, employees will tend to struggle internally.
Create an awards program based on values
Establish a quarterly, biannual, or annual awards program based on values. If teamwork or creativity is one of your company’s values, award an employee for demonstrating it.
Don’t ignore nonverbal communication
Nonverbal communication can make just as much of an impact on your staff as what you say, if not more. A leader’s behaviour communicates values loud and clear even in the presence of a value statement, a mission statement, a list of the company vision, brochures, or anything else. A good leader sets an example. He or she acts when needed and takes a stand against injustice.
Weave the right narrative
Last but not least, the best leaders see themselves as the narrators of their companies. They tell value-based stories reflecting their unique value proposition in a way that’s easy to understand and share.
As your company grows, sharing its vision and culture through a repeated narrative will contribute to seamless communication of values.