In my previous blog, we have discussed the importance of core values and how to set them in your organization. The next step is to communicate and integrate these core values into your organization, which I’ll be discussing in this blog post. Many companies will define their core values, publicly share them as prints in the offices and stores and post them on their website, and just stop here. Eventually, the core values get ignored. According to Michael Hyatt, the author of the New York Times bestseller, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, it is crucial to translate the core values into behaviours that are easy to understand by your employees. He has identified 6 ways to communicate the core values to every member of the organization as I have elaborated on below:
Living the values – Leading by example is the best communication tool any leader possesses. A survey conducted by Deloitte has found that 70% of the employees who agreed that their companies had performed well financially said their executive management team speaks to them often about the core values associated with the culture of the company. Albert Bandura, a famous psychologist, coined the term “observational learning” – human beings are social and learn by observing others. Therefore, it is important for you and others in your organization that have influence to live the values so that others can learn.
Teaching the values– Integrating the values into new employees’ orientation training program. It is helpful to tell the story behind each value chosen and what your organization expects in terms of behaviours related to the values. An interesting data from “Recognition Linked to Core Values Delivers Increased ROI” shows that 88% of employees who know their core values say they are engaged compared to 54% of respondents who say they did not know any of their company’s core values.
Recognizing the values– Reinforcing the behaviours of people who are demonstrating the core values by rewarding them in real time. Based on the article “Recognition Linked to Core Values Delivers Increased ROI”, 79% of employees say recognition tied to core values gave them a stronger sense of company goals and objectives. Some companies would have the “Core Value Employee of the Month” where every member of the organization vote for the person they view as endorsing the core values of the company the most, and this person is recognized company wide.
Hiring new people based on the values – Recruiting people who already have values that are in alignment with the company’s core values. This point is linked to the Competency Iceberg model which demonstrates that 20% of an individual (above the surface of an iceberg) is mostly the technical competencies i.e. education, work experience, whereas 80% (the hidden/below the surface of an iceberg) is all about the essence of the individual i.e. values and beliefs. Competency-based recruiting has been focusing on hiring people based on the “below the surface” competencies as those cannot be trained. You can always easily train a person on how to do a job, but it becomes much harder to train a person to have the same values as your organization.
Reviewing people based on the values – Incorporating core values as part of your performance management process. Each core value comes with a set of behaviours that are measurable and specific that forms part of performance review. For example, one feature of 7Geese is to enable employees to be recognized whenever they behave in alignment with a core value. Our customers then use this data during an employee’s performance review to measure alignment to core values. Reviewing people based on values is interrelated with rewarding people for demonstrating the values. During performance reviews, your managers can coach and support employees on how to demonstrate the core values which eventually lead to recognition and rewards.
Letting people go based on values – As mentioned above, it is very hard to train a person to behave consistently in alignment with core values if they don’t truly have those values themselves. No matter how good of a performer that employee is, at the end of the day, your organization needs to maintain its credibility and commitment to its core values. It is important to make a distinction here as I am not suggesting letting people go based on their personal values and beliefs. Rather, we want to ensure that people who stay in the company have the ability to demonstrate behaviours related to the core values. For example, if being ethical is one of your core values, it would be detrimental to keep an employee who is cooking the books, no matter how well he is doing his job.
By clearly communicating and integrating your company’s core values with the processes such as recruitment and performance management, you can increase employee engagement which in turn leads to higher productivity and reduced turnover. In my future posts, I’ll be covering how to integrate core values into recruitment and performance management processes in more details. Let’s take a more proactive role when it comes to core values.