How to Get Working, Results-Driven, Livable Company Values

Recognize This! – When your values are real and livable for employees in their daily work, it helps increase employee engagement dramatically.

Today I wrap up my last workshop on “How to Build Your Winning Culture of Recognition” for 2012. Regular readers of this blog wouldn’t be surprised that one of the key tenets we discuss in the workshop is building your recognition program around what is of strategic importance to your organization – your company values and objectives.

Why is this such a key tenet? My colleagues at Globoforce just wrapped up a three-part blog series on the GloboBlog explaining why. Key points from each post are below:

Get Your Values Off The Wall and Put Them to Work for You (1 of 3)

In the soon-to-be-announced SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey, we found that when companies tie recognition to corporate values, high engagement levels rise by more than 100%.

Get Your Values off the Wall and Get Results from Them (2 of 3)

In IBM’s 2012 Global CEO Study, conducted with 1,709 CEOs, general managers and senior public sector leaders around the globe, CEO’s ranked Ethics and Values as their #1 focus, and the report recommended that companies: “Build values employees will live out. Allow the organization to collectively compose its core values. Thinking and behaving in ways consistent with the organization’s values cannot be induced. Employees must truly believe in the purpose, mission and values of the organization. And to develop a shared belief system, employees must help create it.”

Yet, interestingly, the same SHRM/Globoforce Survey mentioned in my last post found that only 50% of companies have recognition programs tied back to their company values.

Get Your Values Off The Wall and Make Them Livable (3 of 3)

Values are only as good as they are understandable and livable. If they are not clear or your people are not aligned with them, that plaque on your wall might as well be graffiti. (And as a little side rant, forcing employees to wear them on badges or submit to random on-the-spot quizzes is NOT making them livable. Believe me, I speak from experience. I worked for a company once who military-drilled the values into us, and though I could recite them on command, I still had no clue as to how those values actually affected me or my job.)

A Real-World Example of Working, Results-Driven, Livable Values

To wrap up this post, let me share with you this story of how John Duffy, the CEO of 3C Interactive, makes the value of “respect” real in his company (from The New York Times):

“We have absolutely clear discussions with everyone about how respect is the thing that cannot be messed with in our culture. We will not allow a cancer. When we have problems with somebody gossiping, or someone being disrespectful to a superior or a subordinate, or a peer, it is swarmed on and dealt with. We don’t always throw that person out, though there are times when you have to do that. But we make everyone understand that the reason the culture works is that we have that respect. And there is a comfort level and a feeling of safety inside our business.”

How real are your values in your organization? Do your employees know how to live them in their daily work or can they only recite them on command (if that)?

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