How to Proactively Manage Your Culture through Your Values

Most organizations have bought into the “value of values,” investing the time (often at the executive level) in determining the company values – those behaviors and attributes most desired from employees to achieve company success. I’ve seen company values lists as long as 15 items and as short as 1.

Regardless of length, if the company values remain nothing more than a plaque on the wall, the exercise of creating them is useless. These values must be made real by instilling them in the hearts and minds of employees such that every employee understands what those values mean in his or her daily work.

How do you do that? By recognizing and rewarding employees every time they demonstrate these values. This makes an abstract idea like “integrity” or “risk-taking” real and meaningful – and makes it clear to employees precisely what it is that management finds valuable.

But achieving this level of values-based recognition is not enough. The executive and management team can gain far greater benefit by charting where and how frequently these values are recognized.

For example, a Globoforce client recently shared with us the greater benefit they are realizing by recognizing and charting values-based behaviors by department. Two of their values are “risk taking” and “achieving results.” The client was appalled to see that in the R&D department, far more recognition was received for “achieving results” than for “risk taking.”

This is precisely the opposite of the recognition and reward scenario this client wanted to see out of its R&D group. They need their R&D team to be frequently taking risks to find the next great idea. Leadership does not expect every risky idea to turn into a successful “result.” But if the people in R&D don’t take risks, the “next great thing” will never be discovered.

Thanks to the insight gleaned from their Strategic Recognition Values Distribution Chart, our client was able to intervene in the R&D department to remind managers and employees alike that “taking risks” – even before results of any kind are known – should be praised and rewarded.

How do you know your employees understand and apply your values in their daily work? How can you be sure they’re focusing where you need them to for greatest success?

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