3.6 out of 5 from 36 votes
Company values articulate those things that an organisation genuinely believes in. Used effectively, they are like a cultural glue to ‘connect’ the team and support a social community based on shared goals. The most committed employees I see are from non-profit organisations where the values are really 'lived' - so this how-to explains how to align your values with your HR practices!
Attract like-minded people (both employees & volunteers) by being upfront about your values from the start - include them in your recruitment material, on application forms etc. This way people can see what you believe in and whether these values are aligned with their own.
At the interview stage, explore this further by having structured questions around each value. Don't just ask people if they agree with them - they'll just tell you what they think you want to hear! Instead, ask what the values mean to them & how they demonstrate them.
For example, if your values were Respect, Innovation and Accountability, use questions such as
As a result, you will recruit people who will be far more motivated & committed to the success of the organisation and its goals.
It can be easy for people to forget what your company values are if they are never mentioned! Don't just rely on posters to keep them in the forefront of people's mind. Instead, communicate them actively through talking about them in meetings, training events, one-to-ones etc. Have a 'Value of the Month' to focus on, or as an agenda item at meetings. Discuss what the values mean in practice - what they look like, sound like, feel like! Get people to share examples (good or bad!) of when they or other people have demonstrated them. Relate them to specific activities, such as customer service, teamworking etc.
An important way to keep the values alive and to ensure they are being lived, is to align your performance management processes with them. When reviewing and appraising staff, assess performance against the values - to what extent have people demonstrated, shared & improved them? Have performance standards and measures that clearly define what 'good' looks like in each area.
Provide development opportunities for your company values in the same way as you enable people to develop their skills and knowledge. Set individual personal development objectives that relate to values that people need to improve in. There may not be a training course to teach people about a particular value, but activities such as coaching, mentoring, facilitated discussions, workshadowing, writing Reflective Learning Statements etc. are all ways in which people can develop more of an understanding and a commitment to demonstrating values in their job role.
Reinforce values by acknowledging positive behaviours in some way - for example, rewarding great examples of putting values into practice, or ways that people have helped develop the values in others (such as sharing ways to demonstrate them, or coming up with new ways to communicate them.)
Rewards don't have to be costly - thankyou cards and small gifts (e-cards are free and environmentally-friendly!), mentions in newsletters and meetings, an 'Employee/Volunteer of the Month' awards etc. can all help - and never underestimate the power of praise! Not only does this make people feel appreciated and more motivated, it also raises the profile of your company values and gives people even more of an incentive to live them day to day.
Finally, remember that it's no good if people are able to recite a list of values or value statements if they can't actually describe what these mean to them or to the way they work! So don't worry if people tend to forget the actual words or phrases you use for your values - the important thing is that they understand the principles behind them and how they can exhibit them in their daily job role.
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