Coming up with your company values may have taken several hours of thought, reflection, and discussion. This effort will have been wasted, though, if you stop there and fail to institute these values. So, how do bring your values into the day-to-day operations of your organization? How do you embody them and not just talk about them?
1. Recognize employees when they exhibit those values.
When employees display company values in their work, tell them you noticed. Mention it in conversation, send them an email, or note your appreciation in team-wide or company-wide communications. Accolades motivate. By pointing out how individual employees live the values of the organization, you get everyone thinking about those values and thinking about what they can do to realize them in their work.
2. Include them in performance reviews.
If you don’t hold your employees accountable to the organization’s values, then your values don’t matter. They’re just words. Signs on the page. Sound in the air. If you want your values to matter—to mean something in the organization—then you need to make following them a job requirement. Cover them in performance reviews. Go over with employees where you saw those values in their work and attitude—and where you didn’t see them.
“You can’t just make values happen. You can’t just make them appear in peoples’ work.”
3. Ask customers and clients to hold you accountable to them.
Are your customers given the option of taking a survey following your service to them? They should be. Ask them how well you exhibited your stated values. Ask them for specifics, and use what they tell you to evaluate your service. Share your findings with the team and get their insight on what changes could be made. Encourage them to be creative.
You can’t just make values happen. You can’t just make them appear in peoples’ work. But with these three steps, you can encourage employees to take ownership of the organization’s values, making them real and making them matter.