As the company’s leader, you expect a resounding “yes” to this question! But is that accurate? One way to gauge things would be to practice some good old MBWA (Management By Wandering Around). What do you see? Are your people fully engaged in applying the company’s values to their work? Do they even know what the company values are? And if they do, how strongly do your employees really believe in the values and look for ways that they and their colleagues can see them in action?
You might be surprised by what you learn. According to a recent Gallup survey, just 27% of employees responded with a “strongly agree” when it comes to believing in their company’s values. And just 23% of employees from this same survey responded with a “strongly agree” to being able to apply the company’s values to the work they do every day.
These are sobering statistics. The company’s values are the heartbeat of an organization. Your employees use them to create energy around their projects and to foster strong cross-functional collaboration. Impactful values can also be the key ingredient to attracting and retaining top talent, which is critically important for your company’s future.
So, what can you do as a leader to revitalize your company’s values and create that amazing work culture where your people not only thrive, but also become huge advocates for your organization as THE place to work?
My experience has shown there are three key areas to ensure success:
- Your values should be clear, crisp, and easy to understand and remember. Ideally, they would be inspirational and resonate with all employees and your customers. Try the “values test” by asking your people what the values are and how they make them come alive in your company. Any blank stares will speak volumes!
- The company’s leaders need to “walk the talk”. If employees see leaders behaving in ways that don’t represent the company’s values, they will tune out what they hear. And those critically important values become mere words pasted on the lobby wall.
- Employee role models make a huge difference. Seeing people in your organization proudly and actively living the values is contagious! Soon, others start to see and hear the same drumbeat. Ideally, even your customers will take note by the positive customer experiences they have.
Strong values are key to a strong culture. Holding everyone accountable for knowing and living the company’s values is imperative to build and sustain a winning working environment.