David Shanklin -
August 12, 2015
Defining, Adopting, and Reinforcing Your Organization’s Core Values
Core values are critically important to creating a great workplace. They act as the baseline contract between all members of the organization: leaders and employees alike. They serve as the shared commitment each employee makes to one another about how they will behave and make decisions, so leader and employee behaviors become predictable. This is the essence of trust. When leaders are committed to modeling the core values and their actions become predictable, fear within an organization disappears. Employees know how leaders will act and make decisions, and they know that they will consider the best interest of employees in these actions.
Core #values are the baseline contract between all members of the organization: leaders and employees alike.
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The biggest challenge with organizational values is ensuring ALL leaders and employees stick to them. This, of course, starts at the top. In addition to daily practice of values, leaders should also be communicating with language that includes how the values are formally articulated. This further reinforces their importance and commitment. Finally, organizational policies and practices must also clearly align to and reinforce an organization’s values.
The cultures of the Best Companies that we recognize on our lists are built upon strong core values that help to guide action and decision making on a daily basis. For example:
Core Values at Your Organization: Define, Adopt, Reinforce
So what’s next? Your organization likely falls into one of three camps, each of which has immediate action you can take to grow the levels of trust in your organization:
As noted here, if you are lucky enough to work for an organization in Camp 3, it’s all about continually reinforcing the values. What we’ve found most effective with our clients here at Great Place to Work® is to ensure every leader is continually working on one thing to become a higher-trust leader. This one thing should be discovered through conversation with direct reports, and be directly connected to the organization’s values. If your organization falls into Camps 1 or 2, it will be imperative to engage senior leaders in a discussion about core values. There will need to be a concerted effort to define or refresh the organization’s values, and further, to integrate the values into the everyday language and practices of the company for widespread adoption. This effort must be driven by senior leaders, led by the CEO, and fully involve employees. The good news is that there is no more impactful action you can take for your culture. If your organization falls into category 1 or 2 above, look no further for the place to start your journey to becoming a great workplace. Great workplaces and great cultures are built on trust, and high-trust organizations are built on strong values that are consistently lived by all.