6 ways to strengthen values in your workplace
Company values create a powerful declaration of your intentions for your organization’s culture. And in an always-changing environment, they are the glue that holds a workplace together. Values going right keep your organization moving forward, but issues with values can become very visible very fast.
Research shows, low employee survey scores on values signal a disconnect between your stated core values and what’s actually reflected through action. There are many possible causes, but we recommend paying attention to these three:
- Senior leaders who don’t model the company values. Hold them accountable when they falter.
- Hiding bad or difficult company news. Most employees value honesty and humility over comfortable ignorance.
- Underestimating the importance of communicating about company values. It’s one of the clearest, easiest ways for leadership to state their intentions for the culture.
Here’s what company values sound like in employee survey feedback: “Our values are at the core of what we do. We don’t just talk about values … we live by them.”
Consider these six ideas for strengthening your company’s core values:
1. If you don’t have stated company values, create them! If you’re not sure your values are right for your culture now, consider revisiting them.
2. Choose a communication channel to reinforce company values, celebrate them in action, and provide a safe way to learn about violations.
3. Make company values part of the everyday conversation. Research has shown that employees who keep values top-of-mind are often more engaged.
4. Recognize people who live your company values. Find meaningful ways to appreciate and reinforce their commitment.
5. Tie company announcements and celebrations to company values. Consider how you and your leadership represent your values every day.
6. Encourage and empower employees to consider values when uncertain about their decisions.
Done right, here’s what company values sound like in employee survey feedback: “What impresses me most is that our values are not simply presented and then ignored. They are practiced every day by the leadership team and across the organization.”
Laura Brinton is content marketing director at Energage, a Philadelphia-based research and consulting firm that surveyed more than 2 million employees at more than 7,000 organizations in 2019. Energage is The Washington Post’s research partner for Top Workplaces.