Many businesses work to create a culture that is attractive to people both inside and out of the company. They create company statements that focus on ideas like innovation, development and improving the future. Unfortunately, too many of these businesses think stating their corporate values is enough and fail to act in ways that promote them. Once created, their principles sit ignored on the shelf, only to be dusted off when the company needs to craft a good press release.
This failure to promote corporate values has two negative effects:
- It encourages employees to leave the business for somewhere better. According to Gallup's "State of the American Workplace" report, 51 percent of people are actively looking for or open to taking a new job. When staff members see their businesses failing to live up to its stated values, they look for a place that does.
- Employees who remain become less engaged. They start thinking it's okay to ignore these standards since the business does nothing to promote them. At best, this disengagement results in a drop in productivity. At worst, it becomes a media scandal as accusations of misconduct become public. In such cases, the Harvard Business Review pointed out, a company is better having never written its values in the first place.
Businesses can't let their principles become an afterthought. Instead, values must become an integral part of all operations.
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Promoting values with ongoing performance management
One of the most surefire ways to reinforce company values is by mixing it with your ongoing performance management strategy. These methods require frequent check ins with your staff, and such meetings are the perfect opportunity to talk about values. Take these three steps during your next one-on-one meeting:
1. Compliment your staff when their actions exemplify a company value
For example, if your business prioritizes sustainability, commend an employee who recycles at work or uses paper-saving methods. Even slight praise reinforces such positive behavior.
2. Give feedback when your staff fails to live up to a value
If your business values transparency and an employee is caught trying to cover a mistake, for instance, remind that person that honesty is important to your company. You don't have to be overly critical, but it's important to redirect your staff when they act in ways that don't support your business's mission.
3. Ask employees to evaluate how their assignments and ambitions reflect company values
Requiring your staff to reflect on their daily work forces them to see how their task list supports the business. It also reminds them of the importance of their jobs.
Meshing company values with ongoing performance management is the perfect option to support proper conduct. With the right strategy, your employees become creative, engaged problem-solvers and your company culture thrives.