Creating A Corporate Value System That Works

July 30, 2018
Author: Noelle Menendez, M.A.

Our values and beliefs make up who we are, how we make decisions, and how we are internally driven. The same is true for an organization. Within a company, leader teams place an overarching value system to ensure job satisfaction amongst employees and customers. However, a company consists of many individuals who all operate with individual values and belief systems that may not always align with the company-wide value system. The challenge then becomes buy-in. How does leadership inspire their employees to operate with a uniform sense of integrity rather than dictate their behavior?

Remembering our strengths are merely our values in action and shutting down an employee’s best self would only hinder productivity, workplace cohesion, engagement and motivation.(1) This leaves two approaches for organizational value creation:

  • Option 1: Only hire employees who already align with the company’s value system
  • Option 2: Include employees in the value definition process so everyone is represented and feels unified.

Easy choice: option 2.

Creating a deliberate value system or organizational culture stems back to the principles of self-awareness and self-regulation. It is critical as a leader to know your own values and beliefs, and it is equally important to know those of your employees. To successfully accomplish this, create an open environment and dialogue with your employees, set realistic expectations, and be willing to adjust the organizations mission statement to reflect the company’s true culture and purpose.

“Corporate values are about attitude; shared beliefs are about mindset.”(2)

Teams experience long-term success when they feel they are collectively supporting an overall mission and operate with the same values.(2)

As organizations evolve, so should their value and belief systems. Start off every year with a mission statement and values definition meeting to ensure you are capturing the values of the organization as it exists in that moment. Beforehand, create discussion amongst your team members about how their own values have played a role in their work or how personal beliefs align or don’t align with the company’s. If there are common themes that come from the discussion, address those issues in your definition meeting. Your definition meeting is a great opportunity to create buy-in amongst your team by ensuring their values are represented and creating a culture of transparency.

Additionally, periodically check-in with yourself and your team members throughout the year to see how well you are adhering to the defined values. Doing so will increase self-awareness and give employees an opportunity to reflect on their experiences throughout the year and, if necessary, realign themselves.

To reiterate, defining your organizations values shapes performance and outcomes. The biggest challenge most leaders face is buy-in, and the best way to achieve buy-in is to let the team members have a say in the value system they must operate in. Giving employees this opportunity empowers and motivates them because they feel represented. To increase buy-in make sure the values are clearly communicated, relevant, and embraced by all leadership.(1)

If you would like to know more about how to turn company values into shared employee beliefs, feel free to reach out to HigherEchelon directly for more specific ideas.

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