Company values are often plastered all over office foyers, featured front and centre of employee handbooks and adorned all over the Intranet. This is a recurring reminder to employees about what the company stands for. While it is great to have the values clearly articulated, how connected are employees to them? Is it just corporate rhetoric?
Being open with your company mission and values is essential, but every employee must also believe in them. If you want your people to align with the organisational goals and values, you also need to live and breathe them — that is, walk the talk.
Businesses with strong values that are role modelled and driven from the top-down are able to attract and retain the best talent. This directly influences the bottom line. For values to make a positive impact, they need to be a part of the day-to-day culture, no matter whether this is in the office, working from home, or a hybrid of the two.
As an example, one of our core values at Evolved is collaboration. This is something we live and breathe not only when working with clients, but internally. Our open office plan encourages cross-team collaboration, and since working from home, we’ve started several initiatives to keep collaboration top of mind. From weekly small-group chats, to keeping colleagues connected through step challenges, our team resonates with this value because they live it every day.
Here are five areas to consider when examining whether your company values are aligned with those of the organisation’s most important asset, its people.
1. Are your company values clear enough for people to understand?
Many companies spend thousands to wordsmith beautiful statements, but if there is a disconnect between the organisation’s culture and its employees, there is a big problem. Employee engagement, retention and productivity will only suffer — which, of course, has a ripple effect on overall customer experience.
What to do:
- Ensure your company values are readily accessible to everyone. Company values should be communicated so that they become second nature.
- Make sure the language used to describe each value is something that everyone across the company can relate to.
- A values recognition program can be an impactful way to share across the business different ways people bring the values to life. The program can be monthly, quarterly or annual, depending on the size of the company, and the ‘prize’ could also represent the values. As an example, a company that had a value of ‘Bold’ gave the monthly winner use of an Orange Convertible car – a very bold prize, indeed.
2. Are your company values realistic and actionable?
If you want employees to live the values, they need to genuinely be relatable and achievable. There is no point in having ambiguous, overly ambitious values that are impossible for every single person within your organisation to align with.
What to do:
- Avoid airy-fairy values that don’t truly mean anything.
- Provide specific examples on how the values may be demonstrated so nothing gets lost in translation or is wrongly assumed.
- Let’s say one of your values is open communication. What does this look like in everyday behaviour? One of the actions could be: “Everyone in the organisation is encouraged to provide constructive feedback when they see something that doesn’t work.”
3. Do your company values form part of your recruitment strategy?
If one of your values is collaboration, you are unlikely to hire someone who appears to want to work by themselves all the time, not share ideas or get feedback from others. Sooner or later, this person will become a negative influence on your company culture.
What to do:
- As part of the recruitment process, the language used in your job advertisements and on your company careers page should align and reflect the values.
- Develop and distribute a set of behavioural questions related to your company values to see how the candidates aligns with them.
- Integrate the values within your performance review process and have each person provide feedback on how they align to the values and then this is discussed as part of the review process with their leader.
4. Are your employees engaged in bringing your values to life?
Whilst it is common to involve your employees when the values are being developed, it is also helpful to get feedback over time on how well the values are being lived each day. This feedback could be gained on a more regular basis or at a time when there is significant change happening.
What to do:
- Regular check-ins. We recently wrote about the benefits of having a regularly occurring employee insights program. One such use case is that it enables you to engage with employees regarding how your organisation is going about living and breathing your company values.
- Ensure your management practices are effective in role modelling the values.
5. Is your company considering social impact and beyond?
Adopting socially responsible values goes a long way towards attracting and retaining customers and employees. Socially responsible businesses attract employees eager to make a difference in the world: the bigger the company, the more significant the potential social impact. Collective employee efforts achieve excellent outcomes, contributing to a boost in employee morale and productivity.
What to do:
- Consider getting involved in causes that are in alignment with your business. Not just superficially – but truly get involved e.g. Provide pro bono work to charities, update your processes, materials, equipment etc to become more environmentally friendly, host fundraising days and encourage your employees to get involved as much as they can etc
- Alternatively, consider options such as one paid day per year per employee, so they can go and volunteer for a charity close to their heart. This way, employees gain fulfilment, and your business can have a positive impact on a wide range of social issues.
Unsure where to start? Gain valuable employee insights through EVE
So, we’ve gone through a few steps you can take to ensure your values align with your employees’ values. But how do you get started?
This is where Conversational AI comes in. We use our Conversational AI companion, EVE, to chat with your employees to assess:
- Whether employees understand and align with your values
- How your brand and management team embody these values
- What can be done to better embody these values
Important and real-time employee feedback at scale
EVE is the most advanced Conversational AI chat technology available, providing invaluable insights by chatting with your employees in a human-like way.
EVE analyses each answer and tailors the following questions based on keywords detected, which means no one gets the same set of questions. This allows you to gain information you wouldn’t otherwise receive in a one-on-one meeting or a traditional survey.
Uncover employee sentiment and values at a quick glance
EVE knows what’s important — because your employees told her. Advanced text analytics methods are used to analyse and visualise employee feedback at scale, including sentiment analysis, text clustering, auto-coding and emotional thematic analytics. EVE presents the insights visually, in an easy and clever way.