It’s one thing to establish a unique set of core values as a company. It’s another thing entirely to bring them to life! There isn’t just one answer for ingraining values into your culture. There are many answers, and they should be used in conjunction with one another. Here’s a list of some ways to get started:
Start with onboarding
Instilling core values into your culture starts during onboarding. List the company values in job descriptions and talk about them during the interview process. That way, new hires will come into orientation already having heard the words and understand their meaning. Continue to talk about them during the onboarding process as they are adjusting and learning their new role.
Here at RecogNation, we have a “Corporate Orientation” for new employees. Typically a few weeks after their first day, all new hires gather with our CEO to learn more about our company. They talk about the core values, the culture, and other fun facts about the company’s history. It ends with a trivia session for a friendly competition to review. We recommend implementing something similar as a fun way to bring your values to life!
Tie recognition to values
Recognition is one of the most effective ways to infuse company values into your culture. Highlight the traits and behaviors that you want to see more of. One way to do this is through nominations. Give your employees the opportunity to nominate their peers when they witness values being lived out. Once a nomination is approved, the recognized employee can be given a reward. Studies show that both the person giving the praise and the one receiving it will feel empowered!
Put them on display
Put your organization’s values on display somewhere in the office. Reading them daily will keep them top-of-mind and remind employees to consciously try to live them out. Another way to put them on display is by getting branded eCards. Team members can send a specific eCard when they notice a certain value in another individual.
Let’s say one employee puts extra energy and effort into training a new employee. A peer or leader may take note of that then send the “Nurture” eCard along with a note of gratitude. This is also a great way to engage remote employees.
Make them easy to remember
Having your core values spell out a word can be a helpful way for employees to remember them. For example, our values spell out the word INSPIRED. Unless your leadership team is in the process of re-evaluating your culture, they may already be set in stone. Acronyms of any kind can be memorable, even if they don’t spell a real word. Consider creating a catchy phrase, or even a jingle of some kind, to make it stick in the minds of employees.
Publicly highlight values being lived out
Acknowledge when company values are being lived out in front of large groups when possible. Whether it’s a team, department, or the entire organization. Post a shoutout in your digital platform or verbally call it out in a monthly meeting. Doing this gives visibility into what it looks like when people are actually living out organizational values. It can be empowering and affirming to those receiving the recognition. Best of all, it can inspire the rest of your team members to emulate the same behaviors.
Core values guide both front-line employees and leaders. As a leader, commit to living them out and setting the example for the rest of your employees. Don’t just talk the talk…walk the walk, too!