July 24, 2017

How to Instill the Right Company Values in Your Organization

With Millennials and Generation Z becoming larger portions of the workforce, companies need to pay more attention to their company culture and how people feel when going to work. Modern young people have a plethora of options for where to work and are choosing employers that offer organizational values in line with their own.

Gone are the days of work merely being about clocking in for a paycheck and gone are the days of managers and employers being able to get away without caring about the atmosphere and values of their company.

As you sit down to figure out how to develop an effective company culture and a set of company values that represent your organization, you will need to particularly look at how these will compare with other organizations your ideal hires may be looking at. Develop a company the best job talent will want to work for. It means you will need to first take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and brainstorm how you can better create an enjoyable place of work for prospective employees.

Take the time to even ask them what they want in a workplace. Once you have an idea of what you need to create in your place, the harder part is executing a strong company culture, but these are three of major mindsets you will need to utilize.

1. Start at the top

Company culture and organizational values start at the top. If executives demonstrate a lack of interest in the company’s values, then their employees will not respect them either. That will lead to flawed work environments. Make sure your executives know what the priorities are your organization and that every action they take actively reinforces those values. Whether they are setting budgets, issuing memos, or deciding a promotion, the executive team needs to go above and beyond to set an example for the company.

All of the executives ought to take a role in establishing the company culture, but beyond the rest, the COO is crucial for the success of company culture development. As the key figure who runs the operations of an organization, ultimately the COO is in charge of establishing work flows and work environments.

With more and more companies relying heavily on the work of their COO and placing company culture as one of the foremost concerns for their organization, COO training has become a major option for many. COO’s are not allowed to have mistakes because even a single mistake can trickle down into the implied company culture and leave long run repercussions.

2. Utilize feedforward systems

Many are familiar with the concept of feedback and having sit-down sessions with employees and managers, but these often lack efficacy. Feedback comes with the negative connotation of evaluating past behavior as either “good” or “bad” and can quickly turn into petty nitpicking, rather than constructive conversations about the future.

Feedforward is pretty much feedback, except rather than focusing on discussing past occurrences, it requires managers and employees to have an open discussion about how to improve for future performance.

Part of what can make feedforward as effective as possible is first to require it occurs at least once per month, with a larger scale version once per year.

This frequency can help reinforce a dialogue between employees and managers, while also ensuring problems to begin to develop and fester. Secondly, continually go back to the company values to evaluate future performance and how people can better achieve these values.

Utilizing the company values will make sure everyone constantly thinks regarding what is important for the organization and also makes it easier to analyze performance objectively.

3. Have a line-in-the-sand

At the end of the day, there needs to be a primary objective for the organization. Whether it is employee happiness, meritocratic advancement, profits, or social good, organizations will always hit a scenario in which values conflict and they need to make a hard decision.

These hard scenarios can sometimes be extremely damaging for a company, such as with the recent problems surrounding Uber’s aggressive company culture. To prevent these instances from occurring, understand what your line-in-the-sand is.

If you were in a situation that made you choose between profits and customer happiness, which do you choose? What about balancing the opinions of employees around a controversial promotion? Particularly as organizations grow in size, it will become harder not to anger someone and easier to deviate from company values. Know what is unacceptable for your organization and be sure to tie that into all of your decision-making processes.

Your company culture can determine whether you or your competitors get the best talent and whether your employees stay with the organization or flee to other jobs. You need to pay attention to what company values you pick for your organization and how you implement them for adoption. It is never as easy as just saying what your culture is; you need to demonstrate the values through effective management.

Choosing the right executive team, training them for proper decision making, and allowing for successful communication between employees will keep everyone productively working towards your organization’s success.

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