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10 Ideas to Align Your Culture with your Values

10 Ideas to Align Your Culture with your Values

Leadership of any size group depicts the norms and culture of a group. Yet, how often have you seen and experienced a difference in values between employees and leaders?  I'm sure more than once, right? Work is a perfect example of how at times we may wittingly or unwittingly support leaders who do the kinds of things that, had you known you wouldn't want to support that leader or institution any longer.

I never worked for Volkswagen, but I'm still a little bitter about Diesel-Gate. The falsification of emissions data to positively influence customer purchases when in reality emissions caused more harm to the environment is a glaring example of wrong doing. Not only do the obvious offenses to morality need be considered for Volkswagen, but for all businesses. When it comes to today’s business culture where money is often put before people and environment, aren't we all susceptible to cultures that don’t align with our values?

Most of us are trying to do the right thing every day; day in, day out. We simply want to support our families and have a little fun with friends, neighbors and loved ones on the weekends and evenings. 

Now get this!  We can nearly double the impact of motivation and engagement when we create opportunities for staff the exhibit their personal values that are in alignment with the core company values.

The mutual gain of positive relationships, alignment of values and securing trust yield commitment and passionate employees, far surpassing reasonable costs for training and coaching in today’s workforce.

The continuous flow of engaging, supporting and training of employees, naturally extends to better performance, better service and better culture.

At this point, you may be considering options for how to improve your workplace culture?

Here are a few of suggestions for continuously evolving your workplace culture to be more engaged.

Have Clear Processes in Place 
Nothing says, we don’t have our act together as a business, than having no processes or procedures outlined for major functions and processes. You will ultimately save time and money in the long run having established policies and procedures. Think of how this enables staff to hit the ground running and begin contributing as soon as possible!

Establish the Norms Quickly!
An Orientation of new hires should cover the organizational structure, mission, divisions, roles and goals. The norms and values are a critical part of orientation and also allow staff to know their boundaries and “rules of the road” for success in this organization.

On boarding is not an Event, it's a Process.
The first six months of employment are critical to new hire retention. Supporting new hires with a formalized on boarding program dramatically increases retention and performance for new staff!

Train them for Performance Sake!
We have an epidemic in corporate business of “hire’em and forgett’em”. How can we expect staff to perform at a high level or even create new best practices without training? Training is an opportunity to reinforce expectations and demonstrate support for staff growth, two highly beneficial factors for organizations today.

Relationships are Everything (and I repeat!)
It can’t be over stated, relationships are everything in business! Creating safe and open environments to discuss services and operations are ultimately what are longed for in businesses that experience power plays and political decision making. Regular attention to and discussion about stakeholder relationships has a monumental impact on service, culture and performance!

Recognize what you Want Repeated
The complexity of many work environments depicts moments in which some are honored and recognized for behaviors that lead to revenue alone. All behaviors aligned with the desired culture, service and revenue goals are to be recognized. Even discussing failures and what went well reinforce intention of growth, rather than punitive measures for failure.

Talk about the Elephant
The organizations that are willing to face what they fear are without a doubt those best equipped to respond to changing markets and staff growth needs. It’s those who rather avoid the uncomfortable discussions that create morale issued impacting performance, which we want to prevent.

Promote courage and compassion as a fundamental part of mission and values
Staff will only share or assert creative ideas if they feel comfortable doing so. In other words, creativity and ideation is prevalent where values of courage and compassion are upheld in action, not just words. 

Purpose Alignment
Morale is significantly affected by an understanding of impact. When one sees the value of their efforts meaning is then created. Compare the known feeling of contributing to something bigger than yourself to feeling like a cog, passing along your work to someone else and never seeing the end product or impact to person.

Evaluate and Adjust
Regular and recurring evaluation of what’s working and what’s not, always benefits the process and outcomes. The largest barrier to continuous improvement is simply not thinking about it. Schedule evaluative periods or build them into your process. 

The matter of culture is that culture truly matters! Leadership depicts culture through the norms demonstrated and tolerated by current leaders. The culture depicts how talent is treated. How talent is treated determines attraction of more top talent, as well as engagement and future retention. Hence, continuous focus on culture leads to engagement and retention of top talent which then results in successful business outcomes.   Need anything more be said for the business case of investing in culture?

If you’re seeking an improved culture, want to maximize staff performance and business outcomes, consider contacting HR Evolution www.HRevolutionllc.com.

By Ryan McShane

Ryan McShane, has been serving the Human Resources Profession for over 20 years and currently owns and operates a consulting firm specializing in Human Resources, Leadership Development and Career Transitions Consulting called HR Evolution LLC.

HR/Business Consulting + Leadership & Culture Development + Career Management Services + Outplacement + Adjunct Prof.