Last month, our executive team gathered for our annual strategy meeting. We spent our time together doing a lot of what you might expect—we took a look at where we are today and where we want to go tomorrow. But what made this particular meeting extra special in my mind, was our decision to also look back. We took the time to reflect and to reexamine our company values after all of the many changes we’ve been through in the past several years.
Make sure your values are relevant
After reviewing the comments our employees wrote about our values in their performance dialogues, chatting with leaders in our company, and a hearty discussion in the executive meeting, we concluded that YES, our Sitrion values still work for the company we are, and the company we want to be.
All of this talk about our values motivated me to share a few thoughts, so let’s start at the beginning. Why should your organization bother to articulate corporate values in the first place?
- Values tell people what your company stands for – what you believe is important as you work to achieve your mission.
- Values guide behavior. They are the underpinnings of what it is actually like to work, day after day, in your company. Values set the tone for how your company operates.
- Values help you hire. They help tell your story and draw people in to interview. Then, they help you assess the ability of those candidates to contribute and succeed in your company culture.
In short, your company values are the glue that keeps your corporate culture aligned and humming!
It's not generational—it's everyone
We hear so much today about the 'millennial' generation and how a sense of purpose is part of their assessment when they inspect potential employers. But everyone cares about your values. IBM’s Institute for Business Value recently debunked many of the myths we hear about generational differences in a study called "Myths, exaggerations and uncomfortable truths." And here is another great article recently posted on the same subject.
It turns out that there are many more similarities than differences in attitudes and concerns of the multiple generations in the workforce today. When it comes to your values – EVERYONE cares and it is vital that you get EVERYONE aligned. The same goes for making your business strategy clear. The same IBM study found that 54% of millennials do not fully understand their organization’s business strategy. And baby boomers are just as confused—58% don't understand it either.
I talk with hundreds of companies each year, and I know most of you are undergoing significant organizational changes and digital transformations. Some have acquired other companies, some are consolidating, others are changing strategy and products. During times of change, it is even more important to stay true to your values and keep them front and center with your global, diverse employees.
5 critical steps to engage employees
Assuming you have agreed upon and communicated a set of beliefs and ways of operating, and they are real and maybe even inspiring, there are five critical things to consider as you work to engage your employees.
I recently shared these steps in a 20-minute webinar as a way to not only help you compete in the war for talent, but also to give you tools to get your employees to internalize and advocate your values, and to weave them into the fabric of your organization. After you check out the webinar recording, I look forward to your feedback. @NancyGillHR