Six strategies to reinforce values and purpose

An organization’s core values define its very being. They remain fixed, guiding your employees to behave the way the organization wishes them to. They identify brand character and are imperative to the organization’s purpose and mission.

The world has been shaken in the last few months. First with COVID and second with the Black Lives Matter movement. Both are ongoing. Both will have affected your employees in many ways. There will be apprehension, confusion, and complexity in the new workplace. Now is the time to reinforce your values to be the guide your employees need. 

Here are six tactics to promote your core values and engage your team in your organization’s purpose.

1. Lead by example

It is crucial that an organization’s leaders and managers apply your core values to their everyday lives. This can be especially difficult when the road ahead becomes rocky, but if your leaders are not living by your values you cannot expect your people to. 

It is also critical that leaders identify their hidden personal values. These influence the way they lead and the actions they take. By improving their self-awareness, leaders will be able to lead more positively and reap the benefits of diversity and engagement.

2. Reinforce your core values at team and individual levels

At team meetings and in one-to-ones, ensure that behaviors and performance are linked back to core values. Recognize and reward employees who demonstrate the core values in the choices they make and the actions they take.

At training and development events, ensure that your training aligns with your core values. Never rely on a single communication to reinforce your values, and act where people don’t act in accordance with them.

3. Incorporate your core values into your processes

Ensure that your values permeate all that your organization does. When designing new processes or work practices, ask if they align with your values. Use language that highlights your core values in your sales documentation and customer service scripts.

4. Hire candidates that align with your culture

Your core values will shape your organizational culture. A key tactic to ensure that your employees align with your values is to hire candidates that align with your culture. The Mercer Global Talent Trends Survey 2018 concluded that “Thriving employees are three times more likely to work for a company with a strong sense of purpose.” By highlighting your values and purpose during the firing process, prospective employees can more easily determine if their personal values resonate with your organization’s core values.

5. Use performance reviews to reinforce core values

In informal and formal employee review meetings, ensure that you integrate organizational values into the review process. Instead of highlighting financial results, ensure that your managers reward the behaviors of individuals that align with your core values, and make sure that your leaders are equipped for these conversations with concrete examples.

6. Reinforce your values in all communications

In all internal and external communication – including meetings, presentations, corporate events, and training events – make sure that messages are aligned with your values. Invest in training that ensures your employees understand how to frame your brand’s values and purposes to customers, suppliers, and other external stakeholders. Internally, ensure that your internal comms team align messaging with your values-driven strategy.

Do your employees understand your values?

As your people return to work, it will be crucial to gauge their emotional state. They will be looking for stability and assuredness. 

By coaching your leaders to have meaningful conversations with their people about the values that your organization maintains as critical to its existence, you can provide the guiding star that they need through turbulent times.

Revisit your core values, and define your purpose. Ensure that leaders and managers walk the walk, and develop your business strategy around your core values. By doing this, you will cultivate a culture in tune with your values, and a collective sense of purpose that makes the essential connection between employee and organization.

Are your leaders ready for the challenge of leading a values-based organization? This Rising to the Challenge Leadership self-assessment (link needed) will help you discover if they are.

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