The Secret is in the Soil: How to Cultivate a Purpose-Driven Culture, my recent post, explored how to create clarity and consistency across the organization with a vivid vision and core values. A clear and compelling vision and core values with supporting behaviors are absolutely foundational to a thriving business. People are more engaged in their work when they feel a deeper connection to the organization and believe what they’re doing matters.
Where many companies miss the mark is keeping the vision and core values alive. It takes dedication to continually integrate them into the fabric of the culture. A vision is not a check-the-box activity, a tactical roadmap or a financial performance objective. Values fall short when they’re not a part of the conversation, not linked to the greater company purpose, lack accountability and feedback, lack specific definition or are seen as separate work.
A vision is brought to life through regular dialogue around how choices support the vision and reflect the core values. There needs to be organizational processes and systems that increase employee’s knowledge of the them, enhances proficiency in bringing them to life, and creates a culture of accountability. The integration of these foundational elements into your rhythms, routines and rituals shows commitment to positive change. It keeps the vision and core values top of mind for all employees, makes meaningful personal connections and enhances the customer experience.
Here are six tactics to integrate your values into the fabric of your culture:
1. Activate Champions. Select a cross-section of employees who are committed to modeling the way. These are the employees that know what it looks like to live the values, inspire others to take ownership, and serve as the driving force behind vision and value integration. The champions should meet regularly to celebrate wins and work through challenges.
2. Highlight a value each month. Establish a ritual of highlighting one value per month. This should include addressing the value at meetings, recognizing employees who bring that value to life and special experiences around the value (example: if your value is to “live by design” you could provide healthy snacks, implement wellness breaks or offer a fitness stipend.)
3. Recognize team members whose behaviors align with the values. There’s a lot of ways to recognize and reward – one of the most impactful (and easiest to implement) is providing real-time recognition. Be specific in exactly what you’re recognizing an employee for and praise them publicly during a team meeting, on social media or using a shared communication platform. Consider implementing a technology platform (i.e. 15Five) that allows employees to recognize each other for living the values.
4. Display creatively. Get creative in the display of your vision and values to keep them front of mind for employees. This could be magnets, stickers, desktop backgrounds, apparel, etc. At a recent SHIFT all-hands meeting, each team member picked a value, painted their interpretation and shared with the team. The fun activities can then be displayed on the office walls; allowing employees to proudly showcase them to the world.
5. Use the vision and values as a lever to attract top talent. Update your website, social media pages and marketing collateral to reflect the vision and values. Create short videos that capture the employee experience and leverage them in the recruiting process. Refine job postings and descriptions to state what is most important and update your interview questions to reflect values; allowing you to gauge if candidates would be a good cultural fit.
6. Refine the performance review process. Boost your existing performance review process by creating space for employees to personally reflect on their behaviors, managers to provide their observations (what they want to see more of) and employees to make commitments moving forward.
Are You Ready to Shift?
At SHIFT, we help our clients find and leverage the right vision, mission and values for their business. Our expert guidance creates values that employees and customers are proud to stand behind and institutes the right rhythms, routines and rituals to keep them top-of-mind.
Want to see how we can help you fill the gaps, schedule an exploration session with our team. Don’t let your company’s vision and value collect cobwebs; start unleashing the full potential of these cultural powerhouses.