If workplace morale still seems like it hasn’t returned to pre-pandemic levels, it may be time to re-examine your company culture with your C-suite peers.
In a presentation during the 2022 BambooHR Virtual Summit, Liz Weber, the CEO of Weber Business Services LLC, presented some compelling survey data from Gallup. Employees that believe their employer’s values align with their own personal values are:
- 3.7 times more likely to be engaged
- 55% less likely to leave their employer, and
- 5.2 times more likely to recommend their employer to their family and friends.
Those figures are significant considering how many companies are struggling with retaining qualified employees and with turnover costs from the Great Resignation.
Issues to address right now
Here are some key reasons, according to Weber, why you may need to come up with a strategic plan for clarifying, strengthening or developing your company culture:
- Being attractive to prospective employees to accommodate staff sourcing needs
- Having talent development and succession plans that will adequately keep your organization going for years to come
- Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA). “It’s fine to have a policy, but … are your daily operations actually demonstrating what you believe concerning DEIA?” she said.
- Polarization of communities. “With the polarization of social issues and political viewpoints, it is more important than ever that you create a culture through your core values that when your employees are working with you and working together – regardless of their beliefs in the greater world … you have a unified focus and a sense of community and a (company) personality where they feel protected, respected and are viewed as a contributing member,” Weber said.
The main goals are to perpetuate a company culture that your employees want to be a part of and maximizing trust in company leadership. So to weather these challenges and get your company culture where you want, and need, it to be, huddling up with the other members of the C-suite to share ideas to address these issues will be vital.
Rebooting your values reboots company culture
A good place to start the discussion is setting an appropriate tone, personality and focus for your organization by defining what its core values are and describing them as actionable behaviors.
Weber said these values should be written down so they can serve as an employee reference checklist of the things to stay true to when taking any important business action. For example, will doing business with that prospective vendor be compatible with company values?
An audit of your policies and procedures, as well as your equipment and supplies budget, may be in order to check if they’re in alignment with your core values. “If you’re asking through your values for your team members to be innovative, but yet you are providing them with outdated equipment, that is going to be a clash between what you’re asking your employees to do and how you’re supporting them in actually helping you bring that culture alive,” said Weber.
Your list of core values doesn’t have to be long. Weber shared this list of core values of a hair salon client of hers:
- Represent products and services honestly
- Offer healthier alternatives that work
- Do our part to help the environment, and
- Give back to the local community and charities.
When reviewing your company’s core values, are there any that your employees can easily ignore or respond to with, ‘That doesn’t apply to me’? If so, a revision is necessary.
Although you want your values to speak to all employees regardless of their job function, be careful that the behaviors that you decide you need to see every day from your team aren’t too broad in scope. Trust, integrity, professionalism and continuous improvement are all positive ideas and themes, but aren’t strong enough to serve as core values for a business, Weber said.
So for instance, some ways to re-write “professionalism” as actionable behaviors and core values include:
- Be respectful to all
- Be honest
- Be accountable, and
- Safeguard information.
Rolling it out
Once leadership is satisfied that your core values will keep your business relevant and successful, they need to be be shared so that people know what your values are. Besides posting them to the company website, your values need to be talked about in team meetings, as well as employee performance reviews and coaching sessions.
It’s important for leadership to demonstrate those values in their own work behaviors day-in and day-out, embodying the revamped company culture and setting a good example for others to follow.
Rebooting company culture is also going to take accountability reinforcement from managers within their teams that your values are house rules everyone is expected to follow.
“And then those core values – the list of behaviors – become the non-negotiable behaviors … of everyone who takes a paycheck from your organization,” Weber said. “You’re just asking people to come and do their jobs and be engaged, participate, focus, think, be part of your culture. Now if someone doesn’t like your values (or) those expectations, they can leave.”