Most organisations and companies talk about their ‘core values’ and the ethical way they want to do business, both for their clients, wider society, the environment and their employees. These are often based around aspects such as loyalty, honesty, trust, accountability, and respect.
Having a core set of company values makes it easier for a company to make decisions, quickly communicate principles to clients and customers, and hire employees with the right attitude. Running a business is a very much like living in a community. For the community to act as a cohesive group, you need a shared vision, identity and ethos that drives how it functions. Therefore, defining, managing and monitoring your values is a vital aspect of successful businesses. Without doing so, values can be confused and vary from what you are trying to achieve. At worst, sub-cultures of alternative and sometimes destructive values can evolve within your organisation.
To give you one example, after a period of customer dissatisfaction, an IT company I worked for asked each department to create their own mission statement to clarify how they saw themselves contributing towards customer and company success. After hours of deliberation, the site installation team came up with, “It worked when we left.” Immediately, the management were able to identify a value that was counter-productive to success, as it showed a narrow mindedness and lack of ownership from this section of the workforce. In this instance it helped the management move forward but had shared values, principles and identity already existed, much of the customer dissatisfaction would have been prevented.
Making statements is easy
A leadership team simply making an announcement about values and asking their teams to follow them ignores some key principles –
- Values need to be relevant to all employees.
- Values need to be easy to understand and communicate.
- Culture isn’t something that can be ‘dropped in.’ It has to be part of the everyday working of everyone in the long term.
- Values need to evolve and change as the organisation does.
- Culture and values should be part of each individual’s appraisal or objectives, so they become ingrained in the working life of all members of the company community.
Turning behaviours into habits
Achieving the adoption of the above is not easy, and the most difficult task is to ensure the values you seek are demonstrated through the daily behaviours and habits of your colleagues. So how do you get people to change their behaviours ensuring values truly become part of the culture of everyone’s everyday activity? It requires habitual change, a consistent and continual ‘living’ of these values for every employee and member of management. Typically, individual objectives include elements of desired values, but how often are these objectives used, monitored or discussed?
Most companies organise regular meetings to review objectives between employees and line managers, often every 3-6 months, sometimes monthly. To change behaviours into habits and truly see the development of the individual, the employee needs to be able to record and show evidence immediately after a learning event occurs, or an objective is met. In other words, record what is happening at the point of learning. Likewise, the manager needs to be able to see progress immediately, even if they are not in the same location as their team member, and provide support, feedback and suggestions for improvement just as quickly.
The environment of habitual change
Creating the conditions that allow for immediate input, recording and feedback from line manger to team member, can only be done using a system that is easy to access and quickly captures instances of the necessary ethos and values. Perform™ does this by –
- Allowing you to create a framework of competencies, values and behaviours specific to the roles in your organisation.
- Employees able to access their personal frameworks at any time on computers and mobile devices.
- Building up a record of when and how many times an employee has achieved each behaviour.
- Allowing colleagues to peer recognise/credit when they see each other achieve behaviours.
- Letting line managers see progress in real time, plot employees progress over time and provide feedback and support in the system.