How to Fix Good Organizational Values Gone Bad

by Dora Wang on May 20, 2015 11:00:00 AM

How to Fix Good Organizational Values Gone BadSo you’ve locked in your company values and you’re working on spreading them in the workplace. But things haven’t turned out quite the way you had in mind. Values should define your company’s unique characteristics, but maybe your workplace is now marked by a negative atmosphere instead of the ideals you want. What now?

It’s important to take time to look at your values and see how they can be improved. Here are some tips on how to fix up values that have gotten off track:

Keep Things Real

It’s good to set the bar high, but your values should still be within realistic bounds. As values define your unique culture, it’s best to keep them relevant to your business instead of aiming for grand ideas just because they sound nice in theory.

Instead of aiming for broad concepts like “change customers’ lives,” think about how your company can do that — by providing excellent service, for example. This makes the value more approachable for employees and defines your company in a positive way.

New Call-to-action

Follow Through With Them

Your values should be ones that you believe in and are willing to enforce. Lead by example and embody the values yourself. This gives credibility to your convictions and builds faith in the idea that values in action can have a positive effect. Employing values like “think outside the box” can mean trying out a new business strategy for a time, even if the results aren’t guaranteed to be 100% successful.

Get Into the Details

One way to get employees to embody values is to spell out the details of how that’s possible. Define both the overarching themes and specifics of your values in order to draw a clear-cut picture of what’s expected of workers.

Having clear standards to work toward will help motivate people, and they can become a guide on how to act. Values like “generate positivity through open communication” demonstrate the desired result and show how to achieve this goal much more clearly than just “generate positivity.”

Feedback, Please

It’s always good to get feedback. Assess values yourself as you put them into action, but also consult your employees about what’s working and what can still be fine-tuned. Getting employees engaged in the development and betterment of company values will in turn motivate them to put those values into action.

Keep an Open Mind

Be willing to work with employees on how to better your values. Your employees are the ones carrying those values out on a daily basis, so it’s crucial that the two are in line. Someone not fitting with your idea of “take ownership”? Try working with them to get to the root of the problem by arranging one-on-one meetings, creating development plans, and asking for feedback through anonymous surveys. Being open-minded will help you mold your values and your employees so that they complement each other.

Your organizational values don’t have to be perfect right off the bat. They can be a continual work in progress and grow with your company. As a foundation that supports how all the members of your organization behave and interact, they can be molded for the best possible outcomes. Let your employees, culture, and values shape each other and create a company that thrives with its own unique characteristics.



New Call-to-action

author avatar

This post was written by Dora Wang

Dora is an employee engagement researcher for TINYpulse and managing editor of TINYinstitute. Having grown up in Texas, she is now firmly settled in Seattle, where she spends her free time reading comic books, wrangling her three cats, and (of course) rooting for the Seahawks.

Connect with Dora