It’s one thing to create a list of organizational values, but another thing entirely to get your employees to learn and really believe them. We asked company leaders how they demonstrate their values so that everyone in their organization gets on board.
“Our biggest core value is treating our customers as family, no matter how big or small they are,” shares David Batchelor, President and Cofounder of DialMyCalls.
“Since day one, the most important thing for us is to be there for our customers and help them with whatever issues or questions they might have.”
Prioritizing a value like this sends the message that customer service is at the heart of the company. But it’s not always easy, so it’s the responsibility of the leadership to model the right behavior for the employees.
“Even with customers who are difficult to deal with on occasion, we make an effort to take a step back and put ourselves in their shoes to make their day just a little bit better. We realize that these customers are the ones who put food on the table for all of us and we want them to feel like we value their business.”
By acting as an example, Batchelor encourages his company to stick to the value even when it’s tough.
Another way to bring company values to life is to keep them in the daily conversation. Heather Neisen, HR Manager for TechnologyAdvice, says, “Values are something your leadership team needs to agree upon and then repeat, repeat, and repeat some more.”
How do you do that? Neisen shares two great techniques.
First, let your employees know that your values aren’t just flat words on a piece of paper. Make them real by applying them to situations outside the office: “On our company retreat in September 2014, in addition to the fun and games, we had employees come up with analogies about what we were doing (rafting, zip-lining, ropes-coursing) and how it related to the values of our business (accountability, integrity, etc.). This kept the values fresh in everyone's mind.”
Second, bring values into the everyday work experience: “We created mission and vision cards to put on everyone's desks so that we are constantly reminded of our organizational values. We encourage our teammates to reference that card when needed!”
“Happy customers and happy employees” is a core value of TorontoVaporizer. “I wholeheartedly believe that the happiness of our customers is a direct reflection of the happiness of my team,” says CEO and Founder Nima Noori.
To instill this value in the company, “I make sure to thank my employees both through my words and actions so they know how much I appreciate them and their hard work [...] So, for example, when I notice my employees doing an exceptional job, I will take them out for a surprise picnic lunch at a local park with some fresh deli sandwiches or bring in some fresh cupcakes.”
These techniques aren’t always easy, but they’re part of the essential work that goes into making organizational values live and breathe in your company. And even if you can’t always make an elaborate gesture, Noori reminds us that simple recognition is valuable: “Even just slipping them a sticky note saying 'Keep up the great work' goes a long way."
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