In a previous blog I provided tips on discovering or rediscovering the ‘right’ values, ones that guide and focus your employees to make the right decisions and take the right actions for your business. Unfortunately, this can only take you so far. For if you don’t ‘bring them out to play’ as I write about in my book ‘Bringing Your Values Out to Play,’ they’ll never do their job to help you achieve your mission and objectives.
So in this blog I’ll focus on this concept of bringing your values out to play, sharing how you can embed them to drive awareness, understanding and actions.
Why do you need to bring your values out to play?
Before explaining how to embed your values, how to bring them out to play, let me first explain why this is important. Here is how I explained it in my book . . .
I love designing gardens, researching which plants to buy, where they should be placed, and how they’ll all work together to create a flourishing tapestry to be seen and appreciated throughout the year. But for me that’s where it ends, for as much as I love designing gardens, I really don’t enjoy tending them.
However, I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t tend my garden it ends up with weeds popping up everywhere, some plants getting too big and overshadowing others, it’s an absolute disaster!
The same thing can and will happen if you don’t ‘tend’ your values, or what I write about in my book ‘bring them out to play.’ For although they may be the best values, like a garden, if they aren’t nourished, tended and maintained by fully embedding them into each and everything you do, they’ll never flourish.
Brené Brown, researcher and author, writes in her book Dare to Lead, “only about 10 percent of organizations have operationalized their values into teachable and observable behaviors that are used to train their employees and hold people accountable.”
No wonder only 23% of employees can apply their values - we aren’t making it easy for them by bringing them out to play!
Your values checklist
The concept of bringing your values out to play focuses you on embedding them, making them integral parts of the employee experience. Going back to the gardening analogy, think of it as sprinkling your values on every employee touchpoint so that they’re seen and felt everywhere.
“People have well-honed bullshit detectors these days. If the only time people encounter your company’s values is on a PowerPoint slide at their induction, they’re never going to stick. Values must be lived to be believed, and if they aren’t, they’ll simply fade away.” Nikki Gatenby, Superengaged
Now I know that each organization is different, and thus the employee experience is different, but to give you a starting point for this embedding process, let me share with you the checklist I use when working with clients. Feel free to use it to check that your values are embedded in the right places, adding any other touchpoints that exist at your company.
1. Careers website - Values have a prominent place on your careers website so that before candidates apply for a job they understand what your company values are and if they are right for them.
2. Recruitment - Values are used throughout the recruitment process, with candidates asked specific questions to determine if/how your values apply to them so that you hire people who believe in and will live your values.
3. Onboarding - Values are a part of the onboarding process, with new employees learning what they are, what they mean, and how they can be applied in their new role.
4. Policies - Values are considered as policies, both HR and business, are designed so that they align with what your values stand for.
5. Benefits - Values are considered as employee benefits (including wellbeing programs) are put in place so that they align with what your values stand for.
6. Performance Management - Values are an integral part of the performance management process so that employees understand which are strengths and which are development opportunities.
7. Learning & Development - Programs are in place that support the development of the behaviors that go along with your values so that employees can live them at their best.
8. Recognition - Programs are in place that recognize employees for living your values, showing them that you appreciate their efforts for doing so.
9. Communication - Values are an integral part in how and what you communicate to your employees, giving them a starring role.
10. Workspace - Values can be seen in how you design your physical and virtual workspace, making them visible and meaningful in doing so.
11. Business processes - Managers are encouraged to lead their business processes in ways that align with your values, e.g. in how they run meetings, work together, develop their people, etc.
Let me end by encouraging you to use this checklist (or any other tool) to help you bring your values out to play. Make it a continuous part of your review and planning processes, ensuring that your values are lived and actioned, setting your people and business up for success.
Please contact me with any questions you have, or for help in bringing your values out to play at your company. I'd love to help you!