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5 Ways to Put Values Into Action and Action Into Values

Editors Note: This guest post by Nick Hedges originally appeared on LinkedIn. His opinions are his own.

Establishing a set of values for a company is a great step but it can be challenging to keep those values alive within daily operations.

An organisation’s values are the fundamental beliefs that guide all employees on how to behave and act. This recent article outlines the importance of values within culture. There are many ways in which organisations can express their values and once the list or statement is finalised, it is also important for managers to ensure that the values are actively flowing throughout all aspects of the business on a day-to-day basis.

1. Creating sparks

If a company’s values align with the natural desires and actions of the employees, the values themselves will inspire action. When enough people love what they do, love why they are doing it and love who they are doing it with, they will make things happen and with a passionate force that can be a continuing source for future sparks of action. If a company selects employees who align with its values, it is generally easier for the right sparks of activity to occur.

2. Facilitating openness

Organisations are in a strong position to flourish when surrounded by those who have a sense of moral upstanding and care deeply about open and honest relations.

Many organisations are made up of diverse teams in which many opinions arise, often conflicting. When an organisation promotes and values honesty, openness and transparency, conflict can be potentially diffused quicker. The resulting meetings and discussions can be more direct and lead quickly to positive action. Business leaders can benefit from creating a culture that rewards and promotes their values even amongst differences of opinion. This way, many potential barriers can be minimised or avoided with ease.

As part of an open environment, it is also important for employees to feel understood by management. For managers, this means showing empathy to staff. When management truly understand the challenges and desires of the employees within a business, it becomes easier to provide an environment in which productivity can thrive and people can feel self-actualised.

3. Fostering responsibility

For an organisation to operate smoothly, employees should value being accountable for their actions and accepting responsibility. In some organisations there is a ‘they’ who are deemed responsible – a nameless, hidden person or group – and this can foster a culture with a lack of responsibility. There can also be a ‘blaming culture’ in which the person who is deemed responsible for causing an issue wasn’t actually responsible.

In an organisation in which responsibility is valued, each employee owns all of their actions, takes full responsibility and faces the consequences. When people take responsibility for their actions, the challenges and issues that arise can be addressed and solutions found.

4. Guiding a considered approach

Once a specific action has been taken, it is worthwhile for both management and employees to review the impact and results in terms of the organisation’s values – how did the action impact the people involved? How did it impact the organisation? How does it affect the bigger picture?

Reviews can be formal or informal and any activities can be reviewed. When the people within an organisation are encouraged to reflect upon and analyse their particular actions and outcomes, it fosters an environment in which continued growth can occur at all levels at the same time, continually progressing the organisation as a whole.

5. Promoting readiness

The old Boy Scout motto of ‘Be Prepared’ is still worthy for any business. More than ever before, business environments are changing rapidly and companies can be forced into positions where management has no choice but to take drastic and radical action. Although it is important for employees to feel a sense of stability within the business, they should also be ready to handle change readily at any moment. How well an organisation and its people adapt to change can be a strong measure of its long-term success. Those who can make the most of a changing environment are destined to perform well over time.

Mission and vision are not mere statements composed just for formality. Between every mission and vision statement of a company are goals that aim to be achieved. Hence, it should be taken seriously, and understood by every employee.

When combined with the right values and strategies that align with the business objective, it can serve as a guideline for the mindsets and behaviours of the people to accomplish the goals together.

The values and beliefs of an organisation contribute to the brand image of the organisation that becomes known and respected, which is why it is important for the leaders of the organisation to follow the rules and regulations, as well as to be viewed as an example to all the team members.

May your workplace cultures continue to drive your success.

Nick Hedges

Nick Hedges is the founder of Resolve HR, a Sydney-based HR consultancy specialising in providing workplace advice and training to managers and business owners.

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