With only a few words, Company value statements can go a long way to defining company culture. For example, social media giant Twitter’s mission statement is “to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers”.
It’s not hard to see how this mission statement translates into the platform that Twitter provides. Twitter gives everyone a voice, and internally uses this value statement to communicate that message. But it’s one thing to write mission statements and core value statements, and entirely another to act on them and provide meaningful ways for employers to belong. If in turn these statements are meant to provide an ethos for when customers bring your company to mind, without definitive action, mission statements can feel empty and meaningless. At their worst case they can breed contempt, and for more harm than good for company culture.
Here is how to translate company values into everyday actions, helping company values become company culture.
Create a culture of recognition
Ensuring employees feel valued for the work that they do is an essential aspect of a company’s culture. This can help to prevent high rates of employee turnover, absenteeism, work related stress which in turn promotes productivity. Rewards programs should be tailored to the individual business, but can be as simple as saying thank you at the end of the day for the contribution of your employees.
Simple acts like this have been shown to reduce work related stress significantly (1). Furthermore, calling out the individual actions and successes of your employees by name in a meeting such as a daily standup is a very effective way to improve employee engagement and productivity. Beyond this there are other clear cut methods of recognition with financial rewards such as promotions and bonuses, however this isn’t necessary to improve workplace culture (and in many cases can create a toxic culture instead).
A great way to improve workplace culture is to create trust amongst employees and management. All business decisions should be made transparent, and employees made to feel that they’re welcome to address any issues or concerns that they have. Feedback doesn’t need to be discouraged if it isn’t completely actionably, but for many employees it’s about knowing that your voice will be heard.
This can similarly be very simple to action. A lunchroom suggestion box or anonymous feedback surveys by email are all it takes to build this sense of transparency and rapport with your employees. Simple measures that are built around concrete actions will help to show you as a company care about what employees have to say about their workplace. Without transparency, employees may take their grievances to gossip, breeding an unhealthy workplace culture of discontent and eventually eroding employee engagement.
Support a Cause
We’ve previously touched on Herzberg Motivation-Hygeine theory, but it’s always good to revisit. Engaged employees are employees that feel that their work is meaningful and valuable. Supporting a charity or having your workplace volunteer their time to a cause/fundraiser is an excellent way for employees to band together, improving teamwork, and making them feel their contribution is meaningful in the world that they live in. This has a double effect of improving company brand, as customers are more likely to see your company as one that cares about the environment and corporate social responsibility, which is becoming ever more important in the current corporate climate.
These three very simple actions that you can implement into your workplace will help you shape your company culture. Of course core value statements are still important and help to define your unique company culture. However, don’t rest on your laurels and turn these statements into a mockery that employees resent, rather than a motto they can be proud of.
- Dasborough MT. Cognitive asymmetry in employee emotional reactions to leadership behaviors. Leadersh Q. 2006;17:163-78.