Recently I executed an employee engagement survey across a client organization. When I compared the senior executive team with the blended front-line results I discovered a very troubling outcome.
The senior executives were almost unanimous in the belief that they had done an excellent job of communicating the core values of the organization — yet results from the front-line indicated exactly the opposite.
Even worse, some of the comments indicated that the values the front-line were observing were inconsistent with the “advertised” values.
Too many organizations believe that the values are clear in their organization. However, all too often, the values that are communicated are coming via actions rather than words — or the actions speak louder than the words.
Here are few questions to ask yourself.
- Have you crystallized your values and written them down?
- Does everyone at the senior level of the organization agree and commit to live by these values?
- Did you involve your employees? Were they involved in establishing the organizational values? Do they feel ownership?
- Did you solicit buy-in across the organization and give them an opportunity to discuss them and what they mean in their daily lives?
- Do you regularly communicate the values? Do you explain your decisions in the context of your values so everyone understand how the values come to life?
- Do you live your values? Actions speak louder than words — are your values being demonstrated on a daily basis in your decision-making?
My Perspective: If you don’t have clearly defined core values, this is a missed opportunity to influence and engage employees. Too often organizations have a communications plan — but it doesn’t do a very good job of communicating internally.
Having a clear set of values also let’s people know what kind of organization is being built and they have an opportunity to decide whether they want to belong to that kind of organization. And in return, you have the evaluate people for a good fit with your team.
Clarity is key.