How to effectively communicate your organisation’s values to create an engaged, purposeful culture
A key set of values are integral to a strong, inclusive and engaged culture. Not only do they form the building blocks of a business’ identity, they give employees a clear set of aspirational behaviours to strive towards both in their individual roles and as a unified team.
However, many employees either don’t know what their values are or don’t understand how they’re relevant to them, which means that employers are missing out on a crucial opportunity to enhance employee’s sense of purpose and engagement.
For values to really drive purpose and give employees a clearly defined direction, values need to be communicated effectively. It’s all about raising awareness, building an understanding and consistently reminding employees what your business, and they, should stand for. Here’s some useful ways to communicate your values effectively:
Organise an event
Whether you’ve already established your values and want to raise awareness or are introducing them for the first time, an event is a great way of bringing your values to life and solidifying their importance across your business.
Events are effective platforms for communication because they bring people together and give them the opportunity to ask questions, engage in discussions and get clear information. Organising an occasion dedicated to your values, gives you, as a business, the chance to provide some context and explain how they represent your employees’ purpose, while also allowing your employees to gain an understanding of how the values fit into their individual roles. Events are memorable too, whether they’re company-wide or smaller scale, so your employees will be more likely to internalise what they learn.
To be fully on board and engaged with your values, your employees need to be fully informed. Creating an event that introduces your values and explains the bigger picture behind them in a social, fun and relaxed setting is a great way of reinforcing the unified sense of purpose your values represent.
Have visual reminders
Consistent communication about your values is key to ensuring that your employees are aware of them and integrating them into their daily lives at work. Having visual reminders of your values throughout your workplace will subtly reinforce your employees’ sense of collective purpose to build a stronger and more unified culture.
While this communication method isn’t as direct as sending an email, for example, having your values physically displayed in your work environment makes them feel like they’re a concrete element of your culture. They also act as little reminders for your employees as they’re going about their daily tasks to reinforce the expectations you have of them.
You could have office graphics, notice board displays or device screensavers, any kind of visual representation of your values that remind your employees of your culture and purpose every day. When employees see their values regularly, they’ll be more likely to think about them when they’re doing their jobs. With many employees working remotely now, think about how you can display your values virtually. Your internal hub is a good place to start.
Lead by example
Another effective way of communicating your values is for your leadership team to lead by example. Part of this is about making sure that leadership are regularly talking about your values with their teams and relating them to specific activities and tasks to emphasise their relevance and importance. At the same time, it’s about ensuring that your leadership team are true champions of your values and living and breathing them every day in their individual roles.
Actions speak louder than words, especially in this context because your employees learn from leadership and will be likely to emulate their behaviour. It’s down to your leadership team to take get involved in your business’ efforts to integrate your values into your culture and be accountable for ensuring employees are informed and onboard. When employees see members of your leadership team honouring your values, it upholds your business’ integrity too which contributes to building a strong and engaged culture.
Align values to reward & recognition
Building your reward and recognition scheme around your organisation’s values will further tie them to your culture, making them an everyday part of your employees’ lives at work thus guiding their behaviour and performance.
Rewarding and recognising employees that embody your values is a great way of communicating their importance across your business. Within a reward and recognition platform, employees can attribute the “thank you” messages they send to particular values, which means that everyone in the business can see how other employees are demonstrating them in their everyday efforts. This visibility reinforces employees’ sense of purpose and it’s immediately more compelling for employees to think about the values and use them as guidance in their individual jobs.
Your organisation’s values are effectively the pillars of your culture and represent the ethos, behaviours and purpose your employees should reflect. Communication plays a key role in driving your employees’ awareness, understanding and engagement with your values, but it’s about far more than sending reminder emails. To really embed your values into your culture and ensure your employees embrace them fully, you need to integrate them into various elements of your business, so they become part of the every day.
To find out more about how we help businesses drive their values, check out our case studies on our resources page.