Developing and communicating the values for your employer brand or employee experience can be one of the most powerful uses of internal communications. In the best-case scenario, employees will find those values both authentic to the culture and helpful in moving the culture forward. To achieve that, try these three tips:
1. YOU DON’T WRITE VALUES, YOU REVEAL THEM The values already exist in your culture. You just need to uncover them, sort of like an archaeological dig. By interviewing employees, leadership and even clients or customers, you’ll begin to see common themes surface across function, department and geography.
2. HONESTY AND INTEGRITY DON’T SET YOU APART Skip those generic values that one assumes any company would support. Hopefully, you don’t have to spell those out, and certainly they are not unique to your culture. Look for the specific values that really drive your culture and make it different from other companies.
3. SOME VALUES ARE A WORK IN PROGRESS Although the values should be authentic to the culture, you can and should include one or two that are aspirational. The values should reflect how the company operates on its best day now — and help guide the behavior everyone wants more of in the future.
When it’s time to introduce your values, have employees do the talking. If you’ve done a good job of identifying values that are authentic to the culture, employees should be able to explain those values in their own words and give examples of how they apply to their own work. Rather than just having the CEO announce the values as if they’re being handed down from on high, have the employees participate in that introduction.
A video shoot and/or photo shoot can provide a lot of great content for both introducing and sustaining the values. For instance, you could interview employees about how they interpret or explain the values and use their quotes to bring the values to life. That can become an introductory video and several shorter videos that you might post on the intranet and social media. Employee photography can be paired with employee quotes to create a printed book, a magazine article, digital signage or emails.
The values begin and end with the employees, so use them as your informants when you’re defining those values — and also as your spokespeople when you communicate them back to employees.
Interested in developing your cultural values? Tribe can help.