We see it all too often. A CEO stands up on stage and communicates corporate values at some annual employee all-hands event. They sound great, are accompanied by some flashy charts and often with rock and roll background music. At the end of the event everybody heads back to the office with renewed optimism that this time the company has got it right.
But over 90% of the time according to a recent web survey, companies do not follow thru with actions related to the values and the so touted corporate values are left on charts and never enforced or maximized.
Now that I am a “gray hair” I spend a lot of my time focused on implementing and communicating corporate values. As an HR professional I integrate corporate values into every corporate program and initiative. They are included in every key presentation, deck and or speech.
Recently I had to terminate a few employees that were not living the values of “respect” in our company. They were disrespectful, rude, arrogant, showed aggression and intimidated other employees. At first when I approached management with my wish to terminate their employment they wanted to accommodate these employees as they were stand out performers but I worked hard to make the business case for their dismissal. Once they understood the impact of such action on performance, absenteeism and more, management was more willing to be supportive. It’s not easy at first but stick to your guns, over time management will be the first to make the same recommendations. Just be sure your working with recruitment on a slate of internal and external candidates to back fill the problem employees (it makes it so much easier).
So make sure if you put corporate values in place that you and the management team enforce them. Without values your company is rudderless, but without enforced values your company is seen as untruthful and a company that has not honored the employment contract.
If you want to change your corporate culture and engage employees, focus on enforcing corporate values. The change you will see over time as you walk the talk will be impressive. I know it’s been the case in every company I have worked for.