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How to Bring Corporate Values to Life

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What makes a company like Zappos so attractive to investors, employees and customers? Looking at their website, you can clearly see the values guiding that company.

Unfortunately, sometimes company values are so high level that it’s hard for a person in one department to know what the values mean to them, their job and their daily responsibilities. Employees may struggle to see how they personally fit into this big picture.

As a middle or senior manager, how can you make sure your employees know your company’s values and understand what those values mean?

It is the manager’s job is to articulate what the company’s core values are and to specifically demonstrate those values in their department. Let’s take the value of innovation as an example. What does innovation mean to a software developer? What does it mean to the shipping department? Channel sales? Engineering?

An innovative employee is someone who is resourceful and looks for solutions outside of the normal sphere of their position. Maybe they ask a co-worker from another team how they solved an issue, and apply that method in their own department. That kind of initiative is a valuable skill and could bring about progressive advancements in your department.

Another common value is customer service. Even teams who are delivering a service to internal coworkers must think about serving them. Are they consultative? Do they survey the customer after delivery?  What does it mean to be service oriented as an IT person? Are your external customer-facing apps user friendly? Do they work on smart phones? Are your interfaces easy to navigate?

Customer service is everyone’s job. As the manager, make these examples come alive for your people. Praise it when you see it demonstrated. Lead by example and show your team what great customer service looks like, both internally and externally.

Embracing change is another common corporate value. It’s difficult to do, but absolutely critical as we navigate today’s fast-moving markets. I bet your department has excellent examples of people who have embraced and implemented change in a way that improved the organization in small or big ways. Tap into those examples and share them with the entire department.

As a manager, you must be able to demonstrate your company’s values to your people. Find examples that bring the values to life, and create concrete and specific ways to measure them. Introduce this topic into regular staff meetings, and start now, before performance evaluation time. Help and encourage your team to demonstrate and live those organizational values every day.

Where have you seen corporate values come to life? What is one way your team could do this better? Please add your comment below, or share with me on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or email.

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