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5 Easy Ways to Make Your Company Values Stick
Congratulations! When you finished your list of company values, you might have felt much the same way as you did on April 15th when you popped that tax return into the mail slot. It might have felt like a chore to you. Clearly defining your company values had to be done. When you finished you felt a surge of pride and enthusiasm and began to look forward to infecting everybody else in your operation with your vision.
As you will learn, this vision is seriously contagious.
The real problem with mission statements and lists of core values is these critical documents often get filed away after their completion and are never used again.
The list of company values you are holding in your hands represents the keys to a whole new level of success and achievement far beyond your expectations. If you don’t use them, you’re passing up an amazingly valuable tool. Why on earth would you do that?
To Make Your Company Values Stick:
Live Them – Every day in every way, your employees feed off of your passion for these values. You are the first and foremost example of your company culture and, you ARE the living, breathing illustration of your company values. Your job is to lead by example. It is easy for employees to become confused when company values are not demonstrated or consistent.
Teach Them – No matter how small your company is, you must take the time to educate your people. It is not enough for them to know what your product is and how it’s sold. Their education is incomplete until you’ve shared with them the values you and your teammates hold in esteem.
It isn’t enough for the new hires to know what the values are; they must also know what you expect from them in terms of those values. They need to know, then observe those values in action until they “catch the values bug.”
It gets easier when people buy in from the start, as they begin to teach others the company code, after which the culture begins to solidify. This is why hiring good-natured people is critical.
Reinforce those values – It is important that company values are always discussed. In every meeting and in most interactions with team members you can always tie business activity back to your core values.
For example, you receive a glowing letter from a customer. One of your core values is, “110% customer service, all the time.” You can use this as an opportunity to both praise the individual and remind everyone about your core values.
The same goes for holding people accountable. One of my core values is it must be better than great from the client’s perspective. When a client gets frustrated and expresses these feelings, the first response is, “Where did we underdeliver on our core value of being better than great from our customer’s perspective?
By drawing the accountability statement from the company core values the team member can remember what great performance looks like and work to achieve that better next time.
Gather Teammates who Support Them – When you hire, be very sure that your applicants can and will aspire to your company’s value system.
If, for example, one of your values is volunteerism within the community and the applicant tells you, “Sure. As long as I get paid, I’ll stand on my head and stack bees,” then you can obviously write them off. They don’t understand the concept of volunteerism and they certainly won’t live it.
Your employees are your most valuable tools. Choose them to fit within the machinery of your operation. Just because they are shiny and promising doesn’t mean they will add anything to the mix. Ask a man who has a metric wrench how it works on his 1945 Ford pickup!
Have a cultural ambassador that espouses your values when onboarding. By having this person teach the new person they will be reinforcing their own buy in of the company’s cultural values system and infecting others.
Use Them to Promote and/or Thin the Herd When Necessary – Make sure people are being promoted because they are strong cultural ambassadors and are competent to achieve in the new role.
When somebody has earned a promotion because of his adherence to the company value system let everybody know. When somebody is unable or unwilling to toe the company value line and must be redeployed outside the company, let your people see that too.
By demonstrating the advantages and disadvantages of being a team player is the best example of all. Teach your team they can trust you to be fair and even-handed.
All good companies, like the Fortune 500 – and winning organizations, like the US Navy Seals – are built around the concept of trust. A bad hire is a drag on the team and a good hire gives them wings. You, as CEO, get to pick whichever one you want.
Identifying and listing the things which make you and your company tick can be a difficult task. Modeling your values can be even more challenging, but the challenge will pay off in the long run. Employees look to you at all times to demonstrate “how we do things here.” It simply makes sense to demonstrate the right ones.
Or, as a wise, old Native American man in Montana once said, “If you’re going to be a bear, be a grizzly.”
On Screening Candidates
You can already win half the battle by properly screening candidates in order to ensure you only trickle in the right people that are receptive to your company culture.
Here is advice on how to pursue an efficient screening process.
Utilize an Effective Pre-Employment Screening System
A resume is a candidate’s one chance to shine; an initial first impression to grab your attention as the hiring manager. But what about candidates who use this opportunity to highlight fabricated achievements and work timelines to make themselves appear more competitive in hopes to be selected for the job? Without knowing any of the applicants in your talent pool, how do you navigate the waters of truth and fiction?
Highlights on a Resume
Every candidate’s resume will look different in format and design. Having a screening system in place allows you to check for the basics- companies, time worked in each company or position, specific tasks or achievements during tenure, and sometimes, position title. Reading through every word in a resume can be a daunting task. Having a checklist of the most important aspects of a resume is key. This way, you can quickly graze through each resume looking for the highlights, and move on.
If you have a position that is likely to grab a lot of applicants, using telephone screens before offering in-person interviews on those candidates whose resumes you’ve selected is an effective way to save time and money during the screening process. Use this opportunity to ask about those highlighted points you drew from the candidate’s resume and make sure their story matches up. The thing about fabricated information on resumes is that oftentimes candidates who falsely list dates and duties can’t always keep track of what’s real and what’s not. This becomes evident as you ask about specific dates of employment and details about job duties.
Another measure to pre-employment screening that you may choose to utilize is assessment tests, which assess your candidate’s skills, abilities, and aptitudes to ensure they are a right fit for the job and your company. Quality assessment tests will have checks for honesty and truthfulness.
These measures can be used to validate a candidate’s integrity in different ways that are not easily recognized in a resume or through phone screens and interviews.
Reference checking is typically a great way to validate a candidate’s abilities and potential fit for a position. Speaking with former supervisors or even colleagues can provide helpful insight on how working with this person will be, as well as how they interact and deal with others. They can also provide validation regarding a candidate’s claims as listed in their resume or reported through interviews.
Selecting quality candidates is a tough job, especially when you must rely significantly on the information candidates present to you. Having a system of quality screening tools in place will encourage candidates to be forthcoming and upfront.
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