Build a Plan to Bring Your Culture and Values to Life
After completing this unit, you'll be able to:
- Define your values story.
- Explore ways to bring your company’s values to life.
- Understand how you can lead by example.
Now that you understand why culture matters, and how we bring ours to life at Salesforce, are you ready to get started on bringing your company culture to life? Great! The first step is defining and communicating your culture and values story in simple terms so everyone in your company can align on it and use it as a guide.
There are a number of data sources you can use to define (or evolve) the most compelling story of who you are, what you value, and how you work together, including:
- Common phrases people use to describe your culture in employer reviews
- Answers to questions about your culture on your employee engagement survey
- Focus groups with your leaders and culture champions at all levels
Defining your culture and values story is one thing, but living it is another. Some companies paint cool images of their values on walls, while others send all employees a glossy brochure… or both. Although there’s nothing wrong with being a little flashy, simply communicating the values doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll come to life.
Build a plan to live your culture story inside and outside your company. Include measurable programs and tools plus communications, campaigns, and events to bring your values to life at every stage of the employee journey.
Commitment Is Key
It starts with commitment. This means making some tough decisions along the way. Imagine a top sales associate who time after time demonstrates a lack of integrity, and that’s one of your core values. Do you consider letting her go?
What about promoting a successful customer service representative who is consistently disrespectful to others? Do you keep him on board?
Even if there’s a negative financial impact on the business, if you are serious about your values, you’ll make those tough decisions, you’ll put your culture and your people first, and others will notice.
Building Culture at Every Stage
To truly bring your values to life, create a multifaceted plan that encourages employees to live the essence of your culture and each of your values every day throughout the entire employee journey. In addition, set culture goals, measure how you’re doing against them, and continuously evolve.
Let’s look at some things you can do. There are lots!
|DO THIS||AND THIS|
ATTRACTION and ADVOCACY: Empower employees to share your culture story.
RECRUITING: Integrate culture and values into the hiring process.
ONBOARDING: Immerse new hires in your company culture and values.
EXPERIENCE: Constantly tell stories of values in action
EXPERIENCE: Build programs to reinforce your company values.
GOAL SETTING: Include company values in individual goal setting and measure progress.
PERFORMANCE EVALUATIONS: Include company values in performance and promotion criteria.
RECOGNITION: Integrate company values into recognition programs.
MEASURE and EVOLVE: Conduct regular employee surveys and ask about company values.
A company can do great things to help employees understand its values, but in the end it comes down to having the programs in place that empower employees to live them. And it is up to you and every employee in your company to lead by example.
So, what can you do personally to role model your company’s values?
Start by taking personal responsibility—it’s up to you to bring the values to life, not HR, executives, or the marketing department. Sure, communications campaigns and formal programs around your values all have a purpose, but the real magic happens when you yourself put them into action.
And if you’re a leader or a manager, it’s even more important that you lead by example. Every action you take, your employees are watching you. Ask yourself daily, “Does my behavior reflect our company values?”
Living the values starts with self-reflection. List your company’s values. As you look at each value, think about someone in the company you consider a role model of this value.
Perhaps you value integrity, and you’re thinking of someone whom you trust to always tell it like it is. Perhaps you value innovation, and the person you have in mind always shares her wildest ideas.
Got someone in mind for each value? Good! Now, for each value and MVP (most valuable person) that role models it, ask yourself does this person:
- Make decisions based on what’s most important, not what’s convenient?
- Recognize individuals when they demonstrate your company values?
- Embody those values when talking with other employees? With customers?
- Uphold those values even when it’s really hard to do?
- Give feedback to others when they aren’t upholding the values?
After thinking about your leads-by-example MVPs, and with your company values in mind, consider:
- What is one value you’d like to demonstrate more consistently and reinforce with your team?
- What can you do to role model this value more consistently?
- How can you emulate some of the behaviors of your role model for that value?
Consider the impact that taking on this mindset, living these values, leading by example, and emulating the MVPs can have on your own performance, your management practices, and on your team’s and company’s success!
So you’ve worked hard to define your company’s values, communicate them, and incorporate them into your employee journey with programs and tools. And you’ve taken personal responsibility for leading by example. Great! Now, how do you make sure your employees truly live your company’s values?
Here are our top 5 tips for making your company values stick.
- Make them clear and simple so everyone gets them.
- Be willing to hire (and fire) based on your company values.
- Enforce the company’s values across the board.
- Uphold and walk the walk of the values in good times and bad.
- Build measurable programs to ensure the values are brought to life.
We’ve explained the business value company culture can have to your organization—it creates an environment that attracts and retains great people, creates better customer experiences, and ultimately drives your financial success.
A company’s culture is driven by core values that guide the day-to-day behaviors of all employees. At Salesforce, we know what we stand for, and our customers, employees, partners, and communities do, too. You’ve seen how we’re intentional about our culture and demonstrate our values in everything we do.
Now it’s up to you! Take the time to understand your organization’s culture and to see what actions you can take to live your values. Be a role model, lead by example.
Do you know what you and your company stand for? Get to know it, and then go out and live it!
- Turn Your Culture into a Competitive Advantage
- Make Your Values Mean Something
- Values Activity (download the Salesforce Ohana Culture pack)
- Identify Your Values—Tips & Techniques (download the Salesforce Ohana Culture pack)
- Living the Values—Emulating Your Role Model (download the Salesforce Ohana Culture pack)
- Living the Values—Your Strengths & Opportunities (download the Salesforce Ohana Culture pack)