Humanizing Work Culture: How Core Values Shape the Workplace

28 October, 2022

Humanizing Work Culture: How Core Values Shape the Workplace

Most organizations have a set of ‘core values’ defined as a part of their corporate identity, intended to serve as a masthead to guide employees’ actions and org-level decisions. But how often are they really integrated into the organizational culture and more importantly, are individual employee values in resonance with these larger org values? This blog talks about the criticality of integrating core values into work life and advocates a strong feedback and R&R framework to align individual behaviors to organizational interests.

Why have Core Values in the first place?

Peyush Bansal, the CEO and CPO of the Indian startup Lenskart, defined ‘Culture’ during his talk at the People Matters EX Conference in 2022, as “the framework with which you (the organization) make decisions everyday”. Culture, then, can be said to be made up of guiding principles that have propelled the organization forward till date and are a part of its’ unique business philosophy. These principles are nothing but core values that shape the stakeholder and customer experience. Formalizing these values have various benefits like:

1. Differentiating the corporate brand identity

2. Creating a uniform, consistent customer experience

3. Streamlining team efforts for maximizing success

4. Integrity-building and crisis management

5. Creating a healthy, positive work culture

Aligning Individual and Organizational Values

aligning-individual-and-organizational-values

Despite being aware of an organization’s core values, a majority of employees either dismiss them as hollow talk or in the worst case, don’t relate to these values at all. The latter points to a lack of a cultural fit and can eat into an organization’s health if not addressed in time. However, more often than not, the problem lies in failing to translate these core values into specific behaviors. According to Brene Brown, the renowned American sociologist and thought leader- “only 10% of organizations have translated their values into teachable and observable behaviors”. She compares having cultural values without specific behaviors to “saying that honesty is your value but you’re OK with telling lies.” Individual behaviors on a day-to-day basis are what ultimately constitute culture, no matter how well-intentioned the organization’s core values are.

Putting Values into Action

Keeping the above in mind, we can safely say that mapping specific behaviors to each core value is indispensable to holding employees accountable for cultural health. This can be achieved through a detailed R&R framework and a robust feedback mechanism that can check employee pulse and help organizations co-create their core values with their people. A rewards and recognition platform can help systematize a value-based rewards system in the following ways:

1. Mapping each core value to specific behaviors through a digital employee recognition module, with behaviors forming individual recognition categories. For example- ‘Customer Obsession’ as a core value can be defined as ‘taking ownership for a smooth customer experience’ and ‘resolving all customer queries in a timely and professional manner’. These can be explicitly mentioned on the nomination form

2. Setting up a transparent, digital nominations process for value-based awards with custom approval workflows and the option for self-nomination. Linking these awards to exciting redemption options through a digital rewards catalog

3. Spotlighting ideal behaviors through social recognition via a social wall or other org-wide collaboration tools

4. Keeping regular checks on cultural alignment through automated surveys with anonymized results. Facilitating 360-degree feedback through confidential manager reviews sent to the HR department

Conclusion

Core values alone cannot make a winning culture – the way in which they are modelled and rewarded determine their penetration into an organization’s day-today functioning, ultimately determining its’ reputation. Setting clear expectations for employees and using their feedback to reinvent these core values along the way can help create a trusting, connected work environment. Moreover, shared values supported by model behaviors can create a sense of unified purpose that can help steer organizations in times of crisis. Thus, leveraging human values is as important as ever to create cultural stability and business success.

Looking to craft your own R&R program around promoting organizational core values? Get in touch with our team to know how our award winning rewards and recognition platform can help!

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