How to Integrate Core Values Into Your Daily Operations

Caitlin Weiser, aPHR
September 8, 2023

Core values are the heartbeat of company culture and companies who live their core values experience a higher level of employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention. While it can be easy to communicate your company’s core values to employees, integrating them into the day-to-day is much more difficult. To become a truly values-led organization you have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk, and it all starts with the processes leadership puts in place.

Five Ways to Integrate Core Values Into Your Daily Operations

Too often, an organization’s core values only exist on paper. For core values to genuinely make an impact, they need to be integrated into all aspects of your organization. Core values should be easily identifiable in daily interactions between coworkers, how clients are served, and how business decisions are made. Here are five ways you can integrate your core values into your daily operations to positively influence your company culture.

1. Recognize Employees Who Display Core Values 

There are plenty of ways to recognize employees for their contributions that go beyond monetary rewards. One of the easiest, most impactful forms of recognition is real-time recognition. Real-time recognition is a method for providing immediate feedback and appreciation to reinforce positive employee behavior. When recognizing employees who display your core values, emphasize the specific value they are demonstrating and the positive impact it has on the business so they know to continue the same behaviors.

Provide employees with regular recognition during team meetings and on shared communication platforms. While it is still important to provide employees with positive feedback privately, recognizing them publicly shows other team members what behaviors get recognition within your organization. Publicly praising one employee will positively impact the behavior of others and reinforce the importance of core values aligned with behaviors in the workplace.

2. Use Your Core Values When Making Hiring and Firing Decisions 

Oftentimes, the most difficult decisions are the most impactful to your business. For example, every time you hire a new employee it affects the people within your organization, the product you offer, and the customers you serve. If you don’t assess if a candidate is a value fit for your organization before hiring them, you may do more harm than good. While you can assess previous technical skills and knowledge, you may not know how to assess value alignment through your interview process. To avoid hiring missteps, create a set of behavioral-based interview questions aligned with your core values and integrate them into your recruitment process. By asking behavioral-based questions you’ll be able to determine if a candidate’s past performance demonstrates alignment with your core values. If their answers raise concerns, you can confidently move forward with other candidates.

Conversely, use your core values when making firing decisions. Retaining an employee whose actions conflict with your core values sends a poor message to the rest of your workforce. Never make exceptions for employees who consistently display behaviors that contradict your core values, even if they are top performers. Utilizing your core values to guide decision-making in challenging situations, such as employee terminations, fosters a culture that feels good for the individuals within your organization and contributes to long-term employee retention.

3. Provide Training on Core Values

Including core values in your training processes keeps your values top of mind throughout the employee lifecycle. For new hires, providing in-depth training on core values as part of the onboarding process positions your core values as an integral part of the organization. Provide examples of how each value can be seen in day-to-day operations and how they are used to guide decision-making. Introducing core values at the beginning of employment prompts new employees to align their behaviors accordingly as they integrate into the organization.

4. Consistently Communicate Core Values

Employees who feel connected to an organization’s core values are more engaged because they see their work as meaningful and part of a bigger purpose. Consistently communicating your company’s core values reinforces their importance and reminds employees of what your organization stands for. Leaders within the organization should exemplify their values and communicate them at every opportunity. This can be done through storytelling, shoutouts, and providing positive feedback to employees whose behaviors demonstrate your values. Routinely communicating your values creates a culture of trust and understanding that allows employees to feel confident in making values-led decisions.

5. Incorporate Core Values Into Performance Reviews 

Incorporating core values into performance reviews isn’t just about assessing employee behavior, it’s about shaping and reinforcing your company culture. When employees know their performance reviews consider both job-specific contributions and their behavior as it relates to the core values, they are more likely to think about them on a daily basis. While it is important for managers to document employee behavior in preparation for performance reviews, allow direct reports to share their perspectives as well. Include a self-evaluation section in the performance review for employees to share instances when they made values-based decisions or acted in a values-led way. Having employees reflect on their past behavior encourages them to uphold the integrity of your core values, even when no one is watching.

An HR Consultant Can Help Your Organization With Core Values

Does your business need core values but you’re not sure where to start? Or, do you already have core values but are struggling to integrate them into your organization? Regardless of where you are in your core values journey, Red Clover is here to help! Not only do we help create core values unique to your business, but we also use our expertise in HR process creation to make them an integral part of your daily operations. Contact us today to get started!

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