So let’s say you’ve nailed down the right values. What now? Patrick Lencioni reminds us that from the first interview to the last day of work, employees should be constantly reminded that core values form the basis for every decision the company makes. We revere companies with great culture, and idolize CEOs like Tony Hsieh who put culture first in a very public way, and startups invest a lot of energy into defining their values. We asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) “How do you communicate company culture on a daily basis?” Read their top answers below.
- Celebrate Values Alignment Through Actions “Celebrate team members when their actions embody company values. ” ~ Kevon Saber, Fig
- Create Traditions “Capture and create traditions that support your culture. Look for opportunities to create “rites of passage” for new employees, stimulate healthy competition, award prizes and celebrate major accomplishments. These things all give your company personality and are what people go home talking about.” ~ Christopher Kelly, Sentry Conference Centers
- Connect at Morning Meetings “Each morning, we get together for the morning meeting. We go around answering first, what we’re most excited about doing that day and then second, a silly question. (Examples include favorite children’s book, first pet’s name and No. 1 Thanksgiving dinner staple.) It’s a refreshing way to start the day and laugh a lot (one of our core values).” ~ Derek Flanzraich, Greatist
- Send Encouraging Emails “I try to write a message each day to my staff that reinforces my organization’s culture. It may be from our goals and initiatives, or details on a project recently completed that was in tune with our company culture.” ~ Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
- Show Appreciation “I make a point of walking around the office every day and thanking people. It could be, “I really appreciated the email announcement you crafted,” or “Thanks for handling that tough situation a few days ago.” It reminds them to thank too.” ~ Brent Beshore, AdVentures
- Appoint a Chief Culture Officer “The goal is to be intentional about culture — and the best way to do this is to have someone whose job is building good culture.” ~ Josh Allan Dykstra, Strengths Doctors
- Have a Daily Huddle “Each day at 11:11 a.m., we have a 5-minute, high-energy meeting for the entire company. We review good news and numbers, and share examples of how we’ve each demonstrated one of our four core values in the last 24 hours. ” ~ Nick Friedman, College Hunks Hauling Junk
- Share Successes Everywhere “Yammer announces everyone’s daily progress, a sales gong rings throughout the office whenever we get a new client and whiteboard paint from IdeaPaint covers many of our walls so no one ever has to travel far for a brainstorming session.” ~ Robert J. Moore, RJMetrics
In another example, Comergent, a young e-business company, has created a strong culture around dependability, dedication, and self-motivation. During interviews, CEO Jean Kovacs asks about workload expectations and past accomplishments – she asks candidates to describe something they’ve accomplished that other people thought would be impossible. Employees are evaluated against the core values when it comes time to award stock, bonuses, and raises. Even the decision to let someone go is driven by values.
It’s impossible for a new employee to spend a week at Seibel without realizing that customer satisfaction is a core value. Art on the walls comes from customers’ annual reports, and the conference rooms are named after customers. Compensation and bonuses are decided based on third-party customer survey metrics.
Nordstrom is a well-known example of a values-driven organization. The story of the representative who took back a customer’s two-year-old blouse with no questions asked, told over and over, reinforces employees’ belief that they work for an extraordinary company. And during non-store hours, managers read customer comments over the intercom so that employees can hear firsthand how they are doing.