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|Gina Blitstein combines her insight as a fellow small business owner with her strong communication skills, exploring topics that enhance your business efforts. That first-hand knowledge, matched with an insatiable curiosity to know more about just about anything, makes her a well-rounded writer with a sincere desire to engage and inform.|
Utilizing Shared Company Values to Regulate Your Employees' Actions
Every company must have a basic set of guidelines by which work is conducted: something that informs everyone of what is acceptable and what is not in your workplace and with your clients. No list of rules, however, could encompass every situation, every scenario that could potentially arise in the course of doing business. How, then, can you ensure that your company and all of its employees are operating from the same playbook?
One solution to this issue could be to expand your definition of “rules and regulations” to encompass a broader theme: company values. Instead of random rules that state, “do” this and “don’t do” that, behaviors, communications and decisions would be based on an understood, shared, accepted core of company values. Imbued with this deeper and wider understanding of expectations, employees will feel empowered to do the right thing in most any situation; acting in accordance with that which aligns with company values; and avoiding that which does not.
This rationale is based upon the fact that following rules for the express purpose of avoiding negative consequences is unsatisfying, demotivating and seemingly pointless. But when employees are made aware of a bigger picture in the form of a statement of company values, their investment in bringing that vision to fruition is engaged. Employees who are motivated to embody company values are more highly motivated to comply with and expand upon them. When employees are informed about the underlying “why,” they are more likely to act in ways that correspond to their understanding of that principle. Basically, this negates blind adherence to rules in favor of voluntary adoption of a shared cause.
Determining company values
Certainly, it’s incumbent upon you as the business owner to determine what your specific company values are. To do so, consider the things that spark your passion for your business; those things that set you apart from other businesses. Are you committed to providing an exceptional customer experience, being a good citizen of your community, operating with a high degree of honesty or being highly eco-friendly? Those - and many more such noble pursuits - are the types of mindsets that make for powerful company values. When communicated to employees, you can see how such values could inform the way they conduct themselves.
For instance, an employee who knows that an exceptional customer experience is paramount will go out of her way to ensure that a customer is pleased, without concern of negative repercussions as to the amount of time that was dedicated to the customer or the specific efforts made on the customer’s behalf. There doesn’t need to be a “rule” to do A,B,C with each and every customer to serve them - your employees will automatically go above and beyond because they know that they are serving a company-wide priority.
Indoctrinate your employees as to the company values so there will be no doubt of what they are in anyone’s mind. It’s just the way it is in your company culture to take those values to heart. Employees will appreciate this type of guidance and respect you as an employer with integrity and a strong motivation to do more than simply make money.
Empowering employees to carry out company values
It’s all well and good to have company values set forth, but for them to be a strong motivator for employees, they must be supported by you and the policies of upper management. Provide the resources employees need so they can carry out the company values. In other words, make certain that employees have access to the records, people, equipment and permissions that may be required to take exceptional action to assist a customer.
Let’s continue our example of a company value pertaining to providing exceptional customer experience. You’ll want to assure that employees understand the entire array of measures they can take to satisfy a customer. Enable them to issue a refund, extend the length of a service contract, accept a return beyond the cutoff date... These types of courtesies are the types of “arrows in the quiver” that your team should have at their disposal in order to fulfill the goal of amazing customer service.
For many businesses, a stated focus upon shared company values is significantly more motivating to employees than simply a list of general rules. This style of regulation empowers employees with a sense of purpose and mission which will lead to higher satisfaction and retention. And there’s the bonus that happy employees are more positively engaged with customers. Sounds like a win all around!
How can your company values be utilized to regulate your employees’ actions?
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