Yesterday, I wrote about the importance of company values as the glue that holds us (employees, managers, leaders) together as we face unprecedented change in the workplace.

I received this comment to the post on

    “At the Manufacturing Skills Australia conference Prof. Alan Patching (Programme Director 2000 Olympic Games) gave a great presentation. To open he asked the audience of 500 ‘does everyone in this room work for an organisation with company values?’ A smattering of people raised their hands so Alan went to each one and asked them to detail those values to the audience. No one could remember them. My question to you is if company values are so crucial why isn’t it taken up by the workers?”

This is an excellent question and very important point about company values. Most people in an organisation have no idea what the company values are. More importantly, even more have no idea what those values mean in their daily work.

Getting a group of people in a room to decide on the values, creating posters and plaques to hang those values on the wall, perhaps sending out a communications campaign about the values – none of these are worthwhile or in the least effective in making your values real to every employee.

Sure, we’d like to help your employees recite their values. But we’re far more concerned about your employees having the values so deeply ingrained that they both live out those values in their daily work and notice when colleagues around them do the same.

This is the power of Strategic Employee Recognition in which you:

1) Purposefully tie every recognition moment in the company to a company value
2) Detail more specifically how the person’s behaviours, actions or achievements reflected the values in contribution to project/customer/company success
3) Encourage everyone to notice and appreciate these “value demonstrations” in their peers and colleagues

When you do this, every employee now not only knows the values, but also knows what those values look like in their day-to-day efforts, knows the company considers these efforts and value demonstrations important, and is encouraged to repeat them.

If you make your company values real in this way for every employee, I guarantee they will be “taken up by the workers.”

Do you know your company values (no peeking at the plaque on the wall)? More importantly, do you know what those values look like in your daily tasks.