9 Ways To Revamp & Revive Core Values

What is one way you have revamped and revived your company core values?

To help companies revamp their core company values, we asked HR leaders and business owners this question for their best insights. From converting values into high-performance behaviors to giving employees a say, there are several ways that your company can revamp and revive its core values and improve the stakeholder experience.

Here are nine ways to revamp and revive core values:

  • Convert Values to High-performance Behaviors
  • Consider Minimizing Your List of Values
  • Crowdsourcing for Core Values
  • Create a Synergy With the World
  • Revamp Values to Condemn Remote Hostile Work Environments
  • Be Aware of Unintended Consequences
  • Make Values Experienceable
  • Throw a Culture Party
  • Give Employees a Say on Company Values


Convert Values to High-performance Behaviors

Anyone can post a list of concepts to a boardroom wall, but unless they are backed by specific, demonstratable actions, your value “art” will become wallpaper in a week. If values aren’t lived, they are soon forgotten.

Too often companies default to generic concepts like integrity, trust, or authenticity but they never clarify expected actions or illustrate how employees can fully live that value. To make yours meaningful, resist binary, “have or have not” items that are really a cost of entry. Instead, select two to four that truly represent your organization and then clearly illustrate what it means to meet, exceed, or fall short of representing that value. If you can’t articulate your expectations, you're likely trying to live another organization's values.

Tim Toterhi, Plotline Leadership


Consider Minimizing Your List of Values

Last year, we had eight core values. However, our employees indicated that it could be too much, and sometimes it was hard to remember all of them. That's why we decided to revive our values and ended up having 4, all thoroughly discussed with our employees, team leaders, and managers. Now, it is much easier to remember what the values are and what actions are required to follow them. It proves that less is more when it comes to the company mission and core non-negotiable principles.

Ewelina Melon, Tidio


Crowdsourcing for Core Values

When it was time to revisit and revive our core values at Zenefits, we surveyed our team, asking them what things they identified with and what they felt our strongest capabilities were. The results of that survey formed the basis of our new core values. As a leader, we are often told to keep in mind the golden rule, but I think the platinum rule is just as important. Treat people how they want to be treated, and that means being a good listener. It also means being open to new ideas and truly embracing what kind of company core values the people want, not just what management wants. Rather than putting empty, wishful statements on a poster, we went with what our teams already valued and what made our company unique and great. Those values continue to endure and inspire our people to take care of each other and our customers and ultimately drive our success.

Danny Speros, Zenefits


Create a Synergy With the World

Reviving core values does not seem as important as revamping them in this current work environment. The values need to adapt to whatever environment they are being applied to. Whether that be a remote, hybrid, or in-office environment, the values should glide through each employee's workflow with ease. The world we work in today is so much different from the one 3 years ago, therefore keeping the same values that you had 3 years ago would not make any sense. You need to adapt to the world around you and make sure your new company values synergize with that world.

Himanshu Agarwal, WorkBoard


Revamp Values to Condem Remote Hostile Work Environments

With so many employees now working remotely, we've revisited our core values and now place more emphasis on compassion, communication, and respect. It amazes me that a hostile work environment can be created in a world where employees aren't working in the same building...I think employees are typing Slack and Teams messages so quickly that they are hitting send without thinking through what they just typed. Our employees need to be reminded that sometimes people "type" things they don't mean to, and we need to give them the benefit of the doubt that their intentions were good before getting into a heated typing dialogue.

Suzanne Crest, Eos HR Consulting


Be Aware of Unintended Consequences

Core Values are a critical element of any brand, both personal and professional as they lay the foundation for the organization's culture, its employees, and customer experience.

A lot of the work I do with clients is around establishing and/or updating core values and we always start with assessing the values that exist today, even if they aren't well defined or defined at all, they do exist and it's critical to identify what they are before trying to change them.

One key takeaway is to be aware of the unintended consequences of selecting trendy phrases as a core value. I worked with a client and one of their core values was GSD (Get "Stuff" Done). While this might seem great and something to drive people to take action, it actually created chaos and a Machiavellian culture where the sole focus was on the "what" vs the "how", which created a lack of trust and a lot of undermining and unhealthy competition solely because GSD was their #1 core value.

Barbie Winterbottom, the Business of HR


Make Values Experienceable

More often than not, company values are great posters on the wall, but not much more. To revive these values you need to address these questions and act accordingly:
- Are the current company values really the ones we base our strategy, goals, and daily operations on? If not, how big is the gap and why is that so?
- Are the company values experienceable?
- Are company values talked about in staff/team meetings?
- Are there sanctions if someone is acting against the company values?

Reinhard Guggenberger, Soaring Fox


Throw a Culture Party

One way to revamp and revive your company's core values is by throwing a party to celebrate the culture of the company. During this party, you can play games like trivia to improve everyone's awareness of the company's core values. Create a fun and educational way for employees to revive their company core values. This is a great way to revive your company's core values and create a fun experiential way of doing it with your employees.

Amaury Kosman, Circular


Give Employees a Say on Company Values

Core values are a fundamental aspect of our company that we keep improving, less than often. We live through them every day and it can be seen in the behaviors and deeds across the company. However, as we grow, we realize the need to revamp core values that were once the foundation.

46% of job seekers considered company culture a crucial factor before applying. Considering this, we believe core values should be reviewed and redeveloped from time to time. When it comes to revamping our core values, we first understand if there’s really a need to upgrade. For this, we share stories of employees who recently demonstrated company values in their performance.

Also, we include employees to suggest which core value we should have. Why? Know that 91% of managers in the U.S. say an employee’s synchronization with the company culture is equal to or more crucial than skills and experience. Now our workforce is keeping up with the values they chose. That’s how we improve our core values over time.

Alika Cooper, Cogneesol

The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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