A Value System In The Workplace

Implementation Is Much More Than Training

A system of beliefs that helps one to make decisions (personal/business) is known as a value system. In a professional environment, such core values form the foundations that build any business. These values need to be upheld and implemented across the entire business. The employees need to treat such value systems as sacrosanct and use them regularly throughout the decision-making process. When they are used optimally, these core values can provide benefits to a company to grow fast and evolve into a larger organization.

At any organization, developing and inculcating such a value system in every employee is crucial. It helps one to make tough decisions easily, without the sword of “Big Brother” watching, with total confidence in the decision. Thus, most organizations invest in huge training programs as decision-making is a more intrinsic process. But even after doing so much why do organizations fail to execute? Why does the employee fail to understand the context? Why do these values look the same for all organizations? And a lot of other such why’s.

An interesting thing happened a couple of years back with one of my projects along the same lines. Without taking names, the client had a challenge in execution. The organization already had a bag full of values of dos and don’ts. They already had an explanation system for these values for employees. They also had devised hundreds of verbs and then categorized these verbs into different bands to map to the organization structure. Yet things were still not working!

The problem was that we ended up processing everything without considering the fact that people will end up simply mugging-up, the compliance process for instance, when forced to pass an examination. A value system needs to be adopted first. These imbibed values are easy to implement when the employee understands them. They then get reflected in communication, decisions, processes, procedures, and just about everywhere. They become the DNA of the organization.

Whether as a leader or as an employee at any organization, the value system of any enterprise can help navigate through daily dealings with people. A properly aligned value system can provide not only short-term but also long-term benefits to a business. To implement such a value system in any organization, one needs to work democratically with the team. Training is only one small portion of this complete implementation. I feel that this training should not be limited to a single 30-minute module or be complex.

This journey of implementation can easily be understood with the model here.

Here we begin with the "System and Surrounding" and end with "Communication" instead of the other way round, as is usually followed in most organizations.

1. System And Surrounding (PPP)

People observe many things from their surroundings. The training module is just one small part of this surrounding but is not all-encompassing. Hence, it is important to align your "System and Surrounding" with the value system. One shall have to make a tough decision to ensure that you first abide by these values before implementing them. The employee is watching and shall follow the lead.

This implementation shall include people, the process that the company follows, and the procedure. Some of the points that will cover "System and Surrounding" are:

  • Recruitment
  • Onboarding
  • Performance and reward
  • Talent review
  • Selection and promotion
  • Step-up recognition
  • Learning and Development

2. Training And Engagement (CIRE)

The key to making things understood is to keep them simple. Your training and engagement should be continuous, as learning is a journey of events and not a single 30-minute event. To create your training, one should carefully identify a role model who would be the best to cascade a value system further.

Such a model should be relatable with the employee and be able to promote their success stories associated with their specific journey. Some of the practices under this are:

  • Role-based training
  • Weekly/monthly articles or magazines around values
  • Preferably publish success stories, podcast, videos, etc., rather than text
  • Include the identified role models to help you to cascade this behavior in the organization
  • Target social environments where people exchange thoughts and generate content
  • Reflective games

3. Internal Communication (GARV)

The internal communication should be generic to a point without being too complex or too dull. Attention grabbers, easy-to-remember acronyms, easy-to-recall graphics, and visibility everywhere should be the key features of your internal communications.

Some of the practices under this are:

  • Leader videos
  • Screensavers
  • i-Cards/visiting cards
  • Stationary

This implementation at any organization will become easier if it is driven from the top rather than from the bottom. Once an organization is perfectly aligned with such value systems they deem necessary, their path to success should become a happy and attainable journey.