Organizational mission is the purpose of the organization but its values tell the world how it will do its mission. Values dictate how the organization treats people, how it operates and how it serves. Unfortunately, far too often, organizations have a wall of written values but forget to put them into practice. The result—values conflict. A values conflict will affect paid and volunteer staff morale, partner relationships and client services. Putting organizational values into action creates an organizational culture that is motivational and inspirational to those who come into contact with it.
How can you implement the values of the organization?
First, recognize that the values are for everyone – inside and outside the organization. Have you ever encountered an organization that has ____ as its stated value and that is how its clients are treated, but its employees are not treated the same way? Organizational values must be across the board—for staff and for clients. Staff will have a really difficult time sharing organizational values with clients if the values don’t apply to their daily work lives.
Next, when developing values, think about what it means to actually implement them. It is easy to sit in a room and develop “pie in the sky” values but it may be a different story when it comes to implementing them. To ensure this doesn’t happen in your organization, identify key values and then think through how these values are lived out on a day to day basis. What does the value mean to different staff?
Now that you have developed a list of the core values by which your organization will operate, share them far and wide. Let others know this is how you will operate.
Now, you are ready to begin values-based hiring practices. (This is really difficult to do if you haven’t determined what your values are). Include organizational values in job descriptions, providing examples of how the value is lived out on a day-to-day basis and how it impacts this particular position. Include values-related questions during the interview process and during performance evaluations. Doing so will help the organization to attract those employees whose personal values align with those of the organization, which in turn, will reduce employee turn-over and unhappiness on the job.
As you work to continue to build a values-based culture within the organization, it will be important to regularly discuss the stated values – in staff meetings, in board meetings and in committee meetings. When decisions are made, ask how the decisions support the values and mission of the organization. Make it a habit to ask these questions – even when it is difficult.
Values must be lived out on a daily basis. And values-based leadership begins at the top. Organizational leaders must lead the stated values …if you are not willing to lead a certain value, it may be time to modify the organizational values … or it may be time to find a position that does align with your values.
How can we help you develop your organizational mission and values?