HR Management & Compliance

What Are Your Company’s Core Values?

Today we are joined by Derek Irvine, the VP of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, who is answering questions about a recent research report that they released entitled Bringing More Humanity to Recognition, Performance and Life at Work. Let’s jump right in.

laughing workers

jacoblund / iStock / Getty Images Plus

HR Daily Advisor: A lot of your research focuses on companies’ core values. What about companies that don’t know what their core values are? How challenging is the process of identifying and committing to them for these kinds of companies?

Derek Irvine: Every organization has a set of values that guides every decision made – from the way employees interact with clients, to the types of products they sell. These core values are ingrained in the fabric of an organization’s overall work culture. They are a guiding post for making ethical decisions that impact all stakeholders, including clients, employees and the greater public as a whole.

Core values sometimes stem from the organizational legacy of a company founder. Other times, they grow from the company’s strategic vision. Either way, they always create the foundational underpinnings of that organization’s culture.

Yet there are times when organizations don’t do a good enough job of properly communicating those values. As a result, not everyone within the organization is aware of those values or doesn’t know what it means to live those values every day.

HR Daily Advisor: How does a company go about tying their core values to their recognition programs?

Derek Irvine: A company’s core values should only be considered good if they are understandable and livable. If they are not clear or employees are not aligned with them, they simply won’t stick. The simple act of recognizing and championing the employee who emulates the right behavior can help set the precedent for others in the company.

When an employee demonstrates a core value of the company, make sure there is an opportunity for both peers and managers to publicly appreciate that behavior as this confirms the behavior and encourages others to follow suit.

Having a formal social recognition program tied to a company’s core values is as valuable for the giver as it is the receiver of recognition. When employees want to recognize one another, they must take a moment to decide which value that great behavior aligns with, prompting employees to think about these values in an active, participatory way. As the latest WorkHuman Research Institute report from Globoforce indicates, 93 percent of workers at companies with recognition programs tied to core values agree the work they do has meaning and purpose. At companies with no formal recognition program, only 81 percent of workers agree the work they do has meaning and purpose. Additionally, because values are reinforced and broadcast in real time through recognition, organizations with values-based recognition are much less likely to have employees unaware of core values or find them meaningless or unrealistic.

HR Daily Advisor: Why do you think that workers responded better to more regular feedback? Where does the annual feedback system fail?

Derek Irvine: Given the pace of today’s business, once-a-year annual performance reviews are no longer enough. Since priorities and business needs change frequently, it is important for both managers and employees to be in sync so they can both strive toward common goals. As a result, employees and managers should meet more frequently so they are not solely relying on the annual performance appraisal for feedback, especially since annual performance reviews are based on historical data and are not an accurate representation of employees’ current behavior.

Statistics show that U.S. workers are 42 percent more likely to agree the feedback they receive is valuable when it is delivered in a quarterly or ongoing process (64 percent), as opposed to an annual or semi-annual review (45 percent). Regular feedback also spurs greater trust between employees and managers: in organizations where performance management is a continuous process, employees trust their managers more (41 percent vs. 34 percent) and perceive them to be better coaches and partners (78 percent vs. 64 percent), versus employees in organizations with annual reviews.

HR Daily Advisor: Can you tell me about collective or crowdsourced feedback? What is it, and what value does it bring to the workplace?

Derek Irvine: Crowdsourced feedback is the new model for performance management. It refers to the practice of seeking employee feedback from everyone in an organization, not just from managers. Crowdsourced feedback takes the collective company into account when evaluating an employee’s performance and provides managers with critical data points from employees throughout the year to reinforce the type of performance the company seeks.

As our new research shows, crowdsourced feedback from managers and peers in an organization is more likely to improve work performance than feedback simply delivered by managers (56 percent vs. 48 percent).

In many of the world’s leading organizations crowdsourcing is transforming all of HR. It is in managers’ best interest to better support their employees by shifting away from the traditional performance management process and moving towards more frequent check-ins and conversations.

HR Daily Advisor: The survey showed improvements in trust for managers by their employees when given continuous performance management versus annual reviews. How continuous is continuous? Is there a limit? Doesn’t it take a lot of resources to switch from an annual review process to a more regular one?

Derek Irvine: The frequency of check-ins can vary from organization to organization and department to department. The cadence of check-ins should be decided mutually between managers and employees – depending on the nature of the project and their relationship. Because annual performance reviews rely solely on the memory, perspective and opinion of a single person, regular check-ins between employees and managers result in employees being more likely to be aligned on the priorities and core values of their organizations.

To make this process most helpful for improving employee performance, managers should embrace a growth mindset with the goal to develop employees and build them up for success, as opposed to simply managing them. Managers should also realize crowdsourced recognition is a critical component of positive feedback, ultimately empowering the entire company to recognize great achievements and behaviors.

HR Daily Advisor: Your research referred to a “human work culture.” Can you tell me a little bit more about that?

Derek Irvine: We believe establishing a more human workplace starts with the moment of gratitude, amplified across an organization by inspiring people to be more human while embracing the whole, authentic person.

We pioneered the WorkHuman movement to galvanize leaders worldwide to harness the transformative power of people for the next generation of HR.  We celebrate breakthrough organizations building human-centric workplaces where employees achieve their fullest potential – where people feel appreciated, connected, and empowered for who they are and what they do.

WorkHuman recognizes businesses who thrive by bringing humanity and crowdsourcing to the employee experience. WorkHuman is the future of the workplace.

HR Daily Advisor: How can a company go about creating a human work culture?

Derek Irvine: In a human workplace, every employee, regardless of nationality, gender, sexual orientation, personality, color or race, is empowered to have a voice, feel respected, have a strong sense of belonging, and be comfortable bringing his or her whole self to work. Organizations should recognize that individuals have an identity – their true self. They should cater to the employees as a whole person and foster social connections and friendships within their organizations so employees are inspired to do the best work of their lives. As our research shows, employees who work within a human work culture are two times more likely to feel they can grow in an organization, 41 percent more likely to feel their work has meaning and 112 percent more likely to feel appreciated for the work they do.

HR Daily Advisor: Can a company overdo employee recognition?

Derek Irvine: A company can never overdo employee recognition. If anything, we don’t recognize and thank one another enough. The reality is that positive energy is incredibly infectious and when it comes to the modern workplace, there are never any negative repercussions that occur from thanking someone “too much.”

Thank you so much to Derek Irvine, check out the results of their report here.