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4 MIN READ

What to do When Employees Don’t Display Your Core Values

What to do When Employees Don’t Display Your Core Values
What to do When Employees Don’t Display Your Core Values

What to do When Employees Don’t Display Your Core Values

Last year, I suffered a minor back injury. I went to two different doctors, weeks of physical therapy, and changed my workout routine.

Why did I do all of that for a minor injury? Basic functions like standing, sitting, and walking all rely on a strong back, and I knew that any damage to my back could have a lasting impact on other joints and muscles down the road.

Core values hold a similar role to your organization’s overall health. They are the backbone of your company, and any infringement, no matter how slight, can have negative consequences. At some point, you might have to address behavior that doesn’t measure up to your core values. What then?

Promptly Address Issues

For core values to be effective, they must be shared, defined, and reinforced by leadership. When leaders mention these values by name and connect them with positive daily interactions, everyone understands how to embody these qualities.

So, if an employee says or does something that isn’t in line with those well-defined values, it must be addressed promptly. It’s best to schedule time for a conversation so you can gather your thoughts.

  • Make a note of what behavior(s) you saw that didn’t match your core value(s).
  • Give examples of how that core value should be displayed.
  • Make a list of open-ended questions to better understand what happened and their point of view.

How to Promote Core Values in the Workplace

Provide Constructive Feedback

After giving the employee a chance to explain the situation, try to determine what led to them compromising the core value. Was it intentional or a miscommunication? Do they have a reputation for upholding the company’s other values? Have they responded positively and made improvements in the past? The answers to these questions will help shape the feedback you provide.

  • Clearly outline your expectations moving forward. It is important to be specific about the behaviors that will not be tolerated.
  • Offer your help. If stress and overwhelm contributed to the issue, make it clear that you are a resource for them. If possible, redistribute the workload.
  • Ask if anything else can help them display the core values. This is a powerful question. It might reveal something that on the surface is unrelated but impacts their behavior.

4 Steps for Providing Specific and Actionable Feedback 

Establish a Path Forward

The last step is to establish a path forward. At this point, the employee should feel seen and heard and be truly clear on the expectations. Let them know you will check in with them regularly and use your one-on-one meetings to monitor their progress. Look for any improvements and celebrate them.

  • You might find it helpful to pair the employee with a co-worker who displays the core value well.
  • Read the employee’s growth guide to understand what motivates them and connect the core value to their goals.

Conclusion

Protecting your core values keeps your organization running smoothly. When addressed promptly, small infractions will never grow into large offenses. Setting clear expectations and creating a path forward is key to resolving any breach of your values.

Now Available! ENGAGE 2024: The Company Culture Report

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About Author

Danielle Alleyne
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