Top 10 Advice About Corporate Values, Employee Recognition and Retention in Organizations


October 23, 2017

This article is an extract of an interview with Paula Molinari, the founder and President of Whalecom. She is considered to be a leader in Change Management and Human Resources. You can read the original interview in Spanish here.

1- Turn Corporate Values Into Concrete Behaviors

Every company has a list of corporate values. Examples include, “to aim for excellence” or “ to be responsible”. Implementation of corporate values is about materializing those symbolic elements into concrete human behaviors. This is where recognition plays a very important part. For example: if a company states that “ethics” is a very important value, then when an employee demonstrates ethical behavior in a given situation, managers and co-workers ought to acknowledge that behavior.

2- Lead by Example

Management should establish consistency. If there is a list of corporate values but the manager’s behaviors do not comply with those principles, then that list will seem useless. The issue that matters most is the strength of the model. So, it is fundamental that the manager act as the role model.

Recognition is also important. Somehow the board management has to devote a little of its time to give recognition to people who behave in the framework of values.

3- Reinforce Time Management and Development

“Time management” is the Number One non-monetary incentive. Most professionals want to have fair compensation, provided they have enough spare time to enjoy it.

It’s important to note that “time management” does not necessarily mean “home office”. Time management is the ability to plan, prioritize activities and organize oneself in an efficient manner. Time management means different things to different employees. For example: “handling my time as I see it necessary”, or “I can leave the office at four in the afternoon and continue working from my home”, or “the company rewards me with days off”. Let’s say you own a clothing store: salespeople cannot work from home. But you can offer them well paid holidays, or reward good salespeople with more time off.

Development is another important incentive. People want to learn and to be challenged at work; this is even more critical for millennials.

4- Listen To Talented Employees

A better compensation is frequently a good reason why people change jobs but certainly not enough to explain the phenomena. Someone who is looking to improve his/her career is going to prefer companies that offer opportunities for professional growth.  Someone who is expecting their second child may look for another job with better remuneration. On the other hand, when you ask people to tell you what their ideal job would be, they tend to forget about salary and mention other things like job satisfaction, personal time/vacation, career development opportunities, etc.

In a nutshell, one could say that people change jobs when they find an opportunity that better fits their current lifestyle. Go beyond salary and find out what your employees need. The art of listening and appreciating are key to talent retention.

5- Think About the Meaning of Success – it’s not the same for everyone

When you listen to people talk about success in life, they clearly refer to things that matter the most. Answers tend to be about family, values, relationships, and feeling good. “The things that are important to me.” And it is not always wealth accumulation. It may be important for some people, but not everyone.

For the previous work paradigm, wealth accumulation was fundamental. Now, the use of time is fundamental. It’s common to hear this phrase among professionals: “Why should I accumulate money if I do not have the time to spend it? I want enough money to do what I want to do in my spare time.”

6 – Do The Right Thing: Millennials Will Appreciate It

When you listen to young people talk about a cool job, it is usually because the person being described is doing something they enjoy. Young people are not talking about making a lot of money. Although it is still great to earn a good salary when millennials say “John is happy with his work”, or “how cool is John´s job,” it’s because John is enjoying what he does.

The purpose of a job may not be important for everyone, but it is for younger generations. In a future world run by millennials, companies that do the right thing are going to be the most attractive employers.  Doing the right thing does not only mean “do not pollute”. It means paying taxes, telling the truth. Although simple, it can be quite profound.

7- Change Your Mindset: There is a New Work Paradigm Happening

The previous work paradigm was based on the need for control. The belief that if you don’t control your employees, they won’t work.As they say, when the cat’s away the mice will play. The new paradigm is just the opposite: it’s based on the belief that if you trust people and create a consistent framework, employees will operate accordingly.

For the most part, people want to do the right thing and be recognized for it.  People value participating, learning and feeling good at work. People value doing meaningful work, no matter the industry.

8- Provide a Great Framework and Give Support

Ever heard of the Pygmalion effect? It’s a famous study that shows that if teachers expect good performance from their students, then the student’s will perform well. In many ways, this can also be applied for employees.

If you expect your employees to be self-managed and you provide them with a clear framework, then people tend to do their work well.  This is demonstrated by new business models, such as Uber, Airbnb, and so many others, which are based on the new work paradigm.

For this, you have to create a framework with clear values, reasonable rules, consistent support and certain facilities. And if someone does something that is not right, it has to be addressed immediately. If there is an employee who is not the right fit – whatever the reasons – the first step is to speak openly. The second step is to support him/her: to help, to teach, to train, to follow up, and to counsel. If the situation persists, then there may not be other recourses other than to let that person go.

9- Anticipate Digital Transformations

Digital transformation will have an impact in every industry: this will be a challenge for Human Resources because they will have to support ways of doing work that are not yet regularized. Labor legislation cannot keep up with reality.

Perhaps one of the main challenges for Human Resources is to overcome resistance to change as well as to provoke it in conservative industries.

10-Stay Updated – Think Outside the Box

In any organization, working in silos can be a real danger. Try to be connected with the outside: other organizations, industries, and specialties. Participate in conferences, workshops, and research teams, be active on LinkedIn, read and listen to peers and experts. Force yourself to look outside the organization where you belong. Think outside the box.

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