Linking Core Values With Employee Behavior

Tags: , , ,

Why are core values so important to the success of your business and company culture? Firstly, a company’s core values define the common ground, purpose and drive for why your company even exists. Clearly defined and celebrated core values help employees understand the “Why” behind the work, leading to a strong foundation and a heightened sense of purpose, impact, and drive.

It’s one thing to make your company’s core values known to employees upon initial hiring, and it’s another to put core values into daily practice. Even the most innovative and exciting company core values need daily reinforcement in the lives of employees—otherwise, they may fall into the “out of sight, out of mind” category and do little to help employees meet business objectives.

An easy, yet very effective way to reinforce employee behaviors aligned with your core values is to build the values into your recognition program.

[blockquote type=”pquote” content=”Recognition + core values = highly aligned employees, cultures, and brands“]


Consistently recognizing and reinforcing behaviors that are aligned with the company’s purpose and core values has many benefits. Employees become more engaged when they feel a deeper connection to the company, and consequently, start to take their work more seriously and with greater gusto. Business objectives and goals become a personal matter, something they care for and want to groom as effectively as possible. And when fellow teammates start seeing these behaviors recognized publicly, they are more likely to model the behavior, or core value, that is being praised. What’s more, engaged employees can become your biggest brand ambassadors. Pretty awesome, right?

Your core values affect more than your employees; they also affect public perception and quality of your brand.

In an expose on Steve Jobs and Apple’s values, WE First says that,Only 20% of brands worldwide are seen to meaningfully and positively impact people’s lives, and as social technology continues to drive consumer activism, many companies are waking up to the realization that articulating their values and mission is not fluff. Instead, articulating how your brand brings its core values to life is now critical in terms of the reputational, employee productivity and bottom line benefits—or liabilities—to your company.



How to Align Behaviors That Matter

An easy way to align employee behavior with core values is to publicly recognize those behaviors.

For example, Kazoo customer, Y&R Austin hosts weekly staff meetings where teammates recognize and reward one another for their most recent achievements. Not only does this recognition-fest immediately boost employee morale, it works for the deeper purpose of regularly establishing culture and connection within their teams—two attributes of their company value system that Y&R Austin holds dear.

Another example is how public recognition is done with Kazoo’s employee engagement software where core value alignment is an interactive experience. When a co-worker sends recognition to their peers, they “tag” the core value that most represents the action.


Our Kazoo rockstar Nick Smurda received recognition for replying quickly and positively to customer questions, earning the Kazoo core value tag of “Leave it Better.” Linking the recognition to the core value instantly helps keeps your core values front and center in the minds of your employees.


How to Reevaluate Existing Core Values

To get employees on board with your engagement goals and programs, it’s possible that your core values may need a revamp.

Some questions to consider when deciding to evaluate core values:

  • Do your core values reflect your brand and purpose?
  • Do your core values match the personal values of your employees and leaders?  
  • Would your employees, customers, and leaders be able to recognize your core values?
  • Does the language reflect the tone, voice and message of your brand and company culture?

If the answer is “no” more than “yes,” then we advise a healthy core value makeover. Start by identifying what qualities, causes or ideas that your employees care about, and see how your company mission matches up. Create your new core values in a tone that reinforces the culture that you wish to build, not necessarily the culture that currently exists. And don’t feel like you have to do this all on your own—get employees involved in the process. It could foster greater authenticity, and shed light on what your employees find most motivating about your company’s goals. Here are some examples of unique and effective core values that a company could reinforce with User Tags with Kazoo employee engagement software, and some more re-vamping tips.


How Core Values Measure Employee Effectiveness

In Kazoo’s data dashboard, leaders can review the core value User Tags to see which core values are expressed the most, and by whom. This information allows for incredible insight into how effective your employees are at aligning their behavior with your company’s mission, as well as how effective your core values are. You can even give special rewards and recognition to employees who succeed at certain core values, which publicly reinforces that core value once more across the news feed. If employees are forgetting to “tag” core values in their recognition, your core values might need some revamping, as mentioned above. Here’s an example from one of our employees. Note how Michael is aligned with our core values at the bottom of his profile:



For more examples on how other companies link employee behavior with company core values, check out our quick and easy to read e-Book.

SXSW eBook

Find out how Kazoo creates a rewarding and purpose-filled workplace.