Every individual has his or her own set of values; it is part of what makes us all unique. However, when you meet someone whose values align with your own, your odds of working well together increase significantly. Principal’s 2015 People Practice Survey found that 62 percent of financial advisers believe company culture is the top employee retention factor. Core values help set the tone for a healthy company culture, and strong companies emphasize the importance of values that are clearly outlined and encourage cohesion.
Hire based on core values
When seeking employees, you must hire someone who believes in your core values, as they represent the heartbeat of your organization. Your core values should be short, easy to remember and easy to recite and should uniquely describe your culture.
The Harvard Business Review found that only 23 percent of U.S. employees strongly agree that they can apply their organization’s values to their work every day. The question becomes, how can you apply your values daily and integrate them in your culture? Enza, for example, captures our core values as an acronym: Enthusiastic giving, Never-ending solutions, Zealous service and Always accountable. You should hire someone who believes in your core values because you ultimately want your values to align with each other.
Hiring someone to fit the role you need is one part of the equation but keeping that employee for the long haul is another thing. When retaining employees, it is key to review, reward and recognize your employees.
- Review. The employee review process provides a great opportunity for you to ingrain your core values into your culture. We do so by having quarterly discussions with employees on how they believe they’re meeting the core values. If they don’t feel that they are aligning with the core values of the company, then it may be time to reevaluate their standing within it.
- Reward. Rewarding employees is a great incentive to drive your core values home. At Enza, we use STAMs to reinforce one of our core values, which is to seek out never-ending solutions. STAM stands for saving time and money. Each employee must come up with one idea on how to save time and money and implement it by the end of the quarter. Employees are then rewarded with a bonus for every STAM they complete. This not only saves the company time and money, but it encourages people to think outside the box and solve problems.
- Recognize. Recognize employees when they are practicing your core values and remind them when they are not. Rewarding someone’s zealous service during a staff meeting, for example, is one way to do this. Let your staff know when behaviors are having a positive impact.
Clearly stated, strong core values can be become the heartbeat of your company and lead to cohesion from within. However, for long-term retention to become possible, it is first important to hire like-minded individuals, then keep them accountable to the values that you have put forth.
Linda Cahill is co-owner and principal at Enza Financial LLC