In the past two decades, the world of work has radically transformed. Mobile tech has fazed out the desktop, telecommuting is more common than ever, and chatbots are taking over customer service. In most cases, companies have responded to this by implementing new technologies, drafting new policies, and bringing fresh perspectives into the ranks. But is that really enough?
It's about time our company philosophies evolve to reflect these new approaches. Today’s employees are more motivated than ever to work for companies that reflect their values, goals, and worldview. Unfortunately, most companies neglect to explicitly state their values.
Company value statements also frequently fail to account for all workers. There are 300% more telecommuters in the workforce now than there were 20 years ago. But we aren't crafting our company cultures to cater to these remote groups. If anything, we're moving forward with a one-size-fits-all approach — that doesn't go far enough.
There are plenty of rewards to be gleaned from keeping company values current and top-of-mind. Netflix, the streaming video juggernaut, owes part of its success to the creation of a 124-slide culture deck that clearly and completely lays out the company’s values. Notably, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg has called this deck "the most important document ever to come out of the Valley."
If we're still operating according to outdated company values, we are flirting with disaster. We must evaluate whether our current values provide the level of engagement, motivation, and guidance necessary to speak toward all of our employees. Here's where we can start:
- Be honest and embrace change. It is easy to give our company values a cursory glance and claim they are fine the way they are. It's easy to claim that we embrace change without acting like it. But without meaningfully changing our company cultures to match our changing workplace, deficiencies are inevitable. We must take a critical look at our current values, and be willing to make significant changes where necessary. Strong values can be a replacement for rigid rules. Over time we can simplify how we manage while also improving outcomes — simply by making values a true priority.
- Practice what we preach. We will only reap the rewards of a value-based company culture by making those values central to everything we do. If values statements are directly contradicted by our actions as managers and executives, they will not inspire motivation — they will inspire cynicism.
- Prioritize transparency. Value-focused management has a positive impact on employee engagement, partly because it makes team members feel more deeply connected to the fate of a company. A good way to amplify this feeling is by disregarding traditional roles and hierarchies, instead opening up the conversation so that everyone understands how and what the company is doing.
- Reach everyone. Engagement efforts should include every member of the team — regardless of location or role. That way everyone's contributions reflect our current values. Technology — particularly the proper use of mobile — can do a lot to make cultural initiatives more accessible.
- Leverage modern technology. With traditional communication channels, like email, intranets or even newsletters, how long does it take to write, publish and get every employee in the company to read it. With mobile technology you ensure those success stories, community programs, and leadership messages reach everyone in your company immediately. By going where your employees are – on their smartphones – you’ll increase the chances of getting everyone to internalize the core principles that are the glue of your organization.
So where do you go from here?
Consider an internal communications mobile app as a next generation channel to reach more of your distributed workforce with important messages. A mobile app solution increases employee reach and engagement by giving your staﬀ direct access to company information, communications, and even HR workﬂows.
Our company values can be an obstacle to our success rather than an accelerant. It’s time to get serious about building a culture for the future so that no one gets left behind.
Daniel Kraft is the president and CEO of Sitrion. Sitrion provides award-winning mobile productivity solutions for the digital workplace, making work better for working people every day. Sitrion solutions unify and extend communications, information, and processes directly to mobile devices from business systems like SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, and Salesforce. Daniel is a public speaker on topics involving employee engagement and productivity and was featured on TEDx.