When I started at my position as chief performance officer at an e-marketing agency nine months ago, the company's products and services were good. Its business strategy was sound. But the quality of its people — their talent, passion, and (importantly) their way of thinking — was lacking.
So we went back and formally defined what attributes we wanted to see in each role within the company — so we could properly source, interview, and hire the right people. Then we decided to refocus on the company’s culture and core values.
Here are our 10 core values, which are inspired by Zappos’ corporate values. (And by the way, Zappos both hires and fires on core values. That means they give equal consideration to both performance ability AND support of core values to be part of the Zappos family).
- Consistently deliver an extraordinary client “experience.”
- Embrace and drive change.
- Be creative, solutions-focused and open-minded.
- Build a positive team and family spirit.
- Always learn and grow.
- Communicate openly, honestly and respectfully.
- Be accountable — do (at least) your share.
- Add value and make a difference.
- Be a force for good in the community.
- Have fun and keep it real.
Value No. 5 is important. We intentionally built learning and growing into the core functions of our days. So we settled on ways the company could support this commitment, and demonstrate its dedication to this core value.
- General Learning: The organization participates in a monthly “lunch-and-learn” program where we talk about — and help develop — skills that impact the entire organization like communication, activity management, core computer skills, etc.
- Role Learning: Every role in the company has specialized training; some employees go through weekly training, some monthly. The idea in role training is for employees to be exceptional at the things they have to do every day.
- Self Learning: All employees are encouraged to identify topics that add to their personal and professional development. These may be through webinars, journals, periodicals, blogs, or events. There is no suggested maximum or minimum; employees choose how to self-develop.
We also talk about education. We share blogs (examples are Seth Godin’s blog, Mark and Angel Hack Life, Recognize This, and four or five other e-marketing blogs). We pass around whitepapers. We share articles with our clients. We all join webinars. Education is a company core value.
Saying you offer education and training is one thing. Building education and training in as a company core value — supported by the organization’s policies and strategies — is something very different. What is education in your organization? Something you get to when you have time, or a core component of your success?
Jay Forte is a nationally ranked thought leader and President of Humanetrics. Jay guides organizations — their leaders and managers — in how to attract, hire and retain today’s best talent. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition and The Greatness Zone – Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform The World. Jay is a member of SHRM, ASTD, the National Speakers Association and the Florida Speakers Association. Follow him on Twitter.
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Image used under Creative Commons by Flickr user Robert Scoble.