Do Your Employee’s Behaviours Reflect Your Business Values?

Business ValuesAre your employees behaving in a way that reflects your business values? When employee’s behaviours go against the values of your organisation, are those behaviours addressed?

Here is some interesting research by the CIPD:

73% (of employees) stated it was important for organisations to have defined values which govern employee behaviour

40% of employees report that individuals whose behaviour consistently goes against the values of the organisation they work for are either left unpunished or are rewarded or promoted

Using performance objectives to define business values

Let’s take the first statement. We can see that employees see the importance of business values in governing employee behaviour. But how do we translate those values into behavioural descriptions that we can then communicate and manage?

You won’t be surprised to hear I guess that, for me, an answer lies in using behavioural performance objectives


Because behavioural performance objectives define the behaviours that you consider are essential for your organisation or business to succeed. They clarify for our employees the ‘how’ of their performance – how they need to behave in order for our organisation to survive and thrive. Isn’t that what business values are? The ‘essential behaviours’?

Let’s take a look at some typical business values:

• Continuous improvement

• Innovation

• Communication

• Teamwork (Co-operation)

• Quality

Now, I’m guessing very few employees would argue with the legitimacy of these values (particularly if, as is good practice, they have had some involvement in agreeing these values). Who wouldn’t want to work for an organisation committed to continuous improvement, innovation, communication etc?

What I would also guess is that a fair number of employees would really struggle to explain exactly what their responsibilities were – in terms of what they needed to do – in order for those values to be ‘lived’. As the CIPD report says

Less than a third (29%) of employees say they are aware of the values of the organisation they work for to a great extent

Now, let’s not get carried away here. Just because an employee is not aware that one of the stated business values in the organisation is ‘Team Work’ it does not follow that they are not an effective Team worker! And it does not follow that, just because an employee doesn’t know that one of the organisations key business values is ‘Innovation’ that they don’t innovate

So here’s a question for you

Are each of the employees you manage demonstrating your business values?

If the answer is ‘yes!’ then there’s no need to do anymore!

If the answer is ‘no’ you could ask yourself

Do the employees I manage know exactly what I expect from them in relation to each of these values?

If the answer to that question is ‘no’ then I would suggest that clarifying those business values as behavioural performance objectives could be a very neat first step

Business Values and Performance Objectives: Do you have an example?

Luckily yes! Do you remember the business value ‘Team work’? Well I didn’t make that one up – I’ve looked at a number of lists of business values and ‘Team work’ was featured in every one!

So what would behavioural performance objectives for ‘Team work’ look like? Well I’ve written about this before and I hate to repeat myself so take a look HERE

Managing Behaviours

You’ll see then that describing business values as performance objectives is not too difficult. What this means is that if you can describe a business value as a series of behavioural objectives you can manage your employee’s performance (i.e. behaviours) against these values. Which means…

Dealing with employees whose behaviours do not support the business values

Remember our second statement from the CIPD research? Here it is again to save you searching:

40% of employees report that individuals whose behaviour consistently goes against the values of the organisation they work for are either left unpunished or are rewarded or promoted

At the risk of stating the obvious, there doesn’t seem much point in agreeing business values if we don’t manage the situation when employee’s behaviours go against those values! The huge benefit of having described the values as behavioural objectives is that you can give constructive criticism on those behaviours (or, more likely, lack of evidence of those behaviours). You can read more on how to give criticism on behaviours HERE

Business Values and Performance Objectives: Summary

From my point of view it’s all about making ‘business values’ meaningful and clear to our employees. Using behavioural performance objectives (or standards, or competency descriptions) are an excellent way of achieving clarity and meaning

Do you want to know more about Performance Objectives?

performance objectivesWhy not take a look at my e-book ‘Motivating Your Staff with Powerful Performance Objectives’ – a step-by-step guide for managers, team leaders and supervisors who want to motivate their staff to high performance. More details HERE

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