In recent years, companies like Zappos, Google, and USAA have done more than spark a conversation about company culture; they are thriving success stories that validate the importance of operating under authentic core values.
According to The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), a values-based organization is “a living, breathing culture of shared core values among all employees.”
To me, a values-based culture is more than a set of values listed on a company’s intranet or written on the lobby wall.
Yes, it’s important to share your values where employees can see them. But I firmly believe that for a values-based culture to work, these guiding principles must live within each employee from day one on the job.
As credit union professionals, seek to operate under the same principles that drive the credit union movement. Let our philosophy of “people helping people” guide you.
After all, it is credit union members and their families that provide purpose to the work we do every day.
At CUNA Mutual Group, our core values of collaboration, courage, focus, inclusion, innovation, integrity, and passion guide us to support credit unions as they help members protect, invest, and plan for their future.
Our goal is to create a culture where employees feel empowered to do the right thing by being immersed in an environment where they see their peers engaged and working enthusiastically toward a mutual goal.
How can you cultivate a strong values-based culture at your credit union? Take these three steps:
1. Establish your CU’s core values
Ask yourself, where did your credit union come from? Where is your credit union going? What is your credit union’s purpose?
What principles have gotten your credit union to where it is today? And how will your credit union continue to support members into the future?
Look for common themes, and let your credit union’s core values fall out of those principles.
Because your credit union’s core values will become the foundation for how your organization acts, the decisions you make, and the employees you hire, be strategic about the values you select.
2. Integrate core values into your business strategy
Once you’ve identified your core values, you should integrate them into your credit union, including:
Take a holistic approach to embed the core values into every part of your credit union. This will give life to your credit union’s mission, and ensure everyone is striving toward the same goal.
3. Acknowledge and reward employees
Create a peer recognition program to recognize those who clearly demonstrate excellence in their results and behaviors.
The award will honor and thank employees for embodying the mission, and provide a “face” for each of your credit union’s core values.
Creating a values-based culture is a commitment to doing business the right way. It will have a positive ripple effect on your credit union, employees, and members, and will help your credit union to serve its community for generations to come.