Tip of the Week: Right on the Button

Caution: This week’s tip might result in a very jarring experience….and we think you’re gonna love it.

Workplace values are key to a healthy organizational culture. But how can you ensure that these values are meaningful to employees and not just empty words? Thanks to this simple-to-implement idea from SPCA Serving Erie County, it’s easier than you might think to get staff directly involved.

The first step, shares Cait Daly, CAWA, Erie County’s President & CEO, is to “ask employees to name the workplace values they already see—or hope to see.” You may wish to introduce the core values exercise at an all-staff meeting, and then send a follow-up request via email.

After receiving 50 entries earlier this year, Daly created a word cloud from the submissions to determine which words came up most frequently. Through that process, she determined the top 35 words from which employees would select their workplace values.

To prepare for the exercise, Daly taped each of the 35 words to the insides of 35 Mason jars. A larger jar was filled with buttons of all colors, shapes and sizes, along with instructions for employees to select 7 buttons and drop them into the jars featuring the words they liked best. “I wanted something see-through so people could see the colorful buttons filling up the jars,” shares Daly.

The exercise initially took place at the organization’s all-staff meeting/potluck this past May, and the jars and buttons were left out for a few days to catch anyone who missed it. “The final step was to count the buttons and find the top 7 values,” says Daly. She’s currently working on a workplace culture agreement incorporating the shared values that all employees will sign at the August all-staff meeting. “This document will then become part of our onboarding process.”

Thinking of giving it a try? Just do it, encourages Daly. “There’s no need to overthink something so fun and easy!”


More Tips & Info

Tip of the Week: Go Ahead, Make Your Day
Tip of the Week: At Your Service
Tip of the Week: Don’t Miss the Exit
3 Steps to Finding Your Org’s Core Values


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