Every organization has its share of poor performing employees and those who violate company standards. While every incident can not be prevented, it is possible to minimize the occurrences. Here are three practical ways to improve employee behavior:
Have values and communicate them
For employees to follow the company’s standards, they must first understand what is expected. After all, how can they be held accountable if we fail to teach or reinforce the rules? To change the behavior, these values must go beyond the obvious and specifically address what many companies leave gray.
Every employee knows that stealing is wrong, but most of the issues you face will not be that cut and dry. Bullying and offensive or rude behavior are common problems that should be specifically addressed within your values. Simply stating that you expect employees to “treat each other with respect” is not enough. You need to spell it out in detail and communicate exactly what you mean.
Start with your leaders
Successfully implementing a cultural change begins with your leaders. Having them on board is essential to improving employee behavior. Your leadership team must understand that these rules, and the adherence to them, are not “annual report” type aspirations. As leaders publicly and consistently demonstrate their own belief in the values, employees will begin to take them more seriously and view them as more than cosmetic. Employees will be more forthcoming with their concerns if they are certain the leadership team trusts and relies on those same rules.
Change is about more than compliance
Most compliance departments focus on having the right standards and policies in place. While this is important, it’s not the catalyst for real change. For change to happen, your company standards must connect with your cultural values. Employees cannot relate to principles written in legal jargon. Your organization should act on your values and talk about them regularly, as part of your normal interactions. Make them part of your company culture and they’ll begin to change your organization.