What Is the Value of Corporate Values?
Many corporations have corporate values. Most corporations list their corporate values on their websites. Great corporations are those that manage to back up their words with actions. MEANINGFUL actions.
David Beigie, Vice President of Public Affairs for State Farm, writes about this issue in a recent blog post.
In this very brief post, Mr. Beigie challenges the reader to think about corporate values differently. Employees need more than a PowerPoint and a post-test to successfully operationalize corporate values. We need connection with one another and with those we serve to validate whether we are doing what we say we do.
During my first few weeks as a part-time employee, I was struck by how often I observed each of the Beacon Health Options (Beacon) corporate values in the day-to-day actions of the Jacksonville team. I witnessed this in every department, with long-term employees as well as recent hires. I saw it in management. I saw it in staff. I saw it on the walls on the outside of the break room as employees placed handwritten notes of advocacy for those with mental illness.
The most effective corporate values are simply a description of the collective wisdom of the workforce that does the work of the company. Smart leaders know how to put into words the values that are already present and thriving within the company culture. However, words alone, even if they are powerful, inspiring, and well written, can easily be forgotten as we move to the next task, the next project, the next day, the next month, the next year.
Turn talk into action
How has the Federal Services team at Beacon been so successful at operationalizing corporate values? My best guess is that the team is charged with a very special mission: We serve those who serve. We take our commitment to our active duty and retired soldiers and their dependents as seriously as they take their commitment to protect our country. With a mission this important, our employees speak all six corporate values fluently.
Our Federal Services team has created a COMMUNITY of RESILIENT, hardworking employees who infuse their daily work with INTEGRITY and who creatively solve problems with effective use of INGENUITY. We treat one another, our beneficiaries, our business partners and the federal government with DIGNITY and respect, as we ADVOCATE for those we serve and help them LIVE THEIR LIVES TO THE FULLEST POTENTIAL.
Employees need more than a PowerPoint and a post-test to successfully operationalize corporate values. We need connection with one another and with those we serve to validate whether we are doing what we say we do.
Leadership at Beacon wisely took a good look at our collective strengths. They summarized our corporate mission in one elegant, simple, yet powerful sentence:
We help people live their lives to the fullest potential.
Let’s take a moment together and be very clear on what we are doing at Beacon Health Options.
We, 5,000 Beacon employees, help more than 47 million live their lives to the fullest potential. Together, we are shaping the future of health care by serving our members, learning from our members and our business partners, formulating solutions, and taking action. Here is a brief example from one colleague, which outlines how she brings these values to the workplace.
In her official capacity as a quality director, this colleague writes, “DIGNITY/ADVOCACY – I fully aspire to demonstrate this with our beneficiaries. I believe and demonstrate a willingness to reach out to the beneficiary, giving support and assisting with solutions. I believe that a willingness to hear his or her story provides each individual a sense of dignity and respect. I personally make outbound calls to beneficiaries to discuss complaints and grievances sent to my department and to assure them that we hear their request. I seek to resolve issues to everyone’s satisfaction within the parameters of policy and benefit.”
This colleague is an ADVOCATE for those she serves. When she calls a beneficiary, she is calling in her official capacity as a director, but she demonstrates through her actions that she is a person who genuinely cares about that one beneficiary in that one moment, and she treats him/her with DIGNITY.
She doesn’t just talk the talk, she walks the walk.
So now it is your turn.
My challenge to my fellow Beacon Health Options employees is the following:
Tell me about the different ways that you bring our corporate values to life in your everyday work. I want to hear your stories. I want to know what amazing qualities you have seen in your fellow colleagues. I want to know what inspires you to fulfill our corporate mission.
My challenge to our readers is the following:
From your perspectives as a patient, a family member, a business partner, a professional in the health care industry, or someone who cares about the future of health care, tell me how we can show you that we take our corporate values seriously. How can our actions demonstrate our values in meaningful ways?
How can we demonstrate that our actions speak louder than our words?
We really DO want to know this. So take YOUR next action and reply here.