Well, we’re back to a full work week after our 4-days last week.  For some Memorial Day is nothing more than a 3-day weekend.  For most of us, we remember those that have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our great nation.

Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as it was originally known, was a commemoration of those who died during the American Civil War.  These men and women (yes there were women veterans of the Civil War) paid the ultimate price to defend the values they held dear.  After World War I Memorial Day, as it became to be known, was expanded to include all veterans that died in defense of our country.  The celebration of the sacrifices made by these veterans serves to remind us of our national values.

As business leaders, we can take a page from our nation’s playbook.  We all have corporate values, whether or not we publish them.  These values are expressed every day in our policies, procedures, and actions.  Hopefully, none of our team had to make the ultimate sacrifice to demonstrate these values but how often do we commemorate and memorialize team members that demonstrate our values in tangible ways? When your team knows and shares your values they make better decisions that solve problems instead of creating them!

Here are 3- ways you can memorialize your values and inculcate them into the culture of your company.

  1. Bonus based on values – there is an excellent web service called Bonusly (https://bonus.ly/) that allows your employees to micro bonus each other based on your company values monthly. You give your employees a monthly budget, say $20, and they can give bonuses to each other for noteworthy actions.  When sending a bonus you must indicate which company value was demonstrated.  You might think this would be abused but in reality, employees take this seriously.  The result, your employees think about values on a daily basis.
  2. Highlight Values in your Employee of the Period award – Many companies have “Employee of the Month/Quarter/Year” awards. Sometimes they may indicate what activity lead to the recipient being honored but I have never seen a company reference their values.  The value should be stated on the wall plaque so anyone reading it knows what is important to your organization.
  3. Create an Award named after an Employee that embodies a company value – Professional sports are excellent at this. The NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award for Volunteer and Charity.  MLB has the Roberto Clemente and the Hutch Award.  The Roberto Clemente award is for good play and strong work in the community.  The Hutch is awarded for the player that best exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire of Fred Hutchinson.   If you have a long-time employee that demonstrates your values, create an award in their honor.

Whatever you do, make your company’s values part of your everyday conversation.  You will find that your team starts to make decisions based on these values.