How to Create and Implement Organizational Values in Construction

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Core values are more than a set of words. They’re characteristics that people live by every day. They show who a person is and what they plan to do in situations. The same idea applies to the workplace.

A company lists its beliefs and mission statements to guide employees’ behavior and decision making. How would a construction company achieve this? This guide will show some ways to set organizational values that matter.

Set the Tone When Hiring

Organizational values should start from the day an employee walks into the building until their last day on the job. These expectations don’t take a vacation or a holiday during the year. Whatever a company’s expectations are, they should set the tone from the beginning. Finding prospective employees who will meet and exceed expectations is critical to success.

During the hiring process, prioritizing culture fit is one of the best ways to find the right people for an organization. A potential hire could be one of the most skilled workers on the construction site. But, if their values don’t align with the company’s, they could become a liability instead of an asset.

Other hiring experts also stress the importance of “culture add,” valuing people who not only honor organizational values but bring fresh perspectives and experiences to the table, too. Hiring people from different backgrounds and skill sets can create a robust workforce, and they must share fundamental values that are positive for the business.

Prioritize Values in Assessments

Organizational values matter during interviews, but stressing their importance shouldn’t stop there. Encouraging employees to live by this code of ethics is essential for a well-run construction company.

Managers can implement these values by making them a priority in employee assessments. Performance reviews can be pivotal in determining raises, promotions, and contract extensions.

If employees know this is a primary factor, they’re more likely to think about the values daily and strive to match and exceed expectations. Managers could take time to praise employees for demonstrating these values with an incentive program or good old public recognition.

Set the Example at the Top

The CEO and other executives of a company embody the company spirit. They represent the business in the public eye and employees look to them as role models, intentionally or inadvertently. A company’s values can have strong words, but effective leadership to implement them determines trust between employees and upper management.

If the leadership team acts like they’re exempt from rules, their colleagues may become disgruntled, leading to productivity dips and tensions in the workplace. Team managers and other leadership figures should be accountable to organizational values so they set a clear example of the behavior and actions that are considered successful.

Be Specific with Expectations

Words matter, but companies are often too generic with their organizational values. They say they require integrity, communication and other principles, but what do they really mean? Sometimes, these words fall short and end up feeling empty. These words can be inspirational, but they’re too broad.

When creating company values, it’s essential to be specific with expectations. Making organizational values part of the company’s strategic plan can add needed specificity and guidance for everyone involved. For example, a construction company with a focus on green building techniques can specify that this means sourcing sustainable materials and rewarding certifications in sustainability.

Let the Values Evolve

The core values of a construction company are likely to last for a long time. However, the leadership should be adaptable in the evolution of their standards. Times change, people change, and society shifts in determining what works and what needs updating. Businesses that let their values evolve will see success in their operations.

Companies will look much different from the first month of operations to the projects it currently undertakes. The current values could feel less effective one year or 20 years later.

As a construction team changes, it’s essential to get feedback from employees on how the business can evolve and get better. They may suggest new values or explain why a current value isn’t as effective. The workers who have been around the longest can be the best culture keepers, so leaning on their experience can help managers determine what’s best for the business.

Cultivating and Maintaining Values

A construction company’s values can say a lot about who they are. What do they expect from their employees? How does the leadership enforce this code of ethics, and do they abide by it themselves?

Creating a culture of respect, accountability, and other values is commendable, but enforcement mechanisms are also necessary. Companies practicing what they preach will get the best out of their employees and impress clients – and it’ll mean the company sticks around for the long haul when some of their peers may flounder.

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Evelyn Long

Evelyn Long is the editor-in-chief of Renovated, an informational resource for construction professionals. She writes on green building, construction...

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