Every Workplace Needs Standards of Behavior

October 4, 2016 | Communication, Teamwork

Photo by f3nd1 on Flickr

During a time of unprecedented growth at our company, we decided that we as the senior leaders must be the ones that drive the culture. WE needed to define the “why” at our company and more importantly define the standards of behavior that help to support the “why”. If neither the “why” nor the behaviors were defined by us, they would still be defined by others, but they may not be consistent with the senior leaders values.

A company standards of behavior which is created by senior leadership in collaboration with other company employees helps define the values that support the company’s “why”. However, this needs to be more than just unwritten standards. I would even argue that it needs to be more than just a set of slides that are reviewed during company orientation. I believe this must be a document that is read and signed by a job candidate before they are interviewed.

Quint Studer, the author of “Results That Last” also believes that companies must have a defined standards of behavior. Here are some reasons that he gives for having these standards:

  • Just knowing a document exists that we signed saying we will uphold keeps us on our toes.
  • It creates an extra boost of awareness that really does affect day-to-day behavior.
  • It creates an office unified by agreed-upon standards which is a far more pleasant place to work.
  • Individual responsibility flourishes.
  • It contributes to an environment of fairness, cleanliness and good manners.

Finally, just as customers can sense when a place of business is dysfunctional, they can also sense when everyone works well together. One example of a company that has a defined set of standards in place is Starbucks. The result….While I can only speak for my experiences, I have never felt tension and hostility in the air when I order my coffee. Instead I have experienced friendliness, helpfulness, and attention to detail by the baristas. While a standards of behavior does not eliminate stressful situations (Starbucks can get very busy from time to time.), it CAN help us better navigate these situations.

On October 19th, Lisa Mitchell of Power Body Language and I will be holding a workshop called “How To Hire Better and Retain Employees – A Focused 90 Day Plan“. One of the topics discussed will be best practices in implementing a standards of behavior into an organization.

What other advantages do you see in implementing a standards of behavior at your place of work?


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