I recently read an interesting article by Sylvia Vorhauser-Smith titled “Talent Management: It’s All in Your Mind”.
The article discusses the importance of incorporating mindfulness into our daily lives. Here’s what Vorhasuer-Smith had to say about it in the context of daily work:
“If competency models give us a common language for describing workplace skills and behaviors, mindfulness brings a common framework for understanding how we think and feel, and therefore interact, in the context of our daily environment.”
Ideally, every organization creates core competencies that help to define its culture and establish competitive differentiators. While these competencies apply to everyone in the organization they may be applied to different jobs in different ways and to different degrees.
For example, delivering a world-class customer experience may have a higher competency weighting to an employee in a customer-facing role than it would to a one that does data entry and rarely, if ever, interacts with customers.
The thing about core competencies is that they’re rendered effectively useless if employees aren’t mindful of them in the context of their daily work. Sure they might be listed in your employees’ job descriptions or hanging on a “Our Core Values” plaque in the lunchroom, but if they’re only discussed once a year during the annual performance review process, you’re not doing a great job at reinforcing them.
So how do you do reinforce them?
Use coaching and feedback conversations to encourage mindfulness
For example, if you have an employee who has demonstrated a core competency in a way that delivered results:
- Comment on the behavior you observed and how it reflects that core competency e.g. You resolved that support call in under five minutes.
- Solicit input on what made the employee successful
in that situation and/or able to demonstrate the competency so effectively e.g. How were you able to uncover the problem?
What did you say to alleviate the concerns of this customer?
- Discuss the impact and next steps to encourage the employee to continue this behavior e.g. The customer expressed gratitude in receiving help so quickly and as you know, customer satisfaction is a key differentiator for us. At the next team meeting, can you share the steps you took with the rest of the team so they can learn from this example?
This kind of conversation entrenches mindfulness of cultural values through examples of core competencies ‘in action.’
The above model can also be used when an employee hasn’t demonstrated a core competency effectively. After step one, you can just as easily solicit input on the observed behavior to uncover obstacles or challenges you may not have been aware of.
Then, discuss the negative impact to the business and the steps to take in future to ensure expectations around this competency are met.
Core competencies provide the framework for desired performance but…
They mean nothing if they’re not reinforced on a regular, ongoing basis. The only way to make core competencies top-of-mind in the daily work lives of your employees is to hold conversations about them regularly.
So make a point to sit down with your employees and hold frank conversations about when you see or don’t see core competencies in action.
The pay-off? An aligned, engaged and empowered workforce.
Your Turn: What are some tips you have for keeping employees mindful of corporate values?