Using Core Values in Workplace Culture to Drive Results


Janine Yancey



How do savvy business leaders use workplace culture to drive results? They weave culture and values into every aspect of the business – from recruiting to onboarding, to team dynamics and career advancement, or, when necessary, discipline and termination.  When the workplace culture is integrated into the business, it becomes the structure that allows the team and business to grow in a healthy, productive way.

Core values must have power

It all starts with your organization’s core values. These values are not just pithy words on a poster that hang on a wall. The values represent the beliefs and priorities of everyone who is leading and growing the business. The values should be consistent with the mission and purpose of the organization and socialized in such a way that every person in the organization knows them and can restate them, and agrees to adopt them as part of their employee experience. So if they want to work at the company, then they need to embrace those values.  That’s the starting point for integrating your values into the culture.

Once there, your values become a rudder to help make decisions and guide behavior and a shared language to facilitate discussion when actions or decisions start to veer off course.

In order to build an intentional culture, it should be on display during the recruitment process and successful candidates should be able to describe past experiences where they’ve exhibited one or more of the cultural values. That’s how you determine “culture fit” — not what school they went to or what sports they play. In onboarding, there should be one or more company leaders talking about the core values and why those are the values that best advance the business goals and mission.

Living core workplace values at every opportunity

Company leaders at all levels should be referencing cultural values on a regular cadence… such as through all hands meetings; fireside chats; Friday happy hours, etc. Whatever the venue, people need to hear the values on a regular basis and how they relate to current business situations or team dynamics — not in a vacuum as reflected in a corporate training program.

Eventually, every team is forced to make hard decisions  — on marketing and sales opportunities; strategy decisions; team and talent decisions; finance decisions, etc. – and when those situations arise, it’s staying consistent with the cultural values that helps steer the business in the right direction. Without a firm anchor, it’s too easy to make a short-sighted decision that has long-term negative consequences.

By integrating your core values into your workplace culture, you have a shared language you can use to guide behavior and business decisions which the savvy business leaders use to drive good results!

Want to learn more? Join me and Steve Cadigan of Cadigan Talent Ventures on June 7 for an important discussion about how values drive results within a powerful workplace culture. Click here to view the on-demand webinar.


Janine Yancey

Emtrain founder and CEO Janine Yancey has been certified by both Federal and California courts as an expert in harassment training and investigations—she’s provided expert testimony on both topics. As a harassment investigator, Janine investigated allegations of harassment and misconduct within former Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown’s office. Prior to the passing of the AB 1825 harassment training regulations, Janine successfully defended the City of Roseville in a five-week harassment jury trial and used the City’s harassment training efforts to help persuade the jury to return a verdict for the City. Janine has served as employment law counsel to many Bay Area technology companies, including Google. She also authored The HR Handbook to help young technology companies successfully navigate workplace laws.

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