LancasterThriving_WinterSpring2017 - 24
BUSINESS: DECONSTRUCTING VALUES
It's 5:00 on Tuesday, and Atomic Design's Running Club gathers in the kitchen.
Earlier, the Fun Club was plotting an art show. Employees are living out the company's belief
that "Valuing our individuality makes us a stronger team," but they're not doing it because of
top-down decrees. That's because reassessing value statements is more than just some
corporate exercise-it can help chart a company's course.
Before RETTEW revisited its values,
there were seven, and they weren't
single words like they are now. It wasn't
that their values had changed, but
they'd expanded to nine offices in five
states since they'd last reviewed them.
Shawn Barron, Director of Marketing
& Communications for RETTEW,
recalls he used to get the "deer in
Director of Marketing the headlights" look when he asked
employees about them. He says, "We
wanted to make them more digestible
and ingrain them into our culture."
Barron thinks most employees would be able to rattle off
the five values now. To announce its rephrased statements,
RETTEW staged a premiere. Cue the red carpet, the
popcorn, the big screen. A film debuted five "Core Value
Ambassadors," one for each value. To keep them circling in
the employee-sphere, staff are Survey-Monkeyed for new
Prior to creating its next strategic plan, Barron says, "It
became clear redefining our values was the place to start,
because they became the basis of everything else." They
were a valid litmus test as the team revisited their vision,
mission and purpose statements.
24 | LANCASTERTHRIVING! | Winter/Spring2017
In the process, they realized they needed to add one
more value: safety. Barron explains, "We're out on job sites
sometimes in very risky situations, with heavy machinery and
holes in the ground and drilling. It's not just keeping our
employees safe but maintaining a safe worksite for subconsultants or even our clients. Safety is huge for us."
Barron calls their values "rules of engagement" but says
they're also a metric of their success. "It's not just about our
financial performance," he points out. "It's how we're tracking
on our relationship value, which is not as easily measured."
They also use them to vet clients and partners, making sure
they share the same values.
Lydia Henry, Vice President, Strategy/
HR at Atomic, says that the process
had as much to do with the maturation
of their leaders as individuals, adding,
"It's become less about what we do and
more about the people involved, how
we interact, and how we treat others."
Their last reassessment centered
around managing change. "It's always
Lydia Henry, Vice
been a strong piece here," states Henry,
HR at Atomic
"but we focused on our 'never fearing
tomorrow' value, recognizing change is
inevitable, and talking about how we embrace it."