Peckham, Inc., a nonprofit community vocational rehabilitation organization, is a unique business and human services agency that values quality, diversity and performance.


Their story

In 2016, Peckham incorporated new committable core values into the human resource information system. This significantly impacted the annual performance review process, allowed for instant, real-time feedback, and served as a guideline for training, orientation and overall employee engagement. As a mission-driven organization, leadership leads the efforts in infusing the core values throughout the organization in the services they provide, products they make and the effectiveness of their overall organizational operations.

The creation of core values, and how they would be integrated into organizational systems, was a participatory process that included extensive collaborative efforts. The Chief People and Culture Officer utilized an external consultant for focus groups and convened a group of “MEe Gurus” to give input and make decisions.

The “gurus” are a group of about 50 staff from all business units who support the efforts of their Mission Engagement program. As a result, the 360 degree feedback tool provides staff the ability to “rate” others on the demonstration of the core values i.e. “Livin’ the Values”. Ratings are typically: “Getting the job done” or “A real strength for them” but may also include “Room for development.”

Staff are also able to give each other “badges” that align with the core values. Recognition is given to those who give and/or receive the highest number of badges during the quarterly report.

This practice gives recognition to those who exhibit the core values on a day-to-day basis. It has enabled Peckham to sustain a culture that is true to its mission in spite of tremendous growth and expansion geographically. The core value “People Matter to Us. A Whole Lot.” is a driver for meeting the unique needs of staff and clients in eight locations and in three different States. It motivates them to advocate with Federal, State and local legislators on behalf of people with disabilities.

Staff are inspired by the core values when identifying new initiatives. They want to align their work to the values. For example, one of the core values is “Freedom to Thrive”. This was the inspiration for the new mid-level leadership development program titled: “iThrive: A Peckham Leadership Journey.”

Their advice

“Be Inclusive: Invest in the time to meet with representatives from all of your business units, across all departments, at all levels within the organization.

We’re all on the same team: Collective inspiration and decision-making are key to executing this type of initiative. Be sure to pick skilled facilitators who can solicit a wide array of insights while helping to synthesize the ideas.

Be innovative & creative: Find ways to make it fun and relative to employees to live and breathe the core values.

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate: When starting a new initiative, you can never over communicate. Write it, say it, put it on signage, design it, email it, talk about it some more – make it an agenda item at your meetings, etc. Do everything you can to
make it visual, relative and relatable so people can embrace the change.

Use the KISS (Keep it Simple Sweetie!) Method: Explain it simply, provide the training, tools and additional resources to facilitate the process, send out reminders and don’t overcomplicate things.

Find your champion: Find key people who have influence in their respective circles and have them own the process. Peer to peer buy-in is more long-lasting than getting an instruction from management.”

Submitted 2017