1. It starts at the top

CEO and leadership buy-in, ownership, and participation are paramount. They set the tone for the rest of the company by their actions and behaviors, not just their words. They need to be honest, walk the walk, and talk from the heart.

2. Communicate the “why”

Companies today who truly have a “raison d’etre,” why they exist and the difference they will make in the world, have a greater chance of success. This is known as ‘higher purpose’. To be a purpose-driven company is a critical driver of culture and attraction.

3. Define your difference

If your brand is not unique in some demonstrable way — and doesn’t answer a benefit or need that’s relevant and meaningful to your customers, and your employees — the long-term prospects for success are iffy at best.

4. Live your code

Core values are a company’s guiding principles. They articulate the key aspects of what a company stands for and believes in and must inform all the actions and behaviors of employees. They also serve as criteria for potential employees who will thrive in your organization.

5. Architect your culture

Be intentional with your purpose, core values, business practices, and operational philosophy to leadership styles. These are the primary contributors to culture, and they must be aligned and by design.

6. Make your EVP (Employee Value Proposition) meaningful

Identify the most important promise you can make to your talent. Also, what your employees will gain through your employment. Articulate and broadcast the key value proposition attributes that resonate with the WIIFM (what’s in it for me?). Secret — your pledge should ladder up to your purpose.

7. People first

Companies that sincerely care and focus on their people — their growth, experience, and wellbeing — tend to benefit in many ways. Employees in return will care more and do more. They will be more energized, engaged in outcomes and delivering the brand promise.

8. Create an emotional connection

Tell meaningful narratives through your people who believe in what you believe. Show people living the values and brand. Let existing employees tell their stories. This is effective because it’s “social proof” and stems from our need as humans for social acceptance and connectedness.

9. Grab their attention

Engage them with fresh, novel ideas through communications and experiences. Apply the principles of behavior design and neuroscience by practicing DEEP communications, which are disruptive, entertaining, emotive and purposeful.

10. Leverage influencers

Use employee ambassadors and key influencers, like managers, to boost knowledge, excitement, and pride. Both should be a conduit to management. Give them tools and training to do an effective job motivating colleagues and direct reports. Make their success easy.

11. Have conversations

Two-way communications (dialogue with employees) are critical for workers to feel they are being heard and contributing to a greater good.

12. Be human

Stop the corporate jargon. No one relates to it. It’s a turn-off. If you want to engage your people you need to speak to them as human beings. We call it “peoplespeak.’”

13. It must become a part of your DNA

When you have achieved most of the imperatives above, you will begin to experience a transformation.