Corporate values are a set of beliefs and principles that guide what your organization stands for and the behavior you aim to drive in customers and employees. Values are essential to your business as they set the tone for your company culture and guide work toward your mission and vision. After developing and successfully implementing company values, you will find the following benefits:
Improves recruitment and retention
When you’re clear about your stand, like-minded job seekers become attracted to your company. And because they share your values, they are more likely to exhibit behaviors you’re looking to encourage and will be successful in their role. Therefore, they are more likely to stay in their position longer.
Decision-making becomes more straightforward
Values are a solid guide for organizational choices. Whether choosing a vendor or employee or deciding whether to develop a new product or service, your mission, vision, and values will work together to drive organizational decisions.
Increased productivity and performance
Also, company values inspire employees. It gives them concrete expectations from you, and they tend to hold themselves to a higher standard. They will practice those behaviors you enforce and take actions that will drive the business’s success.
Clearly, there are benefits to establishing organizational values. But, they’ll only reap these benefits if you successfully develop, communicate, and drive those values. So, what is the best way to go about creating company values and aligning behavioral expectations around those values?
Remember, values dictate the behaviors that will drive your mission and vision. What does your company aim to achieve? Are you looking to be innovative? Impact the community? Ease life for your end-user? Consider your mission and vision while establishing your values. They will operate hand in hand. They will also drive how others view your company (customers and non-customers alike).
Involve employees, including leadership and others across all levels of the organization. Not only does it send a message that you value their opinions, but you’ll get a variety of perspectives, and allowing employees to join in the process also helps drive buy-in!
Don’t hesitate to get an outside perspective. Consider running your list of considerations past a trusted advisor or a networking group. They may offer a fresh viewpoint you haven’t considered.
After establishing your values, consider how you will communicate them to your employees. Displaying them on the wall is nice, but communicating to employees the values, what you mean by them, and expectations of upholding them is critical. Consider discussing it at an all-company meeting so employees can ask questions that arise.
Communicating values is by no means a one-time event. The most successful programs involve continual reminders of the values with examples of how they look in action. For example, Tandem HR recognizes “Values Champions” at all-company meetings. These employees are nominated and voted on by their peers. Leaders read aloud concrete examples of how that employee displayed the values. The recipient receives a gift card and recognition on the company intranet. Customize a recognition program that fits your company culture and stick to it!
Other ideas for communicating values continually include different employee touchpoints such as emails, newsletters, websites, and team meetings. Don’t hesitate to publicly display them through social media profiles, company career pages, job advertisements, and events. This way, potential hires or customers get to know about your company.
Now that you’ve communicated your values, it’s time for leadership to step up! Leaders’ actions and behaviors should always align with your organization’s core values. Employees will place leadership’s actions under intense scrutiny. They will be the first to spot contradictions between what their leaders say and do. If there is a discrepancy, you will lose credibility, and persuading employees to live up to company values becomes challenging. Walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk.
Talk values daily
Incorporate values speak (and action) into day-to-day activities. Whether you are hiring, onboarding, training, giving rewards and recognition, or performing daily work, point out great examples of values. This reiterates your values constantly and provides employees concrete examples of behaviors to emanate.
Conversely, if an employee’s behavior misaligns with your corporate values, do not tolerate it. Address it in your one-to-one conversations and take the time to brainstorm ways they could better align with your values. The more you allow them to see and correct the behavior, the better chance you’ll see change.
Likewise, do not tolerate value misalignment with vendors or clients. It isn’t easy if you have long-term relationships or rely heavily on their product or revenue. However, when your employees see you standing up for company values at all costs – they’ll witness how important they are to you!
Values are essential to business. Establish, communicate, lead, and live them daily, and your employees will follow suit. If they do not, you may want to consider whether they can contribute to your company’s mission and vision. You can choose to part ways and find someone who can embrace it all!