Companies often spend a lot of time and effort creating their mission, vision and values. But too often they take all of that work, put words on a poster, place it in front of their employees – and miss the opportunity to put those values into practice.
The last thing you want after working on your values is for the poster’s content to become meaningless, something employees ignore while they grab coffee or heat up their lunch in the breakroom.
Yet so it goes at many organizations.
When it comes to posters about safety procedures, complaint-reporting processes or government notices, there may be possible legal ramifications for not putting the poster’s language into practice.
But what about another favorite poster topic: Company core values?
While there may be no legal problems associated with ignoring these ideas, doing so could cost your organization in other significant ways.
What happens if there’s no clarity among your stakeholders about what your company believes in?
- There’s no shared idea about what it means to be a part of your company, the preferred way to interact with others and how to complete tasks. This can influence your workplace culture and employee retention.
- Managers and employees may start operating according to their own values and priorities, which may not align with yours. This could impact your reputation, productivity and overall quality of work.
- You may have a difficult time recruiting the caliber of employees you want. It’s important for many job candidates – especially younger Millennials and Generation Z workers – that their companies exhibit values in alignment with their personal ones.
- As your company grows, it may be more challenging to assimilate new team members and establish consistency across the organization.
Now, you might be wondering:
- What are a company’s core values?
- And how do I select my company’s values in the first place?
To discover the answer, ponder the mission and vision of your organization – your purpose and the goals you’re trying to accomplish.
Your company’s values are the behaviors you and your team exhibit as you work toward those goals as well as the character traits that external parties know you and your company by. Your values are the cornerstones of your company’s foundation and the guideposts that keep you on track – especially when your company is under pressure and facing challenges.
Everything you do is tied back to your values.
As you consider what your values are, ask yourself:
- What you believe in
- Which values seem to be most commonly shared and expressed across your company
- The type of people you want to work with now and in the future
- The sort of environment you want to spend time in for the long term
The values you select should be consistent across your entire company, whether it’s the finance department, sales, customer service or operations.
Additionally, values should be carefully thought out in advance and chosen with intention. They shouldn’t be a knee-jerk reaction to current events. They should be steadfast and unyielding.
Company core values to consider
Examples of basic values that a company can use as a starting point:
- Safety – This is a basic promise to everyone that they’ll work in a secure, supportive environment.
- Respect – Every individual is important and priceless.
- Pursuit of excellence – Perfectionism may be unrealistic and therefore unattainable, but you can still strive to go above and beyond in all you do and deliver high-quality products or services.
- Integrity – Be honest about your work and align your words with your actions.
- Creativity – Do your best to stay innovative and look for opportunities to make a difference.
- Servant leadership – This means that you, and all of your managers, consistently seek to understand employees’ perspectives and consider how you can help them to succeed so they can accomplish company goals. You want to build a culture of positive influence in which you ascertain employees’ strengths and develop them – not a culture of power, which is really more about instilling fear and anxiety in people.
- Responsibility – Your ability to respond to issues or challenges and decide how to best serve customers starts with you.
- Determination – You and your team should have a resilient, never-give-up attitude.
- Community service – Consider the unique ways in which your organization impacts and benefits the larger community around you. Are there any special areas of interest to you? What community causes are most relevant to your organization and its mission?
Seven ways to put your company core values into action
1. Choose values that you and your leaders not only believe in but also are willing to live by personally. Model these values from the top of your organization.
One of the great things about running a business is that you can choose to create a culture that you believe in and look forward to experiencing. It’s essential to choose values that you can exhibit on a daily basis.
This way, you can be more consistent in exhibiting these values. And the more consistent you are, the more your employees and the people around you will recognize what matters most and will model your behavior.
After all, great leaders don’t just tell people what they value – they demonstrate it through their actions. As Walt Disney once said, “Every leader is telling a story about what they value.”
Some leaders make the mistake of thinking their employees don’t know what they’re doing most of the time. The reality: Employees know what their leaders are doing all the time.
So, if you’re not careful and become lax in exhibiting your values, your poster will say one thing – but your employees will see something completely different coming from leadership.
2. Hire employees who share and embody your values.
Your values pave the way for your company to become a best place to work. In turn, this helps your company to grow, attract top talent and expand into new markets.
One of the greatest attributes of having your core values embedded into your day-to-day operations is bestowing a sense of security onto your employees. For them, it’s much easier to refer someone to your workplace when your employees know exactly what the company values are and how those values are put into action….