Your company values are the foundation, core, lifeblood, fuel, heart, hitching post, etc. of your company culture. Without them, maintaining a consistent, wholesome culture is practically impossible, especially as your business expands and hires more employees.
In other words, company values are somewhat significant.
In this article, we’ll show you how to create and articulate the fundamental principles for your own company. Although yesterday would have been the ideal moment to begin, it is never too late to start, regardless of whether you run a brand-new startup or an established business.
What Are Company Values?
Company values, also called core values, are beliefs and principles that influence behavior and shape the culture within an organization.
Culture is partly defined as “the sum of everything you and your colleagues think, say and do when you work together.” This means that how employees behave in the workplace determines company culture, for better or worse.
Values are therefore guideposts that help employees know how to treat themselves and each other. You shouldn’t prescribe rules that try to handle every situation. Rather, it should be a general principle that motivates and guides people regardless of the scenario. Whether it’s a word or a short buzzword, it should help everyone in your organization answer questions: What should I do?
Why are company values important?
Some organizations do not prioritize company culture and values because they do not get the point. Developing value may sound like a great idea on paper, but what difference does it make in your day-to-day operations, especially small businesses just starting out?
In a small, close-knit company with only a handful of employees, leaving your values unwritten and undefined can pay off in the short term. Your core group of people may be able to stay on the same page without additional guidance. But do you really want to leave your company culture to what might happen.
Creating corporate value is more than just a PR gimmick for large organizations. It’s a strategy to future-proof your organization’s culture and enable your employees to move full speed ahead.
How to create company values
Creating and establishing corporate value is a process that requires dedicated time, careful consideration, open collaboration and targeted communication. It doesn’t require special talents or magic words. Any organization with the right mindset and level of commitment can follow these three steps to achieve great success.
Before you sit down with management to brainstorm values, you need to know where your organization stands. This is especially important if your organization is already well established, and you are making a cultural change. Take the following steps to evaluate:
Make a list of each element of the culture of your company that you want to maintain, develop, and improve. Collectively, discuss and share. You could use the following issues as a starting point for your discussion:
• What do people like most about working for your organization?
• What do you highlight about your organization when recruiting someone new?
• What pieces of your organizational culture help you succeed?
Write down each element of the organizational culture that you want to keep and others you want to discard. Collectively, discuss and share. You could use the following issues as a starting point for your discussion:
- What are common causes of frustration at your organization?
- What makes you not want to go to work in the morning?
- Why do people leave your organization?
Make a list of each element you want to include in the culture of your company. These are the components that, in your opinion, if accepted and developed, would make the culture of your company even better. Collectively, discuss and share. You could use the following issues as a starting point for your discussion:
- What are the elements of your ideal organizational culture?
- What crucial aspects are missing from our organization’s culture?
- What would make your organization a more enjoyable place to work?
Your team should be prepared to begin translating these key values into words with the concepts and ideas created throughout your culture research. The most important thing is to keep things straightforward and understandable, whether you choose single words, brief phrases, or something in between.
Use Real Words
Some businesses may be tempted to employ jargon, foreign, or invented phrases in an effort to differentiate themselves from the competition. Use straightforward language that your audience can comprehend without any mental gymnastics. They ought to understand your principles immediately away.
Even if you want your values to appear straightforward, you should go into greater detail to explain them to your team so they can see how they apply to their daily tasks. Employees should be able to apply the values equally well regardless of their job or department with this added context; a member of the sales team should be able to do so just as well as a software engineer.
Allow for Change
Your organization’s culture changes when it grows into new markets, hires more employees, changes its focus, and more. Your organization’s culture is constantly being patched, improved, and updated like software. Therefore, even while your ideals should be constant, how you live by them should change as well. This does not imply that you should change your values annually. It implies that the values you establish for your business must be able to change in step with your culture without losing their essence.
The belief that communication has occurred is the single biggest issue. Oh, how true it is, particularly when it comes to expressing corporate values at work. Some organizations just stick posters with their preferred words and phrases on the wall after spending time debating and defining their principles.
This is insufficient. Please understand that having a poster is also great.
But if you don’t convey your principles throughout your entire organization from top to bottom and left to right, they’ll become lifeless instead of inspiring and encouraging platitudes. So how can you prevent that from happening?
Give Back Ownership
The process of creating and defining value will likely start at the top of management and the HR team, but everyone needs to be involved in some way. Invite employees to share their thoughts and ideas during the creation and definition process. Find out what values are most important to them and how they believe those values should be applied in the workplace. By doing this (rather than imposing their own ideas), they are much more likely to accept the final product.
Live them Yourself
Leading by example is the most effective way to spread your company’s ideals throughout your whole workforce. An organization’s culture and guiding principles are just a reflection of the values of the leader. For better or worse, employees use their leaders as examples. There is no amount of meetings, training, posters, or handouts that will be able to make up for your executives’ failure to uphold the corporate principles.
Recognize Good Examples
Once your employees start embracing your new company’s values, you need to throw money where your mouth is. That said, building value into rewards,
Rewarding and acknowledging those who live by company values convey multiple messages at once. First, it shows appreciation to those who do their best to embrace values, and it encourages them to continue setting a great example. Second, it shows the rest of your workforce that the values are truly important to your organization, which will motivate them to try to live up to those values
It’s also important to note that these steps can and should be repeated. Your organization is always changing. What’s true today might not be true in one, five, or ten years. Don’t be afraid to revisit this process again and again to ensure your culture and values are what they need to be at every life stage of your organization.