How Your Business Can Define and Live Up to Core Values
Establishing clear company values can inform business decisions, shape company culture and vision, and ensure that your employees are all working towards similar, well-defined goals. Company values make up the core DNA of your business, defining how members of your team interact with customers and partners.
It’s not enough to simply define your business’s core values, however. In order to have any significant effect those values need to exist in each and every aspect of your business, and members of your team have to live and breathe them. With values playing a massive role in defining company culture, it’s more important than ever to ensure that you’re living up to them at all times.
Defining your company’s core values
Your company values define everything that drives your business, affecting everybody from employees and employers to customers and partners. So, it’s vital to clearly define your core values - what does your business stand for? What are your brand’s morals and philosophies? How does the company react to change?
These are items that need to be clearly established in order to inform the decisions of your entire team and differentiate your organization from competitors. If you haven’t yet put your values to paper and are wondering where to start, get your team together for a brainstorming session - you might just find that your business actually has informal values, which can be easily defined and put into practice.
The values outlined by your company must accurately reflect your business and its workforce, otherwise the entire exercise is for naught,and customers will certainly notice it. With a poor (or non-existent) understanding of core values, a business is hardly a business at all, as it’s infinitely more difficult to build strong teams, deliver consistent customer service, or experience growth without them. When effectively established and upheld, company values can increase employee retention, attract high-level talent, create a healthier, more vibrant workplace culture, improve employee satisfaction, and increase productivity because of higher employee engagement.
Living and breathing your core values
Unless you genuinely live up to and honor your company’s core values, the organization will never be able to truly experience the benefits of having them in the first place. Living and breathing your core values means that every important decision made by your business should be made with them in mind.
Decisions should reflect the values outlined by your business, and should never go against them. If your business claims to improve the community and yet never actually attempts anything of the sort or does something directly contradictory to negatively affect the community, it’ll come off as just another lie made to prop up your company in the eyes of the general public.
In order for this to work, each employee must use company values to inform their interactions with customers and partners, and employers should lead by example by upholding core values at all times. Well-defined values which are effectively (and consistently) communicated to members of your team can result in higher engagement, as your employees have a shared belief in company values and a better understanding of exactly what’s expected of them.
Who is responsible for defining and upholding company values?
Since company values directly influence your organizational culture and the way in which the business operates on a day-to-day basis, everyone from entry-level employees to management and the C-suite should be involved in defining and upholding core values. When establishing and defining values, all departments and all staff should be involved in the decision making process to ensure that the company’s values actually reflect the organization as a whole and that it’ll be realistic to put into place. This way, once values are established, everyone is equally accountable for living and breathing core values while in the workplace and whenever they’re representing the business.
Defining core values is essentially an internal branding exercise. Find out through surveys, meetings and other means what your employees think your business stands for now, and what it should stand for in the future. Surveys can be sent out to each employee, with results collated by department heads or human resources. The Society for Human Resource Management has a number of resources you can use to get started.
Core values in a remote work setting
With many businesses still operating remotely due to the pandemic, organizations have been faced with having to embody core values from a distance. It can be difficult to bring teams together when everybody is working from home, but it’s not impossible. Recreating unplanned “watercooler” interactions in a virtual setting simply takes the right technology and the will to make it work.
Employers should be encouraging team members to interact with each other on platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and other workplace communication solutions. These platforms are a crucial part of maintaining company values, allowing your workforce to brainstorm, collaborate and communicate to ensure higher quality of work where nobody is kept out of the loop.
When your employees are able to exercise company values with one another, it’s easier to continue upholding them when interacting with customers and partners. Technology that enables remote teams to work seamlessly have become essential to success in the modern work world, and to maintaining a company’s core values at all times.
Employers who have concerns about whether employees are engaged and using available tools to their fullest potential can consider productivity intelligence tools such as Prodoscore, which can be seamlessly integrated with platforms like Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, Slack, Teams, and other workplace favorites to offer you a better understanding of how your employees are working and communicating. Prodoscore assigns individual productivity scores to each employee, making it easier to identify opportunities and areas of improvement, enhance coaching, and improve employee performance and retention.
Establishing and upholding your core values with buy-in from your employees will make them feel more engaged and like they are a part of something, rather than being just a cog in a machine. For more information on the role played by Prodoscore in helping your company live and breathe its core values, get in touch with us today.