In this period of remote working, now is a perfect time for some refocusing and finding out what is important for your employees, and your company as a whole. An amazing place to start is with your core values.
Core values define the key guiding principles of your business, and having a clear, unified message of values will benefit you in all sides of your business. Your values are a declaration to your employees and clients of how your business works. While it may be easy to describe your company, it’s harder to define your culture. Company culture is intangible – it’s the way your employees feel in the workplace, and having a clearly defined company culture reaches your clients and prospective talent too.
Your potential clients can see quickly and easily whether your business aligns with their own values, and choose from here whether to work from you. Your potential employees can see whether you are the kind of business that aligns with their own personal morals, and decide whether they should work for you. For your current employees, having clear core values is a way to guide them and unify the company culture.
Some key reasons for setting company values:
- Guiding employees to make better decisions – having a clear set of core values helps employees understand what the company stands for. Each business decision must align with your core values, for employees this is an easy way to ensure decisions will help with achieving the business’ goals. Especially in uncertain times like these, where we are experiencing a lot of change, having clear values will be a much-needed constant.
- Improve employee engagement and motivation – deciding on clear company values is the first step in creating a positive company culture. Employees are motivated and engaged when they feel they are an essential part of the greater business vision, and having them agree on core values and enforce them, will allow them to be clearer about their own goals and how to achieve them.
- Help clients understand your company – core values enable clients and potential clients to understand what your company stands for in a clear and succinct way. Having clear core values can be a key advantage over competitors, as how your business conducts itself can be very attractive to clients who align with similar values.
- Attracting top talent – developing core values is really important for attracting potential employees. When you are hiring, a key component that is harder to pin down is culture fit. By having your core values clear and transparent in your hiring processes, you will be more likely to hire talent who fit your company culture, and in turn, more likely to have employee retention.
How do you set your core values?
Now we have established the importance of core values, the next step is defining them.
- Identify key traits that describe your culture – certain words should come to mind immediately. A great way to make this a team building activity, is to assemble a committee with all areas of your company, and employees at all levels present, and ask for their opinions.
If you get stuck, an easy way to think about this is to ask the question ‘if your culture were a person, how would you describe them?’
Pose these kinds of questions to your committee, and then compile a list of all the most common answers. If you see a lot of similar responses, this is already a sign of the strength of your company culture.
- Narrow the list of to establish core values – after you have collected a list of company traits, you can narrow down the list to define your true core values. Make sure to share these values with your employees and ask for their feedback before finalising the list, in small companies this can be done relatively easily, in large companies this can be done over company wide employee surveys.
Try and find out which values resonate the most with your employees. The number of final values you choose is up to you, but we would recommend between 5-10.
Share the core values throughout the company –
- the most important and final step, is to share your core values throughout your business. These core values need to be visible throughout your business to every employee, to guide business decisions, and also in all of your marketing material to every client or prospect.
Examples of core values
Your core values should be very personal and particular to your business, but we have compiled a list of some of the most popular values, to give you a starting point for discussion.
- Commitment to Customers
- Result oriented