Developing and implementing strong company values can totally transform your business – it can help managers to make better decisions, stakeholders to hire the right people, and employees to exemplify the best parts of your business culture.
While they may seem insignificant, establishing clear core values can be a huge asset and play a big part in elevating your company.
What are company core values?
Your company values are the principles, views, and philosophies which guide how your business is run. They should be woven into every aspect of the company’s operations, from your employee onboarding program to the decisions about who you partner with and do business with.
Maintaining your values ensures that every action is aligned with your company’s vision.
Company values are useful for guiding the behaviors and experience of employees, defining how people should treat and work with each other, as well as how they should behave toward clients, partners, and the wider community.
How to create strong company values
1. Consider your mission and purpose
Your company mission should be a short summary of your purpose. There are two types of mission statements – product-driven and customer-driven.
A customer-driven mission aims to solve problems for people, usually in the form of products, services, platforms, and organizations. This type of mission aims to incorporate external factors, such as customer’s needs, into how a product is conceived.
In contrast, a product-driven mission is simply focused on delivering a certain kind of product, usually based on a dedication to quality and methodology in design and manufacturing.
For example, Mos is a neo bank offering bank accounts for teens driven by a mission to tear down all financial barriers for students. They started by getting them free money for college, and now they’re saving students money with fee-free debit and checking accounts while providing coaching on how to have a healthier financial life.
Deep dive into your company’s mission and purpose, and ensure your core values are aligned with them.
2. Ask the fundamental questions
Before developing your values, you need to establish the foundation your business is built on. Some questions to ask yourself, stakeholders, and even employees might be:
- What matters most to the company besides profit?
- What’s the position of the company in its industry?
- How do you want your employees to feel about work?
- What best represents the attitude you want your team to portray to customers?
3. Brainstorm with your team members
Your employees are essential to your business, so it’s important to consider their opinions when creating your core values. Ask them to think about what they want to accomplish, and how they’d like to make a difference in the company’s culture.
This will ensure your company values are aligned with the needs and values of your team. Plus, when team members’ ideas and actions are noticed and rewarded, they’ll feel valued and appreciated for their contributions.
4. Look to your customers
Knowing the demographic, needs and goals of your customers is key to establishing your company’s core values. You need to know what your audience values, and then create a company culture to align with that. Are your customers interested in luxury products? Or are they more eco-conscious? Do your customers appreciate a quirky tone, or are they more serious? These are the kinds of questions to ask yourself when establishing a clear picture of your customer base.
5. Be specific
Before finalizing your company core values, it can pay to analyze the data. Collect as much information from your team and customers as you can through reviews, surveys, and research, then group them together to create a list of essential values that are most important to your company. The more specific your values, the more actionable they are. You can create as many company values as you see fit, however, settling on a smaller number of values can be more manageable and enable you to better put them into action.
How to share your company values with your team
Once you’ve created your company values, it’s time to communicate them with your team. From new hires to established team members, everyone can benefit from living and learning your company’s core values. Here’s how to share your values with your team.
1. Visualize your values
Regularly referring to your values is crucial, so featuring them in the workplace is a great way to keep them top of mind. Try placing them in prominent locations, such as your reception area, break rooms, and conference rooms, to ensure they remain a priority.
Aside from simply printing them out and sticking them on the wall, there are a variety of fun, creative ways to visualize your values – such as compelling infographics, eye-catching illustrations, or even powerful video content and creative presentations.
A particularly effective way to bring your company values to life is through a culture deck, a collection of slides or videos that walk through your company’s core values. Netflix is famous for its 124-slide culture deck, and the video collection on its job pages. Culture decks are great for letting candidates know what your company stands for, as well as assuring the public of your values. This medium is engaging, easy to digest and can help employees personally relate to your values.
2. Regularly communicate your values
Who Gives A Crap
It’s crucial to regularly communicate your values, and frequently change how you’re displaying and sharing them. For example, you could review and discuss your values at the start of each team meeting, include a different company value at the top of every internal email, or regularly check in with your employees in 1-on-1 meetings about how they’re putting your values into practice.
3. Put your values into action
One of the most effective ways to ensure that employees are implementing and recognizing your company’s core values, is by attaching them to specific actions. For instance, if one of your core values is continuous improvement, you might create a post-project meeting to discuss the various steps required to improve the efficiency of the project.
It’s also key to lead by example. For instance, if a company places significant value on innovation, but is never thinking outside the box or trying new things—you’re not communicating innovation. You can’t share values with your team if you don’t intend to implement them.
Leaders must model the company’s core values in their own work, and employees will then be more motivated to adopt and recognize these values themselves.
4. Reward and recognize values
Rewarding and recognizing employees who are exemplifying your values will motivate them to continue doing so. Calling out positive action and showing your employees that you value their contribution will ensure they continue to uphold your values in their work.
So how do you show recognition? Believe it or not, rewards can go beyond bonuses. It truly is “the little things.” If your company values social justice, consider offering paid time off for volunteer work. If you’re supporters of helping the environment, provide your staff with reusable travel mugs. If you’re big on philanthropy, offer donation-based bonuses to your team, where they can choose the charity they most support.
One of the newest ideas is to take incentive programs and make them personal. Platforms such as BlueBoard offers everything from building a DIY backyard greenhouse to swimming with dolphins as a way to recognize employees, giving them a chance to choose their own rewards.
To Wrap Up
Knowing how to create and share your company values is crucial to your business success, as well as building a close-knit company culture. Start by creating a strong core-values statement, then focus on leading by example and putting those values into action. Good luck!