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The company’s core values don’t just have to sound pretty. They should become the guiding principles for everyone in your organization.
Ideally, employees should be able to refer to our values while making their own decisions. Thus, they can make a choice in accordance with the direction we have outlined for the brand. However, the values of many companies are unclear or irrelevant. As Gallup studies show, this can lead to serious problems.
Connected: Core values: what they are, why they matter, and how to implement them today
In one of Recent Gallup Polls, less than a quarter of respondents said they were guided by their company’s values. Just 27% admit to believing in the values their employers emphasize. As a result, values become nothing more than words – and this undermines their ability to be inspiring and explanatory.
Ideally, you want your corporate values to do more than just sound good on paper. You want them to resonate with all members of your team and appeal to your customers or customer base. However, to reap these benefits, you may need to revisit or update your company’s existing values. Below are the best strategies to make sure new values reflect the needs of employees and customers.
1. Get your employees involved in the discussion ahead of time.
Getting value support is difficult unless you first ask your team for feedback. The best way to make sure your values are on the right track is to survey your workforce. We recommend engaging a third party. Consider partnering with a consultant experienced in building a strong and effective corporate culture. After all, you want your values to define your culture, and vice versa.
To put this into practice, keep the town halls, send surveys, and find out how your people want to be contacted and ultimately treated. I have found this to be one of the best ways to start a conversation in a corporate setting.
2. Match your words with actions
Too often, companies share values but don’t live by those values. Your corporate actions must uphold your company’s values. For example, one of our values is fair treatment of all people. If we had a gender pay gap that wasn’t being addressed, we would show my team that I don’t really stand for the values I promote. Soon someone will notice a break in communication, which can lead to staff turnover or negative press.
There are many ways to align your actions with your values. For example, you can donate to specific causes. Or you can pay your employees to volunteer for a year. Feel free to be creative, which makes sense depending on your values.
3. Talk about your values
Keeping your values in mind can be difficult, especially during busy times. One way we’ve relied on to keep values alive is to speak openly about them. For example, by adding them to your company’s social networks or blog posts. The more you talk about your values, the more real they become to internal and external stakeholders.
Connected: Fight for Something: How to Establish Authentic Core Values
An added benefit of talking about your values is that they become synonymous with your brand. Patagonia is a good example of this. The company’s core values include environmental protection, unconventionality and a commitment to fairness. Thus, Patagonian leaders have taken bold stances towards protecting the planet and combating systemic racism. Result? The company and its values are forever linked with each other.
4. Start Small and Sincerely
If you’re starting out on a path to value creation, start on a smaller scale. You don’t need to have a dozen points of value. I noticed that it is enough to choose just one to start your company. As you move forward, you can add more value statements or expand them.
Remember, the goal is not to overwhelm everyone with what you value as an organization. This should show the true face of your business. Feel free to choose single words to represent your values, or write a sentence that embodies your values. Slack does the last with the headline: “Make work easier, more enjoyable and more productive.” It’s easy to see how this value statement can become a roadmap for teams.
You can’t always be there to tell your employees and colleagues what to do. But your core values can. Start updating and refining your value proposition today. When you do this, you can better position your company to stay strong and competitive.