As an employer, your values are a key part of your company’s success. Your values are on display when it comes to your own work, how your treat your colleagues, and of course, how your present yourself to your customers.
That said, company values should be more than just rules. They are an important part of any business, and they form the core basis of your goals and future plans. So, let's look at why company values are important, how to set them – and how you can embody them now and going foward.
Every business owner needs to set their own company values. This set of values can help to determine what makes your company different to those around you, and they also help to define your business and what is important to you.
Having a strong sense of company values is incredibly helpful when you are finding new staff. When you are in the recruitment process, your established set of ethics and values can help you to decide whether or not the person you are interviewing is going to be a good fit for your company.
If you want to make sure that you have a particular set of behaviours present in your company, you need a clear and defined list of company values. Once you have these, your staff know exactly how to behave, and your customers know what to expect from you. Your values will inform exactly the kind of company you want to be now, and going forward into the future.
Most of all, having a specific set of core values will help your staff to feel that they belong to something bigger. If their values match yours then they will also feel loyal to your business and want to do well for you, contributing to your overall success. After all, if they feel like they are ‘changing the world’ for the better just by turning up to the office, just imagine how motivated they would be to improve your business!
As we have already discussed, one of the great things about having company values is that they are a reflection of you as a company. Your core values should be a list of things that sets you apart from all others. Therefore, whilst it is great to use other companies as inspiration, particularly those that you admire, the main set of values should always be your own.
It can be tempting to cadge a few items word for word from companies that you admire, but this should always be avoided. If you snap them up word for word, this will will take away from your own company’s individuality. This ‘copy cat approach’ could potentially really turn your clients and potential employees off – avoid at all costs.
So, you’ve decided that you want to set your own company values rather than solely relying on ones that are borrowed from elsewhere? Great! But, you may quickly realise that figuring out your own values isn’t as easy as you may think.
The best place to start is by deciding who will be responsible for determing the values. Depending on the size of your company, you can come up with a team that covers a range of employees. This includes those who work full time, those who work part-time, managers and employees. This means that you get a broad idea of what your company is to each of them and create values that suit. Do you work for a small business, or maybe own a start up? Maybe you will want to tackle this task on your own.
Once you have assembled your team, then the time has come to start thinking about what is important to you as a manager, and what is important to your employees. There are likely to be particular things that you all value, and some things that are different to one another. Thankfully, there is also a good chance that there are things that everyone values. These similar values are a great place to start when you are putting together the values for your company as a whole.
Your values need to appeal to all of your employees, and this means that they should be written in a way that can be understood. Stay away from corporate jargon – after all, you might understand these complex words and terms, but they aren’t clear to everyone else. You need to make sure that everyone in the company can be on board with the vision and values that you want to achieve. Ideally, your clients should be able to parse them as well – some clients are very keen to know about this aspect of your business.
No matter the values that you set, make sure that they reflect your core mission and approach. If you choose these wisely, you may be surprised by just how much of your staff gets on board.
What are your workplace values? How did you come up with them, and how have they helped your business? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comment section below.