The Art & Science of Meaningful Company Values
Many managers and organisations today neglect the fact that company values are important. Company values are important for both individuals and companies. Individually, they help with governing lives, ensuring that we grow and develop in our future with what we want to experience. From an organisational perspective, it’s what builds the company culture, supports the company vision and reflects what it is that your company values as important the most. Company values are a critical elelement of your strategic planning process. Their importance lies in the fact that they are able to directly reach the heart of most important factor of your strategy – your own people.
What are company values?
A company value can be what you or your organisation believes is important. This strong belief is portrayed through yours and the company’s attitudes and behaviours. Company values can be found to be generally; ‘excellence’ or ‘integrity’ or ‘ethically responsible’. While each of these three convey how passionate the organisation is in providing an excellent service whilst being honest and true to moral principles, it’s further shown through their deliverables. For example, being a financial advisor you would commit to being honest to your client in the advice you provide, ensuring their needs are met before yours.
Why are company values important?
Company values are important because they allow your company’s stakeholders to see your passion or commitment to an underlying belief. By allowing them to see that, you can assess whether individuals can fit in with the attitudes and behaviours your company delivers. Essentially, it’s to allow employees and employers to determine cultural fit.
Determining cultural fit is important to see whether everyone can communicate the same message across to customers. This unison in message is what will ensure that everyone comes from one perspective and that the activities that each person does embodies the values.
Organisational values are usually viewed as unnecessary. Employees and customers both seem to dismiss them as nothing more than marketing gimmicks. However, in reality, values are a crucial and critical part of your strategic planning process. Their importance lies in the fact that they are able to directly reach the heart of most important factor of your strategy – your own people.
Defining Your Own Company Values & 10 Common Company Values
Defining your own company values depends on what you or your organisation deems as important. Not only is it a belief to be important but it’s what you plan on delivering to stakeholders. To help you get started with forming or re-assessing your company values, below are some common company values with their importance in an organisation:
This is a key company value that appears for most organisations. Telling and showing your customers and/or clients that you are accountable just means, you’re holding responsibility in what you do whether it be for yourself or for them. It’s important to let them understand this because you’re trying to prove to your customer’s/client’s that their problems are safe with you – any repercussions of errors you make you hold responsibility for. It’s to allow them to know you will take care of any mistakes or negative results (which they would know you’d try not to do, so it conveys you strive to do it right to avoid this).
It’s no brainer with this core value that you should let your stakeholders see that you are determined to get things right or forward in what you do for them. Think about it, you would want your potential clients or current customers to see that you’re determined to find a solution for them right? You’d rather not let them believe you will get to their problem but make it seem like a low priority because that just means you don’t care in getting it fixed!
This is an interesting one. There are companies that exist in portraying an exclusive culture. This exclusivity may be restricted to specific competencies, skills or even at times genders and race. While it’s not the most enticing aspect for some stakeholders, there are a few individuals who aim to gain this exclusive access. Majority of the time however, it doesn’t allow the company to reap the benefit of multiple competencies, skills and abilities. This restriction prevents the company from moving forward as they’re too familiar with one competency.
Giving your stakeholders the opportunity to feel empowered in what they can do is an attractive value to many. You want people to feel in control of their attitudes and behaviours. Allowing them this right to feel self-controlled is what will allow them to be a leader of their own, making it a very important organisational value.
No doubt is there a company that exists who strives to perform. If you don’t strive to perform as an organisation, why do you exist? Or let alone, how are you still operating? You need performance and people to understand the importance of you striving to perform to let them see that you’re working towards in delivering the new and unknown each day.
To be able to see through something easily is something you want your stakeholders to see. You want them to be able to view your organisation as what it appears to be on paper and word. No fine lines, no loopholes just what your company states that it is and letting them see that through your organisation’s activities and image. It’s a clear corporate value to some.
With every service or product you provide to a customer or client, they’d want to receive it with professionalism. This professionalism is what lets them see you mean real business – you know how to ensure that the service or product you’re providing comes from the right set of hands who’s been trained to be a professional (and not someone who’s been picked up from the streets with no knowledge, expertise and can’t trust in).
- Customer Focus
Yet again, this is a no brainer as quality for a core value. You want and need to let your customers and clients know that they’re your number one priority. Their problems, needs and wants are your commitment in satisfying because at the end of the day, they make your business continue to operate. Happy customers as generic as it is, means a happy business because they keep coming back for more, spreading good word for more potential customers – allowing you to grow as a business.
- Continuous Improvement
Not every business is perfect, there’s always going to be mistakes or opportunities to do better. Conveying to your stakeholders that you strive to continually improve with the service or product you provide lets them see that you want to develop and provide them the best service or product. Letting them see that means you care about what they want, and essentially they are your priority.
Change is constant and it occurs a lot in the business environment. With every change, it’ll affect the way business operates which affects what deliverables can be given to stakeholders. Stakeholders know the effect of change, and they want to know that you’re capable of adapting to it and ensuring the service or product you provide can cater to it. Letting them see this capability means as an organisation, you’re able to take change positively and further benefit your current service.
While each of the above organisational values are the most common ones, they’re the ones that mean the most to a company’s stakeholders. It doesn’t hurt to convey similar values that existing companies believe in, because if you or your company personally believes in them too – it’s just a gateway to conveying it fully in your activities. By conveying what you or your company fundamentally believes in, it sees cohesion and team efforts in providing excellent service – something your stakeholders look for.
Company Value Key Takeaways
- You should analyse the behavioural traits of the individuals in and around you and identify common themes.
- You need to ask yourself what traits you will be looking for in the candidates of your forthcoming recruitment drive.
- Comprehend your own strengths and weaknesses as an organisation – and try to create organisational values which will play to your strengths and alleviate your weaknesses.
- Collate all these points together in a set of Values which are short both in number and in length.
- You should then test these Values by asking if the values resonate with your people. This is important because it is imperative that they must resonate!
- You should revisit your Vision Statement and check if your values are in line with your strategic Vision.
- You should not stop here. Instead, you should write down on a piece of paper why each Value is important and tangible what you will do to implement and live it as an organisation
Creating organisational values is not a difficult task. In fact, it should come out just naturally. If you still find the process to be difficult, it is probably indicating that you need to spend some extra time getting to know your people and even yourself.