Why it pays to identify and clearly communicate your company values

Wouldn’t it be great to arrive at work each day safe in the knowledge that you’re making a difference? If you’re lucky enough to regularly feel that way, then you’re probably working for a company that’s mastered the art of company values.

These organisations have successfully identified the core values that define them and which inspire every employee to work as hard as possible. Their less fortunate competitors have probably struggled to communicate their values to their workforce in a convincing way.

To be among the former group, you need to clearly establish the values you expect each member of your team to adhere to and then praise those who walk the walk.

Read on to find out what makes for a great set of company values and how to find the ones that are right for your business.

The meaning of company values

 Company values are the central, underlying philosophies that guide a business and its employees. These beliefs also influence the way a company interacts with partners, clients, and shareholders. A company’s culture must align with its core values in order to create a shared, enduring, and positive environment for all these parties.

The benefits of defining and living by your values are immense. According to iHire’s 2020 Core Values in the Workplace survey, the top factor of employee satisfaction is the culture and values of an organisation, and over 75 percent of employees consider it “very important” to work for a company with defined core values. This translates to a better bottom line: companies with highly aligned cultures and innovation strategies see 30 per cent higher business value growth and 17 per cent higher profit growth.

A recent Harvard Business Review article by Dr Natalie Baumgartner, Chief Workforce Scientist at Achievers, explores why culture needs to align with company values. She cites a LinkedIn survey that suggests 26 per cent of employees would forego a fancy title and 65 per cent would accept lower pay before dealing with a poor workplace environment.

How to define and live by your company values

 Defining your company values requires a close examination of your organisation’s culture and vision. Think deeply about how to use your values to illustrate what your company hopes to achieve and represent. Consider these guidelines when establishing your company values:

  • Keep it short. Your values should be easy for your employees to memorise and epitomise. Rather than writing an essay, think about the real meaning of your values. Distil them into words that the average person understands and can follow.
  • Stay specific. Writing in vague corporate jargon is confusing and dilutes the meaning behind your words. Values need to tie specifically to your company’s goals and mission. They should be relevant to the products or services your company offers, as well as to your company culture.
  • Address internal and external goals. A company’s decisions impact the employee experience, but they also impact the outside world. Failing to consider the ways your company affects external groups is disingenuous. When you address the manner in which your company wants to interact with the outside world, it leaves employees feeling hopeful and inspires trust in your customers.
  • Make them unique. Using the same values as a different company – or worse, a competitor – leaves your business looking ordinary. Think of what sets your organisation apart from others and concentrate on bringing those aspects to light in your company values to attract the right customers and employees.

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Once you’ve identified your values, make sure they’re woven into the fabric of your organisation. A sure-fire way of doing this is to create a culture informed by your company values which recognises employees who embody those values. We’ve found that 92 per cent of employees confirm that they’re more likely to repeat an action when they’ve been recognised for it. If you overtly link that recognition to your company values, you’ll help to align organisational and personal standards more closely.

Click here to find out more about Achievers’ employee engagement platform