Company values aren’t just written to be pretty words on a website or plaque in the reception area – they play a critical role in your company’s success. These values are the foundation of how your company operates and makes decisions.
Think about it this way: company values are like the DNA of your business. And in a world where remote and hybrid work models are increasingly common, company values are more important than ever.
What are company values?
Company values are the guiding principles that dictate how your business operates. They shape your culture and define how you make decisions, big and small.
Your company values should be more than just a list of buzzwords – they should reflect your company’s unique identity and purpose. These values should be evident in everything you do, from how you treat customers to how you develop products.
Defining and living by your values can help you attract the right employees, build a strong culture, and make better decisions. They are the guiding principles that help you navigate tough decisions and keep everyone on the same page.
The key to hiring talent
Values are also critical in the hiring process. You need to hire people who share your company values to build a solid and cohesive team. That can be difficult to do if you don’t understand what those values are.
That’s why it’s crucial to take the time to develop a clear and concise set of values that everyone in your company can understand and buy into. Once established, you can use them to attract top talent and weed out individuals who aren’t a good fit for your company. They can serve as a litmus test for every new hire.
The best candidates will be drawn to companies with values that align with their own. When you clearly articulate your values, it becomes easier to identify these candidates during the interview process.
A north star for employees
Employees want to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and company values provide that. Your values give employees a sense of purpose and help them understand how their role contributes to the company’s overall success.
It’s vital in remote work, where employees can quickly feel disconnected from their company. They might not see their colleagues in person very often, and they might not have a clear understanding of the company’s goals.
Values provide employees with a north star – something to guide them when feeling lost or uncertain. When everyone is clear on their values, it becomes much easier to make decisions. There’s no need to micromanage when everyone operates from the same guiding principles.
Furthermore, these values can also be the reason employees stay. With high turnover rates caused by the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to build a strong culture, and values are a big part of that. When you have a team of people who believe in the same things, they’re likelier to stick around – even when times are tough.
Dictate how you communicate
When company values are established, they guide the type of communication that is appropriate within the business. This includes everything from your marketing collateral language to how employees interact with customers.
Values also help to create a consistent brand identity. Ideally, they are evident in every touchpoint someone has with your business – from your website to social media to customer service interactions.
External communication is essential to building and maintaining customer relationships, but company values also help create a positive culture internally. This can be done through regular all-hands meetings, company-wide emails, or an intranet site where employees can post updates and announcements.
When everyone is on the same page about the company’s values, it’s easier to work towards common goals. There’s less infighting and more focus on what’s important.
For instance, one of Starbucks’ core values is “Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.” This value is evident in how the company trains its employees to create a welcoming environment for customers and in Starbucks’ support of social causes like racial equity.
Drive the decision-making
In a world where there are always endless options, company values help to drive the decision-making process. Having a set of values that everyone is aware of and agrees with can eliminate a lot of the guesswork when making decisions.
Values can serve as inspiration for formulating business strategies. Take Netflix, for example. Part of their culture is supporting artistic expression and recognizing that not every viewer wants the same thing.
That’s why the company funds a variety of original content, from movies to TV shows to documentaries. According to the latest report, this strategy has served them well – the streaming giant now has over 220 million global paid subscribers.
Determining your company values
What do company values look like? Well, you can always go with common words or phrases like “integrity,” “innovation,” or “teamwork.” But those mean different things to different people, so they may not be as helpful as you think.
A better way to start thinking about your company values is by brainstorming what you and your team believe in. Some questions to get you started:
● How do we want to be known?
● What kind of environment do we want to create?
● What do we believe in?
● How do we want to treat our customers, employees, and vendors?
The key is not to limit yourself to writing down the first thing that comes to mind. Take some time to think about what you believe in as a company. These values should be timeless and guide everything you do, even as your company grows and changes.
When Zappos Insights placed “Deliver WOW through service” as one of its values, it became the cornerstone of everything it did. From training its people to go above and beyond to creating a company culture that supports employee happiness, Zappos turned its values into actionable items.
Notice how they did not phrase it, “Deliver excellent service.” While it technically means the same, it’s not as actionable or memorable as “Deliver WOW through service.”
Big believers in values
We at Ellivate are firm believers in the power of company values. First-hand experience has taught us that when values are front-and-centre, good things happen. And we can cultivate a healthy culture from there.
Our values were designed to help us create and live our mission, so we chose them carefully. They were also written to be timeless and flexible enough to adapt as we grow. Moreover, we didn’t simply stick to traditional values like “integrity” and “excellence.” We leveraged our great love for Star Wars too.
So, it’s safe to say we know more than a thing or two about establishing company values. If you want to learn how you can nail your company values down, start a conversation with us today.