Communication. Teamwork. Integrity. Excellence.
These are all common company values, but do they really mean anything? If your business has a hollow set of values, ones that are not clearly articulated in your business practices and have no significance in your workplace, these values run the risk of undermining your credibility.
Well written and incorporated values can set a business apart from its competition. It provides a solid brand identity which is beneficial for both employees and clients. When setting values for your business however, it is important that you are aware that values will limit your operational freedom, and also employees’ behaviours. While this may seem negative, values provide businesses and employees with a guide, showing what they stand for and how they should operate.
SO WHAT VALUES SHOULD YOU BE SETTING FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
The first thing to note is that your core values should be just that. Values, not aspirations. If you’re employees are not very time focused, you should not be setting a core value of urgency or timeliness. It will make management seem out of touch. There are four key types of values:
- Core values: deeply ingrained principles that guide all actions within a business.
Aspirational values: those which will be beneficial for future success. Please note that it is important these values aren’t mixed with the business’ core values as it creates confusion.
- Permission-to-play values: a reflection of the minimum behavioural and operational standards expected of an employee. Integrity is a commonly misunderstood value as most businesses believe it to be a core value (it isn’t unless you plan on putting in place extra measures to set yourself apart from your competitors).
- Accidental values: spontaneous values which reflect the common interests of employees.
The core values you set for your business need to be continually followed and addressed throughout your operations in order for them to be meaningful. Sticking to your core values can make it easier to make important strategic decisions, hiring decisions, and also allows clients the opportunity to identify with your business.
If you can implement your values effectively in 2017, they will benefit your business and clients for years to come.