Truth: It’s never too early (or too late) to define the values of your company. In fact, defining your company values is the first step in mindfully creating the kind of culture that you want in your business; as well as ensuring that these core values will stand the test of time, or any scaling measures down the line.
So, how exactly do you decide on the values that are right for your company? 🤔
Below we’ll take a look at four guidelines that aim to assist you in this fundamental exercise:
Every single company out there has a culture — whether it has consciously been established or not. Bearing this in mind, you can begin by observing what is already taking place. Are there any unspoken “norms”? What kind of behaviour flies when working in a team, and what doesn’t? Do top performers have anything in common?
Your process of observation will vary, depending on the size of your company. Let’s say you have a fairly small team — you might decide on having one-on-one conversations with every team member with regards to what they think the company’s values are. In a larger corporation, a survey or some focus group sessions might be on the cards.
To me, the values of an organisation can be looked at as the “how” principles. The “what” would be the foundation of tasks encompassed in every job description; and the “why” is generally an individual’s inner purpose for being there.
If you want to focus on the “how” rather than the “what” or the “why,” think about your values in terms of common behaviours. Why? Well, a plus side is that it’s easier to replicate behaviours, as they’re more objective. Here’s an example: “Judgment” could have many connotations for many different people, but “treating all customers fairly” is a far less subjective way of framing things, and ultimately a much better guide as to how people are expected to do their work.
In a competitive market, never blend in with the competition! The same rings true for your company’s culture, which is fundamentally the outcome of your talent attraction and retention. So, do as much as you can to stand out and add your own unique touch to your company values.
Employees can only truly live out a company’s values if they can actually remember them! If possible, try to stick to about five core values or less.
This also encourages leaders to be intentional and mindful in the choices and definitions they set. Company values should remain fairly constant — even if your business grows; so intentionally being up front will assist in producing fundamental values that will prove to be timeless.
Defining your company values is not an easy feat, but it’s one of the most quintessential things you can do to attract and retain top-class talent!
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