Company core values are one of those fancy buzzwords you have probably heard people shout about. Companies like to highlight their core values and experts tell you to develop them or you are doomed. The problem is that many companies don’t walk the walk when it comes to company core values. How to create company values that mean something more than just letters in a smart dressing?
What are company values?
Company values define the core pillars of company identity and principles. The core values guide how the business operates from dealing with customers to creating the product.
Company core values play an essential role in company growth. They create and strengthen organisational culture. When you define your company core values, you ensure everyone in the organisation is working towards a shared goal.
It sounds like a lot and it is!
An Imperative survey of LinkedIn members showed core values to be crucial for employee satisfaction. 73% of purpose-oriented members had job satisfaction, compared to 64% for those who aren not. As important as employee satisfaction is, the same study also showed the importance of values to the bottom line. 58% of companies with a clear purpose experienced higher growth to the 42% that kept purpose a non-priority.
If you want a successful and motivating workplace, then you need to define your company core values.
What do the core values of a company look like?
The best way to understand the importance of company core values is to examine them in action. Big tech is a great example of values done right.
Let’s take the example of Apple. Simplicity and excellence are Apple’s core company values and it shows whenever you see an Apple product. Its hardware and software are simplified and focused on quality. It doesn’t play with extra bells and whistles – you can see all of this even in its flagship stores, which are minimalistic in design.
Google is another successful example of defined core values. The focus is on the user, which is evident in the service they provide. It’s easy, fast and valuable. In fact, the company goes further and says “great just isn’t good enough”. This type of aspiration to improvement and further innovation is highly engaging to people working at the company, making it one of the most desired places to work.
If you hear the statement, “freedom to share and connect”, you might guess the tech giant behind this mission. Facebook’s service is to connect and share. The core value show in everything they do. They want people to have agency in how and where they share information, as well as ensure the flow of information is fast and free. Facebook wants to focus on equality of information, too. Making it so that everyone in the world can share and access its services no matter where they are from and what their economic status is. Though recent development have put into question just how much they adhere to those values.
How to create company values – our example
The above should have highlighted the importance and value of company core values. But the reality is that many companies also get it wrong. That’s because you can’t just create company values out of thin air. They shouldn’t ever be just a fancy marketing technique you use.
If your company doesn’t practise what it preaches, then it is not going to benefit from its core values.
At Contractbook this meant that core values weren’t just added in our mission as an afterthought. They were the guiding principles during the development of the service. The belief is an automated and data-driven future, which lead to work in a database where the data contained in contracts can be harnessed to
The core values were there right from the start and have guided the company in everything it does. Accessibility, sustainability and customer-centricity were not created to have a PR-friendly website. They helped us launch a service based on customer collaboration and feedback, provide a service that is available to charities doing important work in the world and commit to moving the tech industry towards green energy.
How to develop company values that work
Core values are the driving force of your organisation. To define them, you need to look at the basics. Your organisation should ask itself what it believes in and values in the first place.
Why are you doing what you are doing?
The core values of a company must be authentic. You cannot go online and search for a list of “top 10 company values”. There is no cookie-cutter approach to values. Those examples above work but they work for that company. Apple’s core value of simplicity is a great example of how to implement a value. But you cannot copy/paste it to your organisation. Simplicity in everything you do might not make sense to your company.
What should you do then?
While the core values of a company will always look different from one company to another, you should consider developing them with these steps in mind:
1. Take leadership in setting the core values.
Core values are about the guiding principles of how your organisation operates. Therefore, you cannot delegate the creation of them to a PR department or your employees. These are not values that are cool or what you aspire to be like. The core values are what you are as a company.
2. Be authentic and true.
Do not force values on your company. You need to live up to the core values in everything your business does. Your employees and your customers are going to hate it if you are caught lying. If you put sustainability as a core value, you have to show it – and no, cheating to make your product seem more eco-friendly is not the way to do it.
3. Stick to a few, authentic core values.
Your company core values do not need to read like a 1,000-page novel. It is hard to be authentic and impactful if you cannot even remember all of your core values. The above examples work because the companies have selected a few well-defined core values to guide their work.
4. Integrate your core values into everything.
Finally, it is crucial to weave the values into everything your business does. You need them to guide your service and product development, hiring methods and the products and services you use to reach your goals. Employees need to be reminded of those values because it is the only way to make them visible to the audience.
Company core values – the bottom line
88% of employees believe a strong company culture will lead to business success. But to truly reap the benefits of company core values, your organisation has to look beyond meaningless slogans.
Your company core values need to be you.
They must be authentic and part of what your organisation is about. You want to look at your organisation and think about what you see. How are you thriving to help your customers? What makes your business stand out? It is by examining the essence of your organisation that you figure out those core values. And when you do, you need to shout them out from the rooftops to your employees and your customers!