How To Pick Your Company Core Values
Company core values probably wouldn’t be the first thought you’ll have when you’re starting a small business. But when your business enjoys rapid growth, and you’re starting to form a team, you should be serious in learning how to pick your company core values.
After all, a well-defined set of company core values will set the tone for the underlying culture of your team. Before you rush off to scribble what you believe are the right core values, it helps to learn what company core values are.
What Are Company Core Values And Why They Matters
Core values are the guiding principle of the entire structure of your company. It is the guideline behind every actions and decision taken by executives and top management alike. They become the fundamental moral principles that the company holds.
Unlike a company’s vision or mission, the core values are a list of beliefs rather than a lengthy statement. There are hard rules on how many values your company should have. But it is not uncommon for some companies to list up to 10 core values.
Growing a team is probably one of the most challenging aspects of operating a company. You’ll have to deal with the diverse cultures, and individual values each of the team member brought to the room. A robust set of company core values help to gel the team together and allow them to move forward as one.
While having a set of core values do not guarantee your company’s success, not sticking to any almost guarantee the failure to sustain the company in the long run. Without a set of holding beliefs, it is unlikely that the team would work as a whole or derive psychological satisfaction working for the company.
Common Mistakes When Picking Your Company Core Values
Having the right core values matter, but there are mistakes that business owners and HR personnel are commonly guilty of that reduce the effectiveness of core values to a list of pointless statements. Here are what you should be aware of when creating your company core values.
1. Lack Of Clarity
While it may seem easy to whip up single word lists and start identifying them as your company core values, chances are, they may be too vague to influence the daily operation of your company. Instead of merely stating, honesty, a more specific statement like transparency in communication is our commitment works better.
2. Directly Inheriting Your Personal Values
Entrepreneurs are strongly driven individuals with their set of unique values. There’s nothing wrong with that, except that when they started to impose their personal values onto their team members. It is important to recognize that entrepreneurs and their employees may drive by different motivations and create company core values that both parties would resonate.
It’s tempting to create a lengthy list of core values for your company because many people think more is inherently better. While some companies have no problems integrating a dozen of core values into their culture, others may fare better by having less than a handful of values statement.
4. Not Practicing The Core Values
The brainstorming session to pick your company core values may bring the hype and excitement to your team. What’s more important is for these values to reflect on the policies and procedures practiced by your employee. The values should dictate and influence the culture in the company instead of being mere lines of texts printed on papers.
Core Values Of Successful Companies
To get a better idea of what company core values should look like, and how they drive some of the most successful companies, here are a couple of great examples.
Regardless of whether you’re a fan of Starbucks’s signature blend, it doesn’t discount the fact that Starbuck is one of the most successful coffee-brewing chains on the planet. Here are Starbucks’s core values
- Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.
- Acting with courage, challenging the status quo and finding new ways to grow our company and each other.
- Being present, connecting with transparency, dignity, and respect.
- Delivering our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results.
These statements are written with simplicity and convey the message of what the Starbucks means to both their stakeholders and customers.
Besides being the fastest and most extensive search engine around, Google has one of the coolest set of core values. They are short, witty and resonates with what Google is all about. And there are 10 of them.
- Focus on the user and all else will follow.
- It’s best to do one thing well.
- Fast is better than slow.
- Democracy on the web works.
- You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
- You can make money without doing evil.
- There’s always more information out there.
- The need for information crosses all borders.
- You can be serious without a suit.
- Great isn’t good enough.
While the statements are pretty generic, Google does have a wordy paragraph that follows each of the values to ensure there are no doubts of what they mean and why it matters.
Picking Your Company Core Values
Your company core values do not need to be awe-inspiring, nor do they need to conform to the hype. What matters is they serve as a guiding belief to your company and create a primary culture for success.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to picking your company core values.
1. Get Your Employees Involved
As a business owner, you may be calling the shots in most of the decisions. But if you’re to progress far as a team, you’ll need to get all of your employees on board when setting your company core values. For most small and medium businesses, this means getting the entire staff to a discussion. As for large organizations, this may involve communicating through emails or their respective managers. In short, you ought to hear from every single individual in the company.
2. Brainstorm On What Matters
A great set of core values are those that employees feel proud of when they associate with it in their daily work life. These values usually reflect their own beliefs or are ideals that they believe will enhance their values.
Encourage every individual to submit values that they believe. At this stage, generic and straightforward terms will suffice as the objective is to gauge the collective beliefs that inspire the entire team. For instance, transparent workplace communication is an essential element that increases productivity.
3. Pick Common Values
As the ideas keep pouring in, you’ll need a notepad to help with, or you can scribble down the values on a whiteboard. As the dust settles, it’s time to handpick values that are shared by most of the employees. That could be a lengthy process especially when you have a massive choice of possible values.
Each in your company should be on the same page when it comes to finalizing the core values. In some cases, a single value statement may consist of several suggested keywords. By engaging each employee when picking your company core values, they will feel accountable and take ownership of their suggestions.
4. Ensure That The Values Reflect The Company’s Culture
That is where many desire a touch of creativity. Considering your company core values will be the fundamental beliefs for your team for years to come, they should turn into catchy statements that are easy to remember.
Besides that, you should ensure that the core values are relevant in the context of the company as a whole. It should feel connected with the culture instead of being out of place. As a final part of the process, you may need to bear a little with the refining that some of the values may need.
Beyond Company Values
With a list of newly coined company core values, the problematic part of the journey begins. That is where you should start discussing with your managers on integrating the core values into your policies, procedures, guidebooks and the culture of your company.
It’s also worth to bear in mind that you may need to revisit the core values in the future when there is a need to amend, abolish or to introduce new ones to the company. Rather than being set in stones, the core values should evolve just as the business does.
Your company should also measure the effectiveness of the core values regularly by examining the critical indicators like productivity, workplace happiness, and customer satisfaction. After all, these are the reasons why company values even existed.
Did you find this guide helpful in determining your company core values? Share your tips on defining company values with us in the comment below.
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