Core business values or “corporate values” has been a buzz-term thrown around in business literature for many years. So, what are they? Are they important?
Yes – the idea of corporate values has been diluted in recent years to include almost every virtue under the sun, but it’s important to find your specific company’s corporate values for a long-term strategy. It may seem obvious that an insurance company will have different corporate values than a sports organization.
Here’s how to find out what specifically drives your company:
- Find out from the inside: Employees often have a very accurate perception of the core values of your business. By anonymously asking employees to describe your corporation with a few (3-5) key values, you can start to paint an accurate picture of your business.
- Ask your customers: Public perception is an important metric, and your customer base can tell you fairly accurately what values come to mind when they hear your company name. This is largely based on their experience with your company, so this is also a good tool for gathering other feedback as well to boost customer experience.
- What are your strategic goals?: If you can’t pinpoint what values can be attributed to your firm specifically, look at your goals. What is the long-term vision for your business? Creating a better community? Driving innovation? Ensuring the safety of your employee and customer base? These are all important things to consider as they can reveal a lot about your company culture.
- Your Performance: What does your company excel at? Are you constantly hitting and exceeding performance marks, but have a high employee turnover rate? Or do you pride your firm as having the lowest accident rate in your industry? What your business is doing well at is likely linked to your core values, as this drives the engine of performance amongst your team. This can be unconsciously or consciously linked to your company culture when making business decisions
Once you’ve put together a list of these values now you can ask yourself – Why are they important for my company’s success?
- Strategic Recruitment: If you are happy with your company’s values – you can now hire strategically based on if the candidate embodies these values themselves. This way, your corporate culture will be reflective of the company’s goals, and you’ll know if they’re a potential fit. Vice versa, employees with these values will seek out employment at your firm.
- Strategy Pivot: If you determine your corporate values are not positive, or beneficial to the long-term strategy of the business you have a strong indicator of change. You can set ideal corporate values, and begin to take action through practical operational changes to reflect your new values.
- Decision-Making Process: When you know your corporate values, decision making becomes much easier. You simply ask yourself “does this decision contribute to or hinder my corporate values?”. Continuously making decisions in line with your corporate values will lead to meeting the long-term goals you’ve set out to accomplish. It removes “noise” from the decision-making process at a high level, and guides towards company vision.