Corporate core values are the important characteristics of a business that are demonstrated constantly through every interaction the company’s employees make with the outside world. Often whittled down to four or five individual words or terms, these strengths or priorities are the things that employees use to set their behaviour and approach when doing their day to day jobs.
Why? Core values are all part of a business’s identity. Unless you are the only provider or seller of a certain product or service in the entire world – which is highly unlikely – values can act as a differentiator so you can set yourself apart from your competition when variances in price or quality aren’t necessarily clear. They can help establish a reputation, build customer loyalty and give employees direction on how to engage with others and be the best they can be.
All companies should define their corporate values but they are particularly important when a business has more than 50 employees and perhaps operates in multiple locations. With so many personalities and roles, all working in silo, the values, when followed correctly, ensure that the customer gets a consistent view of the business.
Some examples of corporate core values are Trustworthy, Visionary, Uncompromising and Flexible.
If we take each one in turn:
- Trustworthy should mean that a company always meets deadlines and promises, it offers a transparent way of working and its employees are honest and open with customers.
- Visionary would work well for a company taking a new approach to something, where staff are encouraged to use their initiative and creativity to make things better and achieve new things.
- Uncompromising as a value would mean that the business has clear targets and commitments for its delivery and its customers and will stop at nothing to achieve them. Only the best, no matter how much extra effort or work is required.
- Flexible would be good for a logistics or technology company who is happy to work around its customers’ needs or has to respond quickly to changes. Employees would know to look for different approaches to solve problems and truly listen to customers to get them what they need.
How do you set corporate core values?
Although often very simple terms, a company’s core values are actually the result of what can be a very long and complex process involving employee and customer interviews, competitor analysis, and board meeting brainstorms, all led by an experienced brand marketing company.
This process identifies behaviours that are
- Relevant to the business and what it sells
- Appealing to its target audience
- Different to those of competitors
- Easy for employees to understand and follow
And that process is just step one. For, after the brand values are agreed upon, the next phase is to introduce and embed the values within the business. Every employee, from top to bottom, no matter whether they’ve been in the company for decades or are just days into the job, needs to be clear about what the company stands for. That is vital otherwise the investment in time and expertise in step one has all been for nothing.
They need to know them well, understand them and be clear about how to apply them to everything they do.
This is where it helps to have the right processes and systems in place to make communicating the values and behaviours a piece of cake.
So how do you embed corporate core values in a business?
It takes a lot more than putting up a few posters. In fact, for your values to truly become a part of your company’s culture, they should be integrated into everything from the induction videos shown on day one to the performance ratings during a staff appraisal.
The trick is having a system that all employees can access for information, communication, performance management and community engagement. By establishing something that people use almost daily, you can ensure that the values are shared both subconsciously and outright, along with clear ideas and evidence of how they can be applied across the business.
StaffCircle is a mobile technology platform that gives all employees – even those not desk-based – the ability to access and share company information, task sheets, news and personal progress. This integrated suite of tools means that establishing and maintaining a values-driven company culture is straightforward.