As Simon Sinek said in his excellent Ted Talk, “Start With Why,” the most important part of a business isn’t what you do (sell a product, offer a service), or even how you do business — it’s why. Your company’s “why” can be summed in one way: what are your core values?
The Importance of Core Values
Defining and promoting your core values more openly is becoming more and more common, as businesses recognize how successful brands have benefited from focusing on values over profits or business goals. Not only do customers identify more strongly with values than with benefits, services, or features, but companies that emphasize values have more loyal and engaged employees. A study by Right Management showed that 88% of employees who knew their company’s core values were engaged at work, while only 54% of those who didn’t know them were engaged.
How To Promote Your Core Values At Work
So once you’ve defined your business’ core values, how do you keep them alive among your employees in their day-to-day? Daily tasks and conversations about sales and profits can often take up your employee’s time and mental energy. Here are some ways to make sure values are at the forefront of everything they do.
Communicate your values.
The first thing you have to do is make sure your employees actually know what your values are. Do you include them in your onboarding presentation when you hire new people? Do you tell potential candidates what the company stands for? You can find creative ways to showcase your business’ values visually in your office as well, from something as simple as banners to something more creative. You should also showcase them on your website. Anyone who walks into your office or joins your team should be able to quickly identify what your business stands for. If you don’t say your values, how should anybody know what they are?
Hire, promote, and fire based on values.
Everyone on your team should align with your company’s values. Besides experience, potential, and skills, you should hire your employees based on how well they fit into your team, and that is entirely defined by shared values. If your employees don’t share your business’ core values, they are not a good fit for you. If they show themselves not to support your values, you should let them go. And you should promote those team members who exemplify your values at their best.
Make values the focus.
Your company’s goals and tasks are obviously important for your company’s success. However, it’s easy to focus on these and forget values in favor of other things, important as they may be. For your business’ long-term success, make sure to always bring the focus back to your core values and how they inform your job each day. If one of your core values is excellence, then your employees will complete their tasks well and on time because of it. If you’ve done your job with hiring and communicating your values, you and management can focus on them and allow your employees to do their jobs.
Practice what you preach.
If you, as a representative of your company, don’t act according to your core values, why should your employees? Demonstrating through action that you believe in your company’s core values goes a long way towards maintaining those values in your company. Your employees will not only see these actions and grow in loyalty and belief in those values, but they will also imitate you and put them into practice as well.