5 reasons we should all care about company values

shutterstock_155883977A week post cataract surgery a patient unexpectedly received a card from the practice with this handwritten note inside. “We understand you are paying for your treatment yourself. We have a huge respect for teachers, they give willingly and often beyond the scope of their job. You strike us as someone that continues to give to the next generation, so we have waived our fee in recognition of this.”

This incredible gesture had a profound impact on this school teacher, not just financially but in their perception of the clinic, its people and their commitment to service.

But what would drive a team or an individual to do something so above and beyond when they really didn’t have to?

The non-negotiables of a business that determine how its employees act – its core values.

We each navigate our lives and decision making processes with our own principles to guide us, so the same should apply within a workplace. Our five values at accumulate define how we do things individually and as a brand, while capturing our spirit as a whole; Innovation, Open and Honest, Achieve as a Team, Passion and Energy and Lead by Example.

All of these behaviours could easily be applied to any organisation. However, it’s when core values are paid more than lip service that a company can transform from average to remarkable.

Although difficult to measure, a company’s culture is the barometer for the health of the business. But there is no cultural quick fix. What must come first are the intangible factors that set the internal code of an organisation. Integrating relevant core values and ensuring they remain sacred is where a positive culture will grow from.

Potential employees and prospective customers will decide whether a company is suitable based on their alignment to what it stands for. Regardless of whether they are publicised or not, values play a crucial role in shaping the outside world’s opinion. While great values in action can help recruit and retain the right candidate and attract new business, a lack of values can have the opposite effect.

Defined core values are the employees’ ‘how to guide’ to contributing in a way that adds worth to a bigger picture. 82% of workers in businesses with a strong sense of purpose believe their organisation will develop over the next 12 months. A company’s values become the consistent guiding principles supporting a purpose or long term goal, by mapping the course to success.

Core values define the expected behaviours within an organisation, so exceeding or meeting these standards should make up the criteria for recognition and reward. Of the 77% of companies that have a recognition program, only half tie it to these principles. By recognising the actions that reflect core values; what’s required to achieve becomes familiar and repeated.

Research outlines the motivators of engagement differ by country, but the only one driver constant across all nations is ‘commitment to company values.’ Offering a unique set of ‘rules’ gives employees something to collectively share in and belong to. A workplace that is motivated by its belief system will automatically have a competitive advantage in engaging and inspiring its staff.

Your values don’t have to stretch you as far as to offer free services, but don’t be short sighted about the negative impact of having none at all.

Image credit: Shutterstock.com
Sources: Deloitte Core Beliefs & Culture survey, Survey conducted by Society For Human Resource Management, Incentive Online, Employee Engagement: Maximizing Organizational Performance, Right Management