How to Develop Company Values That Resonate With Your Employees
Slapping some values together only to have them sit on an office wall or web page without thinking about them again for a couple of years isn’t exactly what you’ve been reading about. In fact, having values written out without incorporating them into the day-to-day of the company could be worse...
At this point, you’ve probably already read a bunch of management articles declaring, “Every successful company has a set of company values!” Or “5 Reasons You Need Company Values” Or even, “100 Brilliant Examples of Company Values, and How to Get Yours.” While these kinds of articles are often just a starting point, this kind of pressure can push companies to rush the process. Slapping some values together only to have them sit on an office wall or web page without thinking about them again for a couple of years isn’t exactly what you’ve been reading about.
In fact, having values written out without incorporating them into the day-to-day of the company could be worse than not having them at all.
But how do you make sure your values will have a lasting impact and integrate well into your team’s daily work life?
Firstly, pick values that actually describe your company
There’s no point in choosing vague company values that could describe anyone. Words like integrity, respect, determination, and teamwork may initially feel quite descriptive and aspirational but are often overused, which makes it difficult for a team to identify and therefore want to take ownership.
As a company, Shield really identifies with the act of empathy. It was even one of our initial values before our latest rollout. However, as we began to workshop our core beliefs and solidify our terminology we realized what we were really getting at was ‘humanness.’ Now, one of our four core values is ‘Be Human’ which encompasses a whole host of terms we identify with, including empathy for ourselves and others, understanding our limitations as well as striving for connection and a human touch.
It might not seem like a big difference, but to our team “Be Human” describes more accurately who we are than empathy and it’s, therefore, more likely to continue to be expressed on all levels as well as encouraged and called out when we see it.
Include your team in the development of the values
One of the first projects I was involved with when I joined Shield nearly two years ago was the rollout of our company values. Our HR team, Tim (our co-founder) and Stella had already been working hard, defining what the values might be, and I was brought on to create the accompanying content. The idea was to present the finalized values to our whole team at our company retreat (back when we could still do that) and have something that could remain evergreen on our website...read more
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