Effective values and your business

Are traditional values like honesty, integrity and innovation really effective for businesses? We’ll let you be the judge!

Don’t just throw these phrases around as core company values just because everyone else is doing it. Take a closer look to see if they’re actually beneficial.

Read on to get our perspective – and feel free to disagree with us completely after learning more about why we think certain popular virtues may not have much of an impact in today’s environment.

Values need to hold meaning

Over the years, businesses have placed a lot of emphasis on having values to showcase their trustworthiness. But let’s be honest – if a company just said they were “honest” without actually showing it through visible behaviour and actions, would that really sway you as a potential customer? The power lies much more in illustrating one’s principles rather than simply listing them off! For example they want to see a company that actually tells their customers the truth, even when it’s hard.

It is the actions that a company takes working with their customers that shows whether they feel these values. Now don’t get me wrong – of course a company should be honest, have integrity and innovate, or they die. But it’s not words that people are looking for when they evaluate a company. They want to see values that describe what behaviour their customers can expect.

So aim for values that have some meaning to your potential customers. These are values that can be put into practice – which brings us to our next point.

Effective Values must be actionable and measurable

A company’s values must be more than just words on a website. To be effective values they need to be part of an actionable ethos that guide the way your team works. After all, actions speak louder than words. You can’t just say to someone, “can you go over there and be innovative please”. There needs to be an action assigned to the idea of being innovative. Some thing like “we need to improve benefit a without hurting benefit b” would communicate more meaning.

So think in terms of what job tasks can you assign to help embody your company’s values? Try to systemise these values to form the core of your business operations. Try to think about effective values with an action and a result. For example – “we are responsive” would be an effective value for a customer service offering. How many emails are the team responsible for? How fast do they respond to emails? What time is taken on average to resolve customer issues?

Company values should provide a means by which you can communicate the standards you’ve set to both your team and customers.

It’s one thing to say that you value honesty, or integrity or innovation, but it’s another thing entirely to practice those values on a daily basis. By benchmarking your team’s performance on your values, you can make it clear what the required standards and performance outcomes are. This way, everyone is on the same page and knows what they need to do in order to uphold the company’s values.

What’s more, being able to measure performance on company values ensures that your team is actually living up to your expectations. This is where your values can bind your people to your customers directly.

Values need to link your team directly to your customers

Your company values need to be the actionable link between your team and your customers. Values need to be the glue that holds your customers to your business. If you connect your team with your customers on a values level, you will create loyal customers that will come back again and again. It will also create a platform of trust that will attract new customers. Combining these two aspects together will generate growth for your business.

Vague statements like we have integrity are difficult for your team to display quickly. They don’t really communicate the actions that a customer can expect your team to take when dealing with their needs. Instead, connect your values, team and customers by communicating values that are aligned and that everyone can understand and resonate with. This way, you create a relationship based on shared values rather than just transactions, and that will lead to lasting success.

So to conclude this article, your company values need to be clear statements about how you will behave as a business and the actions that will demonstrate your commitment to those values. They should be principles that can guide your systems and processes, as well as help you decide who you want in your business. Most importantly, they need to offer something of value to your customers and give them confidence when working with your company. If you want to find out more about developing effective values for your business, hit the contact button below.

All the best,

Adam Walsh – Values-based Talent Specialist


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