One of our guiding principles at Talentsoft is to encourage managers to seek input from a panel of employees to define our values jointly. In fact this is how we approached the process of managing our company’s move to new premises.
This collective thinking approach means that all staff are included in the decision-making process, with the aim of ensuring that the overall vision represents the very essence of the company. This also has the added advantage that employees buy into the values, thus avoiding the risk of potential disengagement.
Here are our top 5 tips for setting up a strong values system in the workplace:
- Keep to a maximum of 5 values – Aim for simplicity: values must be clear and specific
- Use phrases in preference to single words so that everyone understands the intended meaning
- Listen to employees to capture the very essence of the company
- Relate them to everyday situations: make the link between each value and the actions taken by the organisation
- Ensure that all managers are true ambassadors of these values
Values must be lived throughout the organisation and need to keep pace with its growth. They should be referenced regularly in a firm’s internal communications and serve as a compass for decision making. If a business expands, its values need to evolve simultaneously.
Corporate communications should promote values both internally and externally by means of concrete, visible and exemplary actions. The use of visual communication methods to illustrate a company’s core values helps to increase visibility and ensures they become embedded in the minds of its employees. Values need to be ever-present in many guises: wall art, on-screen displays, tags and other things to help reinforce the fact that they are not simply a collection of empty words but that they are a part of the corporate fabric and are alive throughout the organisation.
Values must also be underpinned by concrete actions. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an effective way for businesses to engage with the community and meet the increasing need expressed by employees to work in a “positive impact company”. CSR can also potentially offer opportunities to strengthen links within a firm’s ecosystem between customers, partners, service providers and other stakeholders.
To conclude, values must provide the answer to the following three key questions:
- What brings us together?
- What do we stand for?
- What can we achieve together?
The introduction of a set of core values must stem from a company’s desire to define their own identity and to live and breathe these values throughout their entire ecosystem. They are the best means of conveying a company’s vision. Ultimately, the decision to define a shared platform of core values as a guide is essentially a way of choosing who you want to be.
On a final note, here are a few examples of organisations which have had resounding success with their value definition initiatives:
- Fabernovel, a French think tank, doesn’t just have a great welcome pack, they also have highly pertinent values
- Google has an “About” page of news and stories with different sections and case studies