How to create a company culture that illustrates your core value
Business values can heavily influence your brand identity and how outsiders view your company. It is therefore imperative that a company has very firm values and the same are embodied in all aspects of their business.
Let’s begin with a quick recap of what we know about values. Values are individual belief systems that motivate people to act one way or another. They serve as a guide for human behavior. Generally, people are predisposed to adopt the values that they are raised with. Ethical decision-making often involves weighing values against each other and choosing which values to elevate. Conflicts can result when people have different values, leading to a clash of preferences and priorities. Some values have intrinsic worth, such as love, truth, and freedom. Other values, such as ambition, responsibility, and courage, describe traits or behaviors that are instrumental as means to an end.
As an individual, values essentially serve as a guide to growth and development. They help us create the future we want to experience. Much like individuals, organizations also need values directed towards a specific purpose, be it growth, development or business success. These cannot be attained in the absence of a strong value based organizational culture that embodies it’s core values.
A strong value based work culture is a precursor to business success
Organisations are involved in making hundreds of decisions every day. The decisions they make are a reflection of their values and beliefs, and they are always directed towards a specific purpose. That purpose is the satisfaction of organizational needs. Organizational values reflect how your organization operates in the business world. Successful organizations develop and follow their organizational values.
For instance – Walt Disney; it is not just among the most recognizable brands in the world, they also are the kindest community on the planet. A brand which is almost synonymous with magic, Disney extends the magical experience even to its employees as a part of the company’s culture. (quoted from surveysparrow blog-7 Fabulous Organizational Culture Examples You Can Learn From!)
What Sets Them Apart: Unparalleled heritage, pride and culture, wonderful community, amazing growth opportunity, and a creative atmosphere sets them apart, says a Disney employee. Disney only hires people who align with what their brand stands for. The organizational benefits of being a Disney employee include access to Mickey’s Retreat (an exclusive area accessible only to Cast Members and their families), generous discounts on Disney parks, hotels and merchandise, incentive schemes and private healthcare.
Takeaway: Disney strives to make every place the happiest place to work and is compassionate towards each other. People can tell when their company cares for them and in Disney’s case, employees care back!
It was Peter Drucker who famously said that ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’. No Kidding. A work culture can absolutely be the deal breaker or the decisive factor when it comes to defining a company’s success.Great company culture just doesn’t happen overnight on it’s own. It’s more than mere fun and games. It goes beyond inspirational quotes and artwork chalked onto the pillars or glowing customer recommendations lining the walls and bean bags scattered across the floor. All that is great and makes work more pleasant, but it does not change the core of who you are as a company. A great work culture is more than just paychecks, fun and perks.
How to create a culture around your core values
Company culture is a difficult to put in words but it is synonymous with your business environment. A good company culture takes years to develop, but there are some steps that you can take today to set this plan in motion
I. Pin Down your core values:
Alright! First things first, you need strong core values to set up the base for your company’s culture. Your core values need to be established and ingrained in your company if you are to have a successful company culture. If your core values are not defined, there will be no culture. In the absence of a defined culture, organizations usually form their own culture, which is not based on values and best practices . This can be detrimental to the business image in the long run.
“When I began my startup, I did not have any set values. Personally yes, I had a set of values I operated upon, but however it didn’t seem necessary to establish company values at such an early stage. Eventually my business grew and so did my team. I now started seeing the challenge of encouraging the team to take decisions, based on the values I personally embody as guidelines.This became an even bigger challenge with employees who operated remotely. I finally realized the importance of having set company values. However, I kept putting it off since I didn’t know where to begin. But once I sat to actually pen down Moneyjar’s values, it didn’t take more than 15 mins” – Rohan Agarwal (Co-Founder Moneyjar)
To create your business values, think about your personal values, business objectives and align them to match it with your workforce potential. See which value based decisions have kept you on your growth track and which have helped your employees perform better. Keep the ones that serve your indicators of success and match the goals you have chalked out for your business. A quick search on google with also reveal a great set of values you can imbibe. Go ahead if that suits you, however remember your values must be tailor made and should not be more than 3-4 in number.
II. Identify behaviors that demonstrate these values:
Once you have nailed down your core values, you must bring it into action. Sometimes organizations may be operating under unspoken core values, communicate them formally to the workforce and practice it daily. Daily reinforcement is the best way to form a habit. Identify touch points to remind them of these values. Everyday things like setting business hours, determining employee benefits and internal communication with employees, reflects your culture. So, ingrain your values in these decisions from the start.
Establish Key Behavioral Indicators that demonstrate your core values. For instance If you are a customer service based company which has adopted “Going the extra mile to achieve customer satisfaction” as a core value, your employees must embody the same value and must be willing to go that extra mile whenever the opportune moment surfaces.
For example, you have probably heard of the Ritz-Carlton, a hotel chain known for their great customer service. On one particular visit, a mother together with her two children had spent a few days there on vacation, and when they got back home, her son discovered that his beloved stuffed giraffe, Joshie, had gone missing. The boy was devastated, so his parents decided to tell him that “Joshie is just taking an extra long vacation at the resort.” This conversation was overheard an attendant at the front desk and he took it upon himself to ensure they leave happy. That very same night, the Ritz-Carlton called to tell them that they found Joshie. The relieved parents asked if the staff would mind taking a picture of the giraffe at the hotel to authenticate a fabricated “long vacation” story. After a couple days, the parents received a package with Joshie and a bunch of pictures that proved Joshie’s prolonged holiday. (quoted from Brand24 blog)
Organizational culture depends largely upon the behavior of it’s employees. So you must ensure that employees behave in a fashion that resonates your core values. Not just existing employees, but even new hires should be done keeping in mind the core values, so it becomes easier to integrate them into the organizational setup. Many companies have started carrying out interview with a culture fitment angle to ensure the right candidate is hired.
iii. Induct all employees into the values:
When bringing on new employees or when you update your company values, don’t skip on boarding and training. These are great opportunities for you to set the tone. Talking about your core values periodically can also help you to implement them in your corporate culture. You can send out monthly newsletters that showcase employees who are successful in following your business’s values. Also, you can bring up core values in goals meetings and determine whether you are reaching goals., You can discuss core values during employee performance reviews. Don’t let them get cozy in the corner of your small business. Frame them and hang them on the wall for employees and customers to see. Post them on your website, on your social media pages, and on any other digital front you can.
Many companies proudly display their core values on video walls or television screens in the frontal view of the office, to ensure both employees and customers understand them. Customers/ employees can get an idea of what the organization’s culture will be like basis the values displayed and take decisions accordingly.
IV. Reward employees when they act as per the desired behavior:
So the values are set, the employees are inducted and business is great! It’s no wonder these thoroughly thought out core values worked like a charm. If you’re thinking you’ve created your business Utopia, think again! Is it enough to just establish a successful culture? Employee Recognition plays an important role when it comes to building a company culture. Once the values are set and let’s say employees strive to adhere to them,then as an organization, it becomes your responsibility to recognize these efforts and reward these behaviors.
These values help gauge the performance of employees and recognize their efforts in order to keep them engaged. Acknowledging and rewarding value based behavior encourages the employee to perpetuate this behavior throughout his/her tenure with the organization. When these behaviors are rewarded it creates an emotional connect between the employee and company and they achieve a state of synergy and eventually attain employee engagement.
In today’s day and time, employee recognition can be also done digitally which also allows business owners to track individual performance and measure it against core values and reward employees. Such unique platforms provide superior employee engagement, not just among superiors and subordinates but also enhance peer-to-peer engagement. For instance, Let’s Buzzz platform allows peer-to-peer employee appreciation model, where employees across departments and ranks appreciate and recognize fellow employees for demonstrating certain behaviors by buzzing about it and thereby creating a chain reaction of acknowledgement and occasionally nudging whenever a core value is displayed, which in turn leads to driving a value based culture. Core values are beliefs your business must follow in all aspects of it operations, be it marketing, human resources, administration and finance. They guide decision-making and define what your business stands for. But, if you and your employees fail to uphold your core values, you could face bemused or disappointed customers.