Core values connect your employees and customers to your business. This creates a strong company culture that leads to improved business performance.
Like most corporate buzzwords, companies know that they need to apply ‘core values’ during hiring, promotion, and talent retention. But before doing this, you need to understand what core values are.
Core Values in Your Organizations
Values are critical for any company as they connect people with the organization and its mission and vision. Employees become empowered to look behind the task at hand, and connect their work with the values of the company.
So how can you go about creating core values in line with the needs of your organization and its culture? Here are two effective ways:
Follow the Leader
While core values should be put in writing after the company has spent some years in business, many small businesses and startups don’t have this luxury. In such cases, the values of the CEO naturally become company values. So if you’re launching a new company, look within you to find the values you want reflected in your business.
Of course, this can also occur in big businesses with highly visible leaders. For example, at Hartman, one of core values is to “honor God in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with biblical principles.” And this springs forth directly from the faith and ministry of our CEO, Allen R. Hartman who despite being a successful businessman is heavily involved in pastoral work in the US and India.
Consult your MVPs
While it’s OK to take a cue from the CEO when developing business values, this process is meaningless without employee input. So gather your Most Valued Players (MVPs), and see what values they already exhibit in order to make your business operational and successful.
You will be surprised to see that culture often drives business success in ways that strategy alone cannot, and with the right values, companies can improve their performance by hiring and retaining the right kind of talent.
So when you look at your core employees, think about what makes these people so valuable to your company, and what specific skills and traits they exhibit. When you drill these down, you come up with a list of competencies and qualities that offer real value for your organization.
You then take these traits (leadership, interpersonal skills, customer care etc.), and create values for your company.
Values have definitely helped Hartman hire and retain the best talent. Conversely, our employees have helped defined our core values.
A recent example of this process in play is our current Chief Information Officer, Daniel Robinson. Daniel started at the company in 2002 as an administrative assistant and has worked his way up. Daniel exhibited strong leadership and problem solving skills early on in his career, and as a result we gave him a defined career path to advance and succeed. Along the way we’ve exposed him to training and access to some of the brightest minds in the field.
This falls in line with another of our core values that “the growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.”
To sum up, having core values offers a great payoff if you leverage them to create your company culture.