Most business owners know the importance of creating company values, a topic we have discussed on our blog as well.
However, drafting a list of values is only the beginning. The next step is to implement them, and to make sure that these values make a real impact. Your business can only benefit from your values when they become part of how your employees do their work every day in the organization.
In today’s blog post, we discuss how you can implement and execute your core values.
Create a Process (and Follow It)
You cannot (and should) not develop your core values overnight. Ideally, creating values should be a process where you identify, filter, and introduce ideas in your business gradually.
Values can be instilled top down from the leadership, or take root within the workforce, or a combination of these factors. However, execution of the core values has to start at the top. All strategic decision-makers have to take the initiative.
Give It Time
Since your core values will become your business identity, you need to give them time to permeate the root levels of the organization. This is not something that you can achieve with a single meeting, but requires some reflection, especially if your values go beyond profits, performance, and growth. Ideally, you need to conduct meetings over several months with the leadership present to communicate your core values. Among other things, this also helps employees to take not just verbal, but also behavioral clues from the leadership and understand the importance of core values.
Consider the Practicality
When creating values, it’s natural to become idealistic. But you also need to realize the practically of those values. All core values shouldn’t be created just to define who are as a business; you also need to think about how the values can be integrated into company policies and procedures.
One example is recruitment. Your HR team can screen candidates not just for skill level, but also on their ability to embody your core values. And candidates who buy into your values even before they start working will ultimately impact your profits as well. Just consider the implications on factors like retention and job satisfaction.
Likewise, you can evaluate your current employees according to company values (in addition to their job-related metrics), and also encourage managers to have conversations that focus on values during performance evaluations.
Finally, your corporate values should be steeped in the daily affairs of the company.
At Hartman, one of our values is to care about our customers. In 2008, during critical periods of Hurricane Ike, we had our people stationed at virtually every property in our Houston portfolio to preempt and rectify property damage. During this time, none of our employees asked for compensation. On the contrary, they pooled $2,000 of their own cash to protect the company’s assets. As a result, we ended up saving approximately $1,200,000 in repairs by taking such prompt corrective action.
This is the impact of corporate values, rightly implemented.