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Crafting and Cultivating Core Values


In an era where businesses are defined by more than just their products or services, the importance of having well-defined core values cannot be overstated. Recent data from renowned publications and companies such as The New York Times and Deloitte underscores the critical role core values play in shaping organizational culture, driving employee engagement, and fostering lasting relationships with clients.


Why Core Values Matter


Core values are like cultural North Stars for your company. They're not just words; they're the guiding principles that shape your workplace culture. These values set the tone for how your team interacts and makes decisions. Research from Deloitte's Global Human Capital Trends report highlights that organizations with a clear sense of purpose and strong values tend to outperform their peers.



Furthermore, core values play a crucial role in employee alignment. Recent studies have shown that when employees resonate with their company's values, they become more engaged and satisfied with their work. This alignment isn't just a feel-good factor; it translates into increased productivity and lower turnover rates.


Additionally, core values also have a significant impact on client trust. Clients prefer doing business with companies that share their values. When your values align with those of your clients, it creates transparency and a solid foundation for long-term client relationships. Building trust through shared values can be a key driver of success for your business.


The Consequences of Neglecting Core Values


Failure to establish and uphold core values can lead to a range of negative consequences. These repercussions extend to various aspects of the company's operations and relationships, emphasizing the critical importance of having well-defined core values.


One of the primary consequences of overlooking core values is the potential for cultural misalignment within the organization. Core values serve as the moral compass, and guiding principles that define a company's culture. When these values are unclear or nonexistent, the organizational culture can become fragmented. This fragmentation can manifest in confusion among employees regarding the company's identity and purpose, internal conflicts arising from differing perspectives, and inconsistent decision-making processes. In essence, without a unifying set of core values, the organization may struggle to maintain a cohesive and harmonious work environment.


Additionally, disconnected employees can be a significant fallout of neglecting core values. When employees do not feel a sense of alignment with the company's values, they may lack the motivation to invest themselves fully in their work. This disengagement can lead to decreased productivity, as employees may not be as committed to achieving the company's goals. Moreover, it can result in increased absenteeism, as employees may not find their work meaningful or fulfilling. High turnover rates are also a common consequence, as disengaged employees are more likely to seek employment elsewhere, leading to recruitment and training costs and the loss of institutional knowledge.


Lastly, the repercussions of disregarding core values extend beyond the internal workings of a company to affect external relationships, particularly with clients. When core values are absent or ambiguous, clients become uncertain about the company's intentions and reliability. Trust, a cornerstone of successful client relationships, can erode. Clients who are given inconsistent experiences from individuals within the same company will hesitate to engage with or continue doing business with the company, fearing potential inconsistencies or unreliability. This can result in lost business opportunities, damaged reputations, and a tarnished brand image, all of which can have long-lasting and profound consequences for the organization's growth and success.


Creating and Sharing Core Values


#1 Leadership Involvement


The process of crafting core values should involve leaders and employees alike. Collaborative discussions ensure that values are representative of the entire organization. One exercise we enjoy facilitating if you are just starting to create your Core Values goes as follows:

  • Have your team brain-dump all the values they believe make any company great

  • Put all the above values into buckets with similar values (Trust, Honesty, Intergrity would all go together)

  • Narrow down your top 3-6 Value buckets

  • Identify the key phrase to describe each bucket - these are your Core Values! *Take your time for this last step, because Core Values are meant to be stable pillars, not everchanging.


#2 Alignment with Vision and Mission


Your core values should align with your company's vision and mission statements. They should be concise, memorable, and actionable.

#3 Transparency


Now that we have Core Values, make sure they don't end up in a dusty file cabinet.


Make your core values accessible to all employees and clients. Post them prominently on your website, in your office, future job posts, and include them in employee onboarding materials.


#4 Living the Values


Encourage employees to embody your core values in their daily work. Recognize and reward behaviors that align with these values. Websites like Bonus.ly support systems that help motivate, recognize, and track these team members based on how well-aligned with your Core Values.

#5 Client Engagement


Communicate your core values to clients through marketing materials, conversations, and interactions. Show them how your values guide your approach to business. A client of ours now executes Core Value campaigns once a year, with each social post highlighting individual Values. They share what it is, what it means to their team members, and the impact it has on how they conduct business.


Keeping Core Values Top of Mind


Now that you've set your core values and made sure your team knows about them, it's crucial to put in place ways to keep these values important in your company's everyday work.


"You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems." - James Clear

Here are four important ways to do that:


  1. Regular Communication: Continuously reinforce your core values through internal communications, such as newsletters, meetings, and workshops.

  2. Training and Development: Incorporate core values into employee training and development programs to ensure they remain ingrained in your company's culture.

  3. Leadership Modeling: Leaders should set the example by demonstrating core values in their actions and decisions, reinforcing their importance to the organization.

  4. Feedback Loops: Create mechanisms to evaluate employees based on how well they embody each Core Value. These can easily be added to existing employee evaluations and will provide an opportunity for feedback and a space to strategize ways to improve.


In conclusion, core values are the foundation upon which successful companies are built. By carefully crafting, sharing, and consistently upholding core values, business leaders can drive their organizations toward long-term success, trust, and sustainability in an ever-evolving world of commerce.


Fill out the form below for a free consultation and additional support to narrow down your company's Core Values!


 

MAYA ISHARANI

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