Corporate (or company) values. Odds are, you’re already familiar with the term – whether it’s a group of words featuring on a business’s website or incorporated into the slogan of your favourite brand’s ad campaign – they’re everywhere. A whopping 80% of the Fortune 100 publicly share their values. But how do organisations ensure that they don’t become little more than cosmetic window dressing? Is it possible to formulate and communicate corporate values in a way that motivates and rallies staff whilst informing wider audiences on what uniquely makes a brand tick?
Here are some common myths when it comes to living the values you claim to have:
1- ‘Creating corporate values will change behaviour ’
Many companies assume that the act of formulating and promoting a set of values will immediately lead to them being reflected in an organisation’s culture. This ‘top down’ approach often leads to cynicism and eventually indifference; frequently leaving said values redundant. A great way to tackle this is to consult broadly internally before settling on core values - find out what values staff prioritise, how they view the current culture and what they would like to aim for.
2- ‘We’ve finalised our values, job done’
Ideally, agreeing corporate values is just the start of a transformational journey, not the conclusion of one. Processes like strategy, rewards and performance management can all have values heavily woven into them to create robust consistency between actions and words. Think about the different ways you can embed values into the culture of your organisation. Interestingly, a comprehensive study based on 1,000 companies in the Great Places to Work database showed a strong correlation between corporate financial performance and the extent to which employees believe their company’s espoused values are practiced.
3- ‘It’s ok if our values overlap with other’s’
Corporate values should set your organisation apart from the wider marketplace, don’t settle on the obvious, often assumed values in business. For example, values like ethical, authentic and customer-orientated may all legitimately apply to your business, but in a competitive market, these traits will be assumed of any credible business and will not make you distinctive. Think about what makes your business different above and beyond what is taken for granted. Similarly, consider your industry - a fast-food restaurant that says it values speed is not saying anything different from any other fast-food restaurant.
Want to find out more about how SERIOUS PR can help bring your corporate values to life in a way that is unique to your brand and culture? Get in touch today