When's the Last Time You Looked at Your Corporate Values?

By taking the time to determine which corporate values resonate with your business and then implementing them into your day-to-day, you can create a strong company culture.

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It's no secret that corporate values are important. In fact, they're one of the most crucial components of any organization. But what are corporate values, exactly? And why are they so important? In this article, we'll discuss the importance of corporate values and how to create them for your own company. We'll also take a look at the impact corporate values have on an organization and some of the benefits of having them in place.

What Are Corporate Values?

Corporate values are a set of guiding principles that dictate how an organization behaves and interacts with its employees, customers and the community. Identifying and developing values for your own company can have a tremendous impact on your organization's ability to grow, scale and retain incredible talent. Values are essentially a company's "code of ethics" and serve as a roadmap for decision-making. While corporate values can vary from company to company, there are typically a few key values that are common to most organizations. These might include things like integrity, respect, innovation, and accountability.

Why Are They Important?

Corporate values are important because they provide a clear set of guidelines for decision-making within an organization and are the fundamental beliefs of an organization. For example, if your corporate value is respect, then you'll want to make sure that all employees understand and respect one another. This can help to create a positive and productive work environment. Corporate values can also help to foster trust. And when corporate values are aligned with the company's mission and goals, it can lead to increased success and profitability.

How to Create Corporate Values

When it comes to corporate values, there's no one-size-fits-all approach. However, here are a few tips for getting started:

• First, it's important to know that creating, refining, and refreshing your values is not an exercise that should be led by one person from your marketing team. Values also aren't best established by a single person behind a curtain like the Wizard of Oz and then dictated to the entire company. It's a group project and corporate event. Having engagement and buy-in from people throughout your entire organization is essential — all types, all roles, all pay grades — and not only is it great to get consensus, but it's also vital to have a wall to lean on when it comes to making tough decisions.

• Identify the core beliefs of your organization and align them with corporate values. Shoot for 5-7 values. While it's okay to have less and more, I think having values you truly believe in is more important than quantity. For example, if you believe that respect is important in an organization, then make sure this value is reflected in your corporate values.

• Get feedback from all employees on what corporate values they feel are important to the organization. While you may have a core team responsible for creating and implementing, making sure you give all employees access to sharing their thoughts ensures you create a true values system.

• Everyone wants to be heard — so when you seek feedback, try a variety of formats. A social campaign, surveys, interviews or even focus groups if you have enough time and resources available will make this a true employee-centric initiative.

• Once you've identified corporate values that align with your company's beliefs and goals, make them exciting and something people would want to get behind. Create a personality around them. Then, go beyond just listing them in order of importance — add them to your website, create a social campaign sharing them, establish an internal communication cadence to reinforce.

• Your values are only as important as you make them — so all the effort you invest in branding them also makes sure that all employees are familiar with the corporate values and how they should be applied in their day-to-day work.

The Impact of Corporate Values

So, what impact do corporate values have on an organization? Your values are your organization! When there's alignment between what you say and do, I've found it's easier to attract and retain top talent. People are everything in business, and when you have the best people who believe in your mission and vision, it can lead to increased success and profitability. But above all, your values help foster trust between employees, customers and the community. This can have a positive impact on your business as well as those around you!

Lasting Benefits to Your Organization

The impact goes far deeper as well. Values also help employees make decisions by providing guidance on how your company expects them to behave in certain situations. They provide a roadmap for decision-making by providing clear guidelines on what is acceptable behavior within an organization and what isn't.

By taking the time to determine which corporate values resonate with your business and then implementing them into your day-to-day, you can create a strong company culture. Think about it — what are some of the core values that matter most to you and your team? How are you living these values daily? How are they shared across your organization?

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