Core company values are like Siya Kolisi, Captain America, Monica from Friends and Nenna from Egoli - it's the glue that binds. Without these pivotal characters, the stories would fall apart. Yes, Faf is flippin fantastic, Iron man has the big bucks, Rachel was the hot one and no-one has ever rocked a suit as hard as Chris Edwards, but when you look deeper they are not the characters that lie at the heart of their respective fictional universes and real-life, ass-kicking rugby teams - that honour goes to the folks who run through the narrative of their realities like a golden thread, tying it all together.
The same thing goes for core company values, especially at times of great upheaval and rapid change.
Here are a few important reasons why you should focus on (and possibly reevaluate) your company values at this trying time in the local and global economy:
1. It provides a roadmap for employee decision-making
When your employees know what your business stands for, they have a roadmap guiding their actions and decisions. By plotting out your vision, mission and goals clearly, you make it far simpler to colour inside the lines and contribute to your business in a positive way at the hand of a fixed moral and operational compass.
For instance, Shell South Africa's core values are honesty, integrity and respect for people, while Business Partners lists theirs as entrepreneurial spirit, economic merit, integrity and service excellence, and TransUnion strives to think like a customer, make a difference, hold themselves accountable, engage in direct communication, innovate and inspire, act decisively and get things done.
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2. It serves as a benchmark for internal communications
Your internal communication style forms a vital part of your company culture and can either serve to increase employee satisfaction or have a negative impact on it. When your core company values aren't clearly defined, communication is likely to be unclear and inconsistent, which can easily lead to confusion. On the other hand, if your management team and upper echelons are aligned according to the same set of clearly defined values, they will speak from the same mouth and underline the same guiding principles in all of their communications to their respective teams.
3. There's a direct correlation between company values and employee engagement
Did you know that highly engaged teams show a 21% greater profitability when compared to their less engaged competitors and that for every 1% increase in employee engagement, you can expect to see an additional 0.6% growth in sales for an organisation? In fact, companies with highly engaged employees outperform their competitors by 147%! Those are some very convincing numbers right there.
When you are able to explain your core values to your team in a way that's simple to understand and defined enough to implement with ease, they are able to work harder to reach your all-important company goals while simultaneously working towards their own - the very definition of engagement.
4. It tells your customers what your business is about
Company values lie at the heart of your brand and let your customers know what you stand for. As such, it can give you a competitive edge, or it can leave you in the dust of your competitors. By managing a relationship with your clientele at the hand of shared values, you are laying the groundwork for a lifelong journey instead of a quick stopover. It also helps to attract the 'right kind' of customers - when your values are in alignment with those of the people with whom you do business, it's far simpler to keep everyone happy and generate some invaluable word of mouth advertising at the same time.
5. The right company values attract suitable talent
Attracting and retaining the right type of employee is vital if you want to drive innovation and keep your company nimble enough to roll with the punches of a changing economy. It all starts with the way you portray yourself. Companies like Microsoft, Vodacom Group Limited, Accenture (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd and the rest of the businesses that have been named as Africa's Top Employers for 2020 by the Top Employers Institute understand this notion all too well.
- Microsoft's core values are listed as innovation, trustworthy computing, diversity and inclusion, corporate social responsibility, philanthropies, and environment.
- Vodacom Group values pace, energy, simplicity, reliability, honesty, transformation and diversity.
- Accenture seeks to innovate with integrity by using their understanding of technology and its impact on people to develop inclusive, responsible and sustainable solutions to complex business and societal challenges.
It makes a lot of sense when you think about core company values this way, right?
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