How (and why) to create company values in your business
Having been around businesses of all shapes and sizes for a while one of the things you often stumble across things like the Company Vision, Mission, Value Statements and Company Values.
Some of them are emblazoned in lights, handed to every employee in their induction, stamped on their business cards etc.
I know, yawn right?
Whilst there are probably a few people that perhaps do hang off every word and find them incredibly inspiring, it’s not many.
In my experience you are more than likely experiencing your eyes slowly glazing over as your head becomes heavy, your breathing slows…
OK, you get the drift.
Company value statements are normally bat-shit boring and most people can’t relate to them or pay them little attention.
This is why when I was visiting the office of Vocus Communications in Sydney a couple of weeks ago I reeled back in disbelief.
I actually found some company values that were written in plain English that some may even find offensive.
Personally, I loved them!
I loved them because they were brutally honest, they made sense to me as an employee and if I were a customer, I’d be equally pleased to see them!
The Vocus Group Company Values
If you are trouble reading them in the photo here they are:
Clever Company. No Muppets – We are awesome people with a great attitude, unleashed and empowered to do our job.
Don’t screw the customer – We put ourselves in the customers’ shoes. we make it easy to buy and easy to use.
Have a crack – We detest bureaucracy, we collaborate to find a smarter way, we take risks, we act decisively and we celebrate our wins.
Don’t be a d!@ckhead – We respect each other, we value relationships and we have the hard conversations.
Does creating and articulating the company values even matter?
D. Charles Galunic, INSEAD Professor of Organisational Behaviour published an article that explored if there was, in fact, any benefit whatsoever in articulating your company values.
In his paper, they examined Fortune 100 companies to determine if there was any impact against a range of criteria. I know you’re busy so the quick version is:
- Many of the values used by companies were largely the same but when companies did differentiate themselves from companies within the same industries, it had a positive effect on performance.
- You need to find a balance between the right amount of values. In very basic terms “a few more” was better than “a few less”. Just don’t overdo it!
Three tips on how to create company values for your business:
If you need to create company values (or update your existing ones) here are three tips to consider:
- Make the effort to articulate (all) the things that are core to you, and deal with the potential inconsistencies.
- Try to differentiate yourself from your marketplacenot just in your product qualities but also cultural features.
- Update your cultural values as the organisation and its marketplace evolves.
Read more of D. Charles Galunic’s article and if you’ve got some other great examples send them in or comment below.