Vision, Mission and Values form the trifecta that provide the compass for your organization and the essence you exude to customers, stakeholders and the community. Values by definition dictate what we deem important and filter how we act.
Values are your behavioral bedrock
The current climate demands more meaning and action from values today. People are increasingly aware of environmental, societal and ethical issues and are prepared to flex their purchasing power. They want to know the story behind the products they buy, including how they are made, who makes them, and the impact of their production and consumption.
At its most extreme, the rise of ‘cancel culture’ has witnessed massive boycotting of public figures and companies deemed to be at odds with customer values - cue Balenciaga and Kanye. And the younger generations are at the front of that picket line.
According to a study by Accenture, 62% of consumers globally want companies to take a stand on the social, cultural, environmental, and political issues that they care about .
What a company values in terms of how it behaves can set in motion a slipstream of positive momentum for the business and all who contribute to it. Once people resonate with what you stand for, they can engage and develop a bond with you and, at best, are proud to stand beside you.
Being values-led enables you to:
Discover your market
Clarify your brand objectives and tone of voice
Shape how your business is received.
"A strong company culture that is aligned with employee values can lead to greater job satisfaction, employee engagement, and retention"
The good news
Companies that are able to align their values with those of their target consumers can differentiate themselves in the marketplace and build a loyal customer base. This can be achieved through various means, such as promoting sustainability, social responsibility, and ethical business practices.
Employees can become a part of something bigger than themselves and make a positive impact in the world. They are happy to work for companies that share their values, such as social responsibility, environmental sustainability, and ethical business practices.
We can all tell the story of the brand. Go back 60 years and what “a brand” meant to most people was a catchy name, a colorful logo and a one-way message from corporate to consumer. Today, it’s more about what others say about upholding stated principles (issues reported on social media), and what they are like to work for (Glassdoor).
5 SUREFIRE WAYS TO BRING YOUR GOOD SOUL VALUES TO LIFE
1. Make Values a Win-Win-Win
Potent values that capture the goodness of a business deliver a triple-line profit:
For employees - it offers authentic power and reaffirms their belonging to the cause
For the business - it draws on common passion and clarity to drive productivity forward
For the community - it shares the story of what the business is about and how it contributes
2. Anoint employees as ambassadors
Hire on values. How you behave and what you believe sits close to the heart and should provide the guide rails for your recruitment and onboarding process. Treat employees like customer number one, raving fan number one.
Tangible examples of how things are done around here and what behaviors are upheld as exemplary help employees become a walking, talking advertisement for the business. Brands that include an exercise of mapping how personal values play into company values during induction enjoy the greatest proactive engagement in work and loyalty.
54% of respondents who didn’t know their company’s core values reported being engaged while 88% of those that did know the core values reported engagement
3. Bleed your brand
Stitch your values into every touch point of your business be they daily, monthly, quarterly or annual practices.
Check they are 100% representative of who you are today and who you strive to be tomorrow. If not, go through the companywide exercise of defining these with an expert and building them back into your story. Less is more and all staff need to have a voice in the process.
Socialize them powerfully through storytelling alongside Vision and Mission with your staff and stakeholders. Illuminate what you want to see more of. They may appear as word walls, footers on company letter-head, fun expressions in the lunchroom, included in monthly check ins with your manager, highlighted in staff meetings, and awards ceremonies.
Create consistent messaging across all channels. Your values act as a filter for everything to pass through from your top-line brand messaging to social media posts and annual reports. They must live everywhere.
4. Wear your soul on your sleeve
Lead by example and make the intangible, tangible. Values that are seen and felt in the business as part of day-to-day operations and tangible nudges become self-fulfilling.
We are an equal employer
Is this visible at the top table and in other tiers in the business?
Are there specific initiatives in the People Plan to welcome all groups?
Are there ‘Lunch and Learns’ to upskill all staff in understanding diversity?
• We believe the customer is always right
Do you hire friendly solutions-based staff?
Do you showcase examples of great customer experience demonstrating this?
Do you continuously train all staff in resolving customer painpoints?
• We lead with transparency
Do you share the financials and performance at the weekly staff meetings?
Do you facilitate regular performance reviews and signpost how to get a raise?
Do you train staff in conflict resolution to resolve all issues out in the open
5. Make meaning in the world
Casting what you value into community efforts, known as corporate social responsibility (CSR), such as supporting charitable causes or reducing their environmental impact is another tangible way to express what you deem to be important.
Choose initiatives wisely to align with what resonates deeply with the business - if you believe in saving the planet - tree-planting efforts in Africa may hit. If you are invested in local youth - supporting homeless teenagers to get off the street may be the go. Both are noble causes, but tackle different issues and radiate a particular message about your brand values.
Well executed values are lightning in a bottle. Harness it to do the most good in the world.