Create Core Values That Will Strengthen Your Business

January 14th, 2016 by
Rick Washburn

Rick Washburn, A&R Manager

In today’s post, Advice & Resolution Manager Rick Washburn shares helpful tips for businesses looking to create core values that will put them on the track to creating a better and more intentional workplace.

A company’s personality is comprised of core values that guide the way employees’ think, feel, act, and perform. A company’s core values also directly impact the decisions and actions of the organization.  This can be an extremely powerful enabler or derailer of a company’s business  results.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Volkswagen blamed their damaging emissions crisis on a chain of mistakes and a “culture of tolerance for rule-breaking” that allowed deception to continue within the organization for many years.  Engineers deceitfully added software to their cars that would lower nitrogen oxide emissions in its diesel engines after realizing that there was no legal way that engines would pass U.S. exhaust standards.  Volkswagen’s internal investigation revealed that parts of their organization had a “mindset that tolerated breaches of the rules.”   The consequences have been devastating:

  • Over a 4% decline in global sales within 30 days of the disclosure
  • A $3.85B loss in the 3rd quarter
  • Significant loss of customer loyalty and trust
  • The enormous cost of recalling and repairing 11 million cars world-wide

Does your organization have core values that define your culture?  Do they reflect the current desired state and the fabric of the organization?  What does the organization do to reinforce, “walk the talk,” and keep the core values alive and relevant?  What could be worse than when a company says it values one thing and does another.

Here are a few tips that HR leaders can use to formalize or revise their company’s values:

  1. Involve others in the establishment of company values. Gather input from employees, customers, and other key organizational stakeholders.
  2. Management must commit to the values. Commitment to values starts at the top. Leaders must take the company values into consideration when they make important decisions and refer to them when they explain why these decisions were made. Values should not be abandoned even in the face of economic crisis.
  3. Set realistic expectations. Management should communicate to employees that everyone should strive to act consistently with the values but that it may not always be possible. For example, there may be times when holding a meeting on a weekend is unavoidable and an exception must be made.
  4. Continuously monitor how well the organization lives up to its values. Management should consciously make time to regularly reassess the authenticity of its actions vs. its values. They should also survey employees to find out if they feel the organization is living up to its values.

For more information on core values, culture, and creating a better workplace, please call our our Advice & Resolution team at at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746. If you have any further tips for formalizing company values, we’d love to hear them – so let us hear your suggestions in the comments!

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