Over 60% of companies on the Fortune 500 list have established a set of core values while 100% of them have a Vision and/or Mission statement, for good reason. As Former Chairman/CEO of GE, Jack Welch puts it, “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.”
But how does a company articulate, own and drive a vision with a diverse group of dedicated employees? Akraya understands, as most of the Fortune 500 companies do, that a defined set of core values can transcend cultural boundaries and instill a sense of purpose.
Core values both define and refine a company’s culture. It is not necessary to have core values in place the day you open for business because ideally, core values should be created once a culture is already well-established. Core values align most strongly with employee values, so it is highly recommended that employees be included in the development.
Now that we know why core values are important and how to design them, here are some other ways that core values have been proven to augment day-to-day business:
Core values aid in making tough business decisions, from choosing an appropriate CRM system to establishing accounting procedures. When making a big decision for the company, the core values can be used as a checklist to ensure that the result will properly align with the company culture.
Employee Retention and Filtering
Company core values tell both current and potential employees what kind of business practices are most important to the company. Established core values increase employee retention by setting work ethic standards, priorities and expectations of how employees should conduct themselves. The values provide a better relationship between employees and the company, which increases job satisfaction. Core values also paint a picture for potential employees, enabling HR to filter out those whose personal values don’t align with the company values, resulting in better quality hires.
Customer and Client Alignment
Core values are simplified statements of the ethical traits a company finds most important. They demonstrate to present and future clients that an alignment of ethics exist between them. What if a company’s values are not identical to their customers’? Never fear. The fact that a business has a set of standards that establish accountability speaks volumes alone.
While already rich in culture, after 14 years in business, Akraya, Inc. has recently put into writing the company core values. Akraya has defined five core values:
• Social Stewardship
To demonstrate ownership of the Akraya core values on an individual level, the employees produced a video defining what each core value means. This video was made entirely in-house by Akrayans, for Akrayans.
Establishing core values based on the company culture will help augment any business. They define the decision making process, assist with employee retention and align the company with its customers. If a business has experienced a few years of steady growth, it’s an excellent time to open discussions with employees about what the company culture means to them.