Be honest: Do you know what your company values are? Really?
If you can’t recite them off the top of your head, don’t feel too bad. Research has found that nearly half of the UKs employees can’t recite their employer’s values, whilst 52% don’t know what their company’s vision is, either.
It’s bad enough that many employees have no idea what their employer’s core values, but the same research also found that 1 in 5 employees didn’t feel their organisation’s values reflected what they were really like, whilst 27% of them felt their company values contained far too much corporate jargon.
In the greater scheme of things, your employees not knowing or engaging with your company’s values may not seem like an earth-shattering problem. However, whilst they may not be immediately visible or something tangible, they’re actually more important than you realise…
MUCH MORE THAN SKIN DEEP
The values of an organisation are its’ guiding principles, what it stands for and what it truly cares about – you could even argue they’re the real soul of the business. They have the power to impact every aspect of your organisation: From your sales and marketing strategies, to your brand identity, your customer service and even the products or services you provide.
They also have the power to support a positive workplace culture; and this is hugely important, because without a positive company culture, it’s unlikely you’ll succeed as a business.
When a company has a positive working culture, its’ people easily understand one another, are consistently working towards a shared objective or goal and building great working relationships along the way. Ideally, your company’s values should help support a consistent, positive company culture and your culture is dictated by your own values – basically, you can’t have one without the other!
This is why that little problem we mentioned earlier regarding employees not knowing their company’s values or sharing their vison can actually be a real headache – especially for businesses trying to improve productivity, growth, engagement… well, anything… really.
Your company’s values have the power to shape both the identity and potential destiny of your organisation. In fact, additional research into the subject discovered that of more than 1,000 firms in the Great Places to Work database, there were strong links between their financial performance and the degree to which employees believed their company’s values were being practiced.
So, whilst the vision and values of a business may seem like nothing more than a nice quote to put on a wall in your reception or on the ‘About Us’ section of a website, there’s actually a hell of a lot more to them than meets the eye!
OUR FAVOURITE COMPANY VALUES
If you’re looking to discover some examples of company values that successfully reflect the culture of a business, we’ve selected a few of our own favourites – why not take a look and compare how yours stack up?
Entering the travel sector as a total newbie is not for the feint of heart. The industry is fiercely competitive and littered with big names that, despite their global reputation and history, have fallen by the wayside or sunk into oblivion.
Airbnb however have bucked the trend and turned the hotel industry on its head in the process; all by essentially persuading strangers to sleep in one another’s homes! From three friends renting mattresses in their apartment to a $31 billion company in 13 short years… That’s quite a feat…
Their company core values reflect their modest routes and their desire to mould and shape the industry around them, including:
“No global movement springs from individuals. It takes an entire team united behind something big. Together, we work hard, we laugh a lot, we brainstorm nonstop, we use hundreds of Post-Its a week, and we give the best high-fives in town.”
Be A Host – Care for others and make them feel like they belong. Encourage others to participate to their fullest/ Listen, communicate openly and set clear expectations.
Champion the Mission – Prioritise work that advances the mission and positively impacts the community. Build with the long-term in mind. Actively participate in the community and culture.
Be A Cereal Entrepreneur – Be bold and apply original thinking. Imagine the ideal outcome. Be resourceful to make the outcome a reality
Embrace the Adventure – Be curious, ask for help, and demonstrate an ability to grow. Own and learn from mistakes. Bring joy and optimism to work
Sweden’s foremost flatpack specialists have been a regular fixture in the homes and high streets of Britain since 1987 and employ over 150,000 people worldwide.
IKEA are strong believers in togetherness and that shared values with their employees makes their workplace both unique successful, saying:
“Your values make you who you are. So do ours. If you'd like us to work together, you'll want to know what we're all about. Our shared values and strong culture make IKEA unique, both as a place to work and as a brand. In each and every IKEA unit you visit around the world, you find colleagues with the same IKEA values. And it's because we all share the same values that we can keep the IKEA culture a strong and living reality.”
Like Airbnb, Netflix has enjoyed a meteoric rise from simple film rental platform, to Oscar-baiting entertainment giant – and their company’s culture has played no small part…
Netflix aren’t fans of bureaucracy and have a strong focus on people over processes. In fact, their approach to thriving workplace cultures has led to them implementing some pretty bold employee engagement strategies; such as unlimited holidays and an expense policy that only asks people to ‘Act in Netflix’s best interests’.
They have 10 core values, which include our personal favourites:
Judgment – You identify root causes, and get beyond treating symptoms. You think strategically, and can articulate what you are, and are not, trying to do. You are good at using data to inform your intuition.
Courage – You say what you think, when it’s in the best interest of Netflix, even if it is uncomfortable. You are willing to be critical of the status quo. You question actions inconsistent with our values.
Inclusion – You collaborate effectively with people of diverse backgrounds and cultures. You nurture and embrace differing perspectives to make better decisions. You intervene if someone else is being marginalised.
Like the other companies in our list, Netflix’s bold approach to company values and engagement appears to be working: with 70% of their current and former employees recommending them on Glassdoor and a future which is looking very bright indeed.
No pun intended here, but let’s cut to the chase here with our next set of values from JPMorgan Chase, which really stand out to us:
- Exceptional client service
- Operational excellence
- A commitment to integrity, fairness and responsibility
- A great team and winning culture.
… And boom! That’s it. Straight to the point, clear, succinct. Whilst this may seem an odd choice when listed against our other favourites, let us explain why they make the list.
JPMorgan are a heavily results-driven business and helping their clients grow their own personal wealth. So, whilst the other organisations on our list focus primarily on the more people-orientated aspects of their work, JPMorgan make their modus operandi abundantly clear from the outset – no sugar coating, no BS.
If you’re in a purely results-driven business, this approach definitely makes sense.
Well, we had to, really…
Our business is all about improving the quality of life for everyone; so, our core values simply have to underpin everything we do. They include:
- Putting People First
- Experiences Over Products
- Big Agency Benefits, Small Agency Simplicity
If you’d like to know more about what makes us… us, just click here and get to know us a little better!