The importance of core values in the workplace
Core values are extremely important for any company, regardless of the size. For potential clients and prospective employees, they paint a picture of an organisation’s ethos. For existing employees, they help to shape a business, keep staff accountable and support company culture.
If your business doesn’t already have a solid set in place, it’s time to change that. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ll explain exactly why core values are important to a business, how to implement them, and how they can help raise your public profile.
What Are Core Values?
Core values form the foundations on which a business is built. To be upheld, they must be implemented across the entire business, known by employees, and referred to throughout the decision-making process. When used correctly, core values can provide numerous benefits to a company.
Common Core Values
Some common core corporate values include accountability, commitment, innovation, trust and respect. Each should aid the structure of a company and be demonstrated in daily operations and communications both internally and externally.
Seetec’s core values are adding value, aspirational, respect and transformation. All of our core values are deep-rooted within our company standards and influence a great deal of activity across the group, including recruitment, customer engagement and operating models.
What Makes an Effective Core Value?
An effective core value is one that stands the test of time. Different to a mission statement, it must come from the heart of the business and reflect the ethos a company is built upon. A value must also be implemented across all company policies and practised in day-to-day business. Seetec’s core values inspire us to work together as a company, regardless of which department we sit within. Having a set of values ensures we are all on the same path, working towards a shared end goal.
Benefits of Having Solid Core Values
A set of core values can benefit a company considerably, attracting potential clients, customers and investors. Here are just a few of the ways core values can benefit your company:
Every company has a business plan, a mission statement and a number of steps it needs to take to reach its goals. Core values are what determine how these goals are reached. For example, if one of your core values is innovation, looking for new ways to complete projects and reach your goals should be encouraged. Your business will grow successfully when core values are utilised to achieve goals. Seetec’s core value of aspiration plays a large part in the growth of our organisation. It ensures we continuously strive to achieve results of a high standard, pushes our will to succeed and aids our positive yet constructive attitude towards development.
Employee Performance and Productivity
A concrete set of core values can help to keep staff engaged and motivated, therefore raising performance and productivity levels. When employees respect and believe in your values, they often obtain a greater understanding of their job role and how they can help achieve business goals. Having a staff-base that’s aligned with your core values also creates a pleasant working environment, which is very important for employee performance and productivity. Respect is an important core value at Seetec where we promote an open work environment, listening, empathising and responding to one another.
Raise Company Profile/Competitor Advantage
Publicising your core values is an effective method of raising your company profile. Display them on your website, tell potential clients about them, incorporate them into your advertising campaigns. Alongside this, be sure to demonstrate them in all aspects of your business - customer service, client communication, recruitment etc. Doing so will allow outsiders to see how your business operates - and if they like it, they’ll tell people about it. We all know what a brilliant advertising tool word of mouth can be.
It’s no secret that to retain staff, you must make the workplace an enjoyable place to be. Ensuring staff feel appreciated, listened to and trusted are all factors that contribute to staff retention, along with other incentives such as the possibility of career progression. Incorporating these factors into your company’s core values will help to create an environment staff will want to work, learn and grow within. Learning and development is paramount at Seetec, and with aspiration being one of our core values, we openly encourage employees to learn new skills and seek innovative approaches to completing tasks. We understand how important personal development, personal achievement and appreciation are for staff retention, so we always maintain an open dialogue with employees about new opportunities for growth.
Attract New Clients/Employees
Sharing your core values with the public is a great way to attract more clients and potential employees - both of whom will likely do their research before deciding to do business with, or interview with, a company. If your workplace values align with their own, there’s a very good chance of working with first-class clients and finding employees that are naturally a great fit for your company. On top of this, remember that each employee is an advert for your company - the way individuals speak, act and their attitude will be picked up by potential clients or employees.
The customer is always right and caring about a company’s values comes first and foremost for many consumers. Creating core values that are customer-focused is fundamental - regardless of whether you deem your business to be customer facing or not. Customers can be people who buy your products or services, but also other businesses and clients. Manifesting your company’s core values in all that you do will result in happy, satisfied customers. People sit at the heart of each Seetec service, and our customers lead every decision we make. This helps us to provide the first-class customer service that we do. By understanding our customers and their needs, we are able to tailor our services accordingly.
How to Define and Implement Core Values
When your business was first established, what principles did it run off? How were goals set out and achieved? Was it with little planning and much haste? Was it with a carefully defined strategy and communication across teams? Or was it with creativity, innovation and experimentation? Core values are ever-present in the way a business operates. They are innate to a business and can usually be found when casting the mind back to the early stages of operations. However, it may be the case that a lot has changed since then, and you’re part of a company with a completely different set of values to what you started with. Here’s how to define and implement core values across your business:
Define Your Values
To define your business values, you’ll need to reflect upon what is important to you as a business. What does the company already innately do? Are you passionate about protecting the environment? Do you feel strongly about diversity in the workplace? Do you help your local community? Do you aid employees with career progression? Speaking with existing members of staff is also a great way to get a sense of company principles. Core values can’t just be thought up and applied to a business; they form the pillars that hold up the business and should reflect business practices.
Make Your Values Known
Once you’ve defined your core values, it’s important to make them known across the company. Let them guide the way your business operates. If communication is one of your core values, make sure it is used effectively within meetings and throughout team projects.
Ensure that existing staff are aware of and understand your values, and bring them to the attention of interviewees. Display signage internally and incorporate your values into marketing materials. Let them be known in the local community so that potential clients and customers can see what a credible company you are. At Seetec, our core values underpin our recruitment processes, form part of our performance reviews, make the standards we use for all employee recognition awards and link our internal communications to our values.
How to Maintain Core Values
It’s one thing to define your business values, but for them to mean anything they must be maintained and practised in everything your company does. Here are a few ways to ensure this happens across the business:
Ask employees if they know of the company’s core values. If they do, what do they think of them? How do they use them in their day to day work? Do they believe them to portray the correct image of the company? If they aren’t aware of your values, that’s useful feedback in itself.
A great way to ensure core values are incorporated across the company is to offer an incentive to individuals who demonstrate them. Offering incentives like extra holiday days or monetary rewards can encourage individuals to take note of values and apply them to their actions in the workplace. Doing so will also show how important it is to the business for your staff to take on these values. At Seetec, we recognise and reward individuals through our employee recognition awards. All the awards, including employee of the month, employee of the year and team of the year are awarded using our core values.
Core Values and Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) where businesses operate in an ethical and sustainable way is a strong example of core values in action. The importance of CSR to organisations has increased in recent years and is now not only regarded as good business practice, demonstrating sustainability and positive business ethics, but also improves reputation and promotes competitive advantage.
At Seetec our core values mean that CSR is an important element of our business model. We are dedicated to benefiting communities and our values are rooted in every decision, service and strategy. Meeting rigorous standards including social performance and transparency has earned us B-Corps certification. This international standard is a community of 2000 for-profit companies dedicated to benefiting society as well as shareholders by delivering social, environmental and economic value.
Whether your business lacks core values completely, or has values in place, but struggles to uphold them, we hope this article has uncovered the importance of core values in the workplace and the benefits they can provide. Now it’s time to define and implement a set of core values across your business.