CULTURE DRIVER #3 – Creating a Winning Culture with Core Values

Today’s top places to work have employees, who are aligned and passionate about their company’s core values. Not only is this important for building a strong culture, core values generate direct bottom-line business results!  

WHAT ARE CORE VALUES?

Core values are a set of timeless, guiding principles that direct and define the attitudes, behaviors and “personality” of your organization. To be most impactful, they must be shared by all employees, integrated through company operations, and drive action and decision-making. 

In addition, core values provide the following benefits:

  • Unify employees around shared priorities and language
  • Improve engagement, satisfaction and retention
  • Boost customer and vendor loyalty
  • Impact your business’ performance and company growth

According to the Harvard Business Review, 80% of Fortune 100 companies promote their values—and when done effectively—can serve as a strong competitive advantage and means to rally employees. 

Examples include: 

  • Google
  • Amazon
  • Whole Foods
  • Ritz-Carlton 
  • Southwest Airlines

Jim Stengel, author of Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s Greatest Companies, found that companies driven to improve people’s lives outperform the competition that lack this higher sense of purpose by 400%!

CORE VALUES MUST DRIVE ACTION

To strengthen the link between values and operations, we must be intentional about how to embed core values into our culture on a daily basis through constant reinforcement. 

Here are some examples of the numerous opportunities for leaders to link core values to business operations—keeping them at the heart of everything they do:

GUIDE DECISION MAKING

Our words and actions should be aligned. We must deliver on our promises. 

  • If “quality” is a core value, for example, then any products not meeting our standards should be eliminated.  
  • If “safety” is a core value, then the company should provide leadership support, training, resources and services to ensure people in the organization stay safe.  
  • If “balance” is a core value, then the company should make it a priority to ensure employees have work-life balance through communications, policies and practices.

SERVE AS A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

Many high-performing companies like Zappos, the online shoe retailer, have used their core values and culture as a competitive advantage. Having a set of specific core values tells customers and prospects what the company is about and clarifies its identity. 

Core values should act like a homing beacon for like-minded customers.

IMPROVE RECRUITING 

People are the lifeblood of today’s businesses, and top performers seek out companies with values that match their own. When hiring, go beyond skills, experience and abilities to include core values alignment. 

Design your interview questions and assessments around testing a candidate’s alignment with your core values to determine the best fit.

BOOST EMPLOYEE RETENTION AND PRODUCTIVITY

One of the top reasons why employees love where they work is because they feel aligned to a company’s core values and mission. There are numerous ways to link core values to employee reviews, rewards and recognition.

IMPROVE CUSTOMER RETENTION

Core values help customers feel like they have a relationship with your brand, improving retention. For example, customers might pay a premium price for our services, not based on the cheapest option, but on the most valuable one.

IMPROVE VENDOR RELATIONSHIPS

We welcome partners who point to our values as a reason to join our network. They are easier to work with and offer more profitable opportunities. In fact, it’s been said that profit is the applause you get for doing right by taking care of people.

BOOST SAFETY

If you’re in the construction or manufacturing industries, safety as a core value can have a direct impact on helping your company save money, boost morale, increase retention and improve productivity.  

According to OSHA, strong safety programs can reduce injury and illness costs by 20-40%. Another statistic claims every dollar invested in effective safety programs allow a company to save $4-$6, as illnesses, injuries and fatalities decline.  

With “safety” or “caring for others” as a core value, organizations can experience reduced costs that can be the difference between reporting a profit or a loss for your company!

As a leader, this process starts with you. By living and leading with core values you’ll create a strong unified and unique company culture, positioning your company at the forefront of business!

WHAT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT TRACTION LEADERSHIP?

Learn more about identifying your organization’s core values, and how they impact company growth, strategy, and business development by scheduling a consultation with Chris Naylor, M.A., professional EOS implementor, business coach, and speaker

Send Chris a message to get in touch, and she’ll connect with you shortly.

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