Bridging the gap between promise and delivery
Company values are becoming an increasingly important part of a brand’s identity. Your company values demonstrate what your organisation stands for and cares about. Recently, more and more businesses are showcasing these values across their website, newsletters and even the walls of their offices.
A set of values acts as a code of conduct for employees, and can guide them in making the right decisions and solving problems at work. Your values also serve as a rallying point for your team, creating an engaged and motivated culture at work.
Consumers are also increasingly looking for companies who align with their values, as data shows 52% of American adults reported actively considering company values before making a purchase.
Sometimes, a values ‘gap’ can occur when the supposed values of an organisation don’t live up to the reality. These inconsistencies can lead to a disengaged team and a loss of trust – with both your workforce and your potential customers.
Here are our tips for closing this gap and ensuring that you are living up to your company values.
Work based on values
Your values should act to guide behaviours. Ensuring that your employees know and understand your values is the first step in achieving this. Integrate them into your hiring process and training, and consider including visual reminders in your workspace.
To avoid a gap between promise and delivery, you also need to integrate them into daily activity across the company.
Start a continuous discussion about values throughout the organisation. Ask yourself or others – how does the path you took align with our values? Show rewards and appreciation for values-centric behaviours.
Invite managers to share their part in this conversation too – modelling values from the top down is a great way to inspire your team. An internal communications plan can help to encourage open communication, including feedback, debate and discussion surrounding your values.
When you introduce your company values and start integrating them into your everyday operations, things are likely to change. Committing to your values often means going down a different path. If it helps, consider defining the cost of your values (eg ethics at the cost of profit).
Also, recognise where your values aren’t working – create ways to get feedback from employees and customers, such as appraisals, exit interviews or company surveys.
Communicating your culture
Communicating your company values to your audience works in a similar way. By displaying them on your website and social media, potential customers can relate with your brand more closely. Stories are often the best way to illustrate how you’re living by your values, which build trust and can help you stand out from competitors who are less transparent.
In the majority of content, however, your values won’t be explicit – but an aspect of your overall brand. Your values inform your DNA, alongside your vision (why you’re in business) and mission (what you do differently). Having a DNA to underpin your communications help create a consistent brand identity.
Living up to your company values is hard work – it takes sacrifice and embracing change. But vigilance in a values-driven approach helps build a great company culture and generate trust with your target audience.
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