Corporate Responsibility: 5 Ways to Put Your Core Values to Work
Corporate responsibility doesn’t have to be volunteer work and platitudes about neighborliness. Put real values into more of your work place and you’ll see._
5 Ways to Put Your Core Values to Work Already!
There’s a rage in the business world.
Core Values – Culture – Strategy
It’s enough to drive some very comfortable old dinosaurs right out of the business. The smart ones, though, are taking notice.
Finding, keeping and getting more out of the right people – the real talent in your industry – depends in some large measure on writing down, believing in and sharing the values that drive your business – if not your entire industry. For younger, smaller, leaner companies, culture and values have been like a god-send. Older, bloated, bigger, and less agile companies are – in some cases – actually driven close to bankruptcy. Think of Zappos running rings around Sears and JCPenney. They all sell the same stuff, but some of them sell a lot better.
The reason they can sell better is that their workforces believe in them and share the broader values of the organization.
Coming to Terms with Corporate Responsibility
We’re not talking here about “social responsibility,” i.e.; what your company does in your community or city, independently of its business function. Everything being discussed below falls squarely under the rubric of “actual business function.”
Corporate responsibility, in this day and age means taking an ethical stance, promoting, living it and encouraging it in and all around your business.We’ve written here before about actually defining core values. It can seem like a daunting process to get moving – even if the outcome is broadly understood before you start. That is to say – values don’t have to represent a big surprise.
But they do represent an important connection – the WHY – of what you’re people are doing every day and, likely, why your customers continue to come back.
So how are you going to let people know that you have this values statement that lays out your corporate responsibility to the world?
Let’s give you five important and relatively easy ways to promote your core values within your organization.
Before we start though, we’re going to omit some of the obvious places, like your About Page and your company Newsletter. These are important, but they’re also just a little obvious. Have the About Page re-written, and make an event out of the roll-out of your values. Announce that in your newsletter. Then do all of the following too.
One thing that the process of defining your corporate values should make your organization better at, is “listening.” Surveys, questionnaires and a broader culture of “listening” should allow you to demonstrate (at least one of) your values, and to gather valuable information too. If you got good at surveying in developing your values, now put the same skills to use and critique management!
Corporate responsibility comes, in very large measure, down to a Human Resources management issue. From before the hire straight through the orientation session, you need to be checking that candidates and new hires align properly, in terms of values, with the broader culture of the organization. Work with recruiters and interviewers to discuss how your values statement shows up in the interview, hiring and orientation process.
Oh, and don’t hire people who don’t share the company’s values.
Managers should be familiar with the values as they’ve been established but you might consider re-training them to insert those values into the every day process. That can be an afternoon meeting or a couple of sessions to make sure all of your people hear about the values, and hear about them regularly.
4) REWARDS & APPRAISALS
Forget sales numbers. Any salesman will tell you they’re based on luck. Your values are the number one thing to reward and they’re always a good time to talk about values. Core values should be the defining measure of everything your company is evaluating. Spell them out and re-write all of your literature, collateral, training manuals and communications in light of your values.
We mentioned above that we won’t point out the obvious. Your company newsletter or emails from the chairman are just a little too obvious, but if they are announcing thematic improvements, success stories or examples, then we’re not going to stop you. Some of your people will have a glut of email to cook through every day, but many will not. A daily email is probably better than a weekly (or worse, monthly) newsletter. Communications are the life and death of any organization and in most cases, organizations are sending out more and better emails, blog posts and themed communications than ever before. Your values belong there, too.
Communicating what you stand for and the best examples of how the organization embraces corporate responsibility have never been more important. Ultimately defeating and destroying the old guard is why people love the free market system. Let us know in the comments how your organization is highlighting, sharing and growing from the values you share.