Your company’s core values are the most important aspects in guiding your company’s growth, but what if your employees cannot remember them? A mere 38% of HR leaders believe their employees can recall these values, highlighting a significant gap in implementation. The usual solution involves more communication, but what if the problem lies in the values themselves? This blog proposes a radical shift – crafting memorable core values that stick in minds and hearts. So let’s see how to create company values that actually resonate with its employees.
How To Create Great Company Values
Get Creative: Let Your Company’s Unique Identity Shine!
It’s time to ditch the conventional term “core values” and let your company’s identity shine through alternative terms. Johnson & Johnson, for instance, embraces a “credo,” while Google navigates with its set of “beliefs.” These unconventional labels not only capture attention but also establish a distinct identity, setting the stage for memorable values. Consider options like a “motto,” a “maxim,” or a “mantra” that align with your company culture. Embrace creativity in labelling to communicate a sense of uniqueness and purpose.
Explore Industry-Relevant Terms: Tailor your alternative term to resonate with your industry. A tech company might adopt a “source code,” while a sports team could have “rules of the game.”
Ensure Simplicity: Opt for terms that are simple, straightforward, and easy to understand. Complexity can dilute the impact of your chosen label.
Seek Employee Input: Involve employees in the creative process. Encourage them to contribute ideas for alternative terms, fostering a sense of ownership and engagement.
Align with Company Values: Ensure that the alternative term reflects and reinforces the core values and mission of your company.
Keep Them Brief: Less Is More
In a world inundated with information, brevity is a virtue. Limit your core values to a maximum of four – a manageable number that employees can genuinely absorb. This ensures that your values remain critical and actionable, steering clear of the forgettable laundry list trap. Companies like H&M exemplify this approach, focusing on concise values like “Cost-Consciousness,” directly tied to their competitive positioning. Less really is more when it comes to core values, emphasising quality over quantity.
Prioritise Critical Values: Identify values that are indispensable to your business strategy. Each value should play a pivotal role in steering the company toward its goals.
Link Values to Business Strategy: Align each core value with a specific aspect of your business strategy. This linkage reinforces the practical relevance of the values in day-to-day operations.
Regularly Review and Update: Periodically reassess your core values to ensure they remain aligned with your evolving business objectives. This adaptability maintains their relevance over time.
Communicate the Importance: Clearly articulate why each core value is crucial to the company’s success. This communication fosters a deeper understanding among employees.
Make The Values Easy To Remember: Strategic Order Matters
Mastering the art of memorability involves strategic ordering of your core values. The serial position effect highlights the first and last positions as the most likely to be recalled. Alternatively, employ acrostics or mnemonics that spell out memorable words or phrases. This ensures that your critical values take centre stage in employees’ minds, guiding their decisions and actions effectively.
Prioritise Critical Values: Just as with brevity, ensure that the most critical values occupy the first and last positions. This strategic placement enhances recall.
Create Acrostics Relevant to Your Business: Craft acrostics that align with your industry or business specifics. This adds a layer of relevance that aids memory.
Leverage Mnemonic Devices: Develop mnemonic devices based on real words or industry-relevant terms. These aids enhance the memorability of your core values.
Reinforce Through Internal Communication: Regularly communicate and reinforce the order of your core values through internal channels. This consistency strengthens their recall over time.
Say What You Mean: Make Your Values Stand Out!
The language you use to articulate your core values can be the difference between forgettable and impactful. Replace mundane terms like “Accountability” with vibrant expressions such as “We own it” (Kraft Heinz). Choose words that feel distinctive – unexpected, emotional, inventive, or superlative. Whether it’s bold declarations, imperatives, or interrogatives, infuse life into your values, making them resonate with the unique spirit of your company.
Choose Action-Oriented Language: Opt for language that conveys action and ownership. Phrases like “We go the extra mile” (Toyota) instil a sense of commitment and dedication.
Reflect Company Culture: Ensure that the language used aligns with your company’s culture. If your culture is innovative and daring, let your values reflect that spirit.
Encourage Employee Involvement: Invite employees to contribute to the phrasing of core values. Their input can bring diverse perspectives and linguistic creativity.
Conduct Language Workshops: Consider organising workshops focused on effective phrasing. Training employees to articulate values in distinctive ways enhances internal communication.
Make It Visible: A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words
Leverage the picture superiority effect by translating your core values into a visual format. Whether it’s a “values wheel” or a “values ladder,” choose an image that aligns with your industry and communicates your values effectively. Ensure the visual is not only relevant but also clear, verbally fluent, and capable of illustrating complex relationships. A well-designed visual representation enhances the memorability and appeal of your core values.
Choose Relevant Imagery: Align visual representations with your industry or business domain. This relevance enhances understanding and recall.
Consider Iconography: Opt for icons or symbols that represent each core value. Iconography adds a layer of simplicity and clarity to the visual.
Test Clarity with Employees: Before finalising a visual representation, seek feedback from employees. Ensure that the chosen imagery is universally understood and resonates with the team.
Incorporate in Onboarding Materials: Integrate visual representations of core values into onboarding materials. This inclusion familiarises new hires with the values from the outset.
Designing Values For Lasting Impact
Creating core values that resonate is all about imagination. Break free from generic terms, keep it concise, strategically order, use distinctive language, and make it visually appealing. Your company’s values should be more than forgotten words on a wall – they should be a rallying cry, etched into the minds of every employee. Imagination, not repetition, is the key to crafting values that endure and truly guide your organisational journey.
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