Of course, you have a set of core values for your business, or, maybe not. Your
little company have started a tad spur – of – the – moment and you did not have your ducks in a row yet. Ever since 1994, when Jim Collins and Jerry Porras published Built to Last, in which the book made the case that many of the best companies adhered to
a set of principles called core values, making managers rush off to conjure up some core values of their own. Today, 80% of the Fortune 100 tout their values publicly, values that too often stand for nothing but a desire to be politically correct.
Well, just because you have a set of great sounding values doesn’t mean a lot unless you have truly integrated them with your company. The corporate values of Enron were communication, respect, integrity, and excellence. These all sound pretty great, but as we all know were meaningless. There are too many leaders paying too much lip service to values that do not inspire, engage, or motivate. But, for those companies that have succeeded in creating powerful values that engage their employees, the benefits are nothing short of amazing. Companies that are effectively identifying and promoting their values have less employee turnover, higher customer retention, and greater profitability than those that don’t.
You, as a leader, have an incredible opportunity to create and build a workplace that is an amazing environment. Your employees will have a fulfilling place to come each day where they find excitement and the ability for growth.
Gallup has found that engaging your employees translates into pretty astounding hard numbers. They have been measuring the impact of employee engagement in over 25 million employees across a myriad of geographies and industries. In Gallup’s study, business units that ranked in the top 25% of their organizations for employee engagement showed:
* 22% higher profitability
* 21% higher productivity
* 10% higher customer satisfaction
* 37% lower absenteeism
* 48% fewer safety incidents
* 41% fewer quality incidents (defects)
This is amazing and should be strong enough reason to persuade you to seriously
consider what your core values are. Ask yourself what are they doing to create an engaged workforce and a thriving culture.
So as you can see, values can set a company apart from the competition. They will clarify its identity and serve as a rallying point for employees. The real tough part is coming up with strong values—and sticking to them. This is a deal and requires real guts. You will have to come to grips with the fact that an organization considering a values initiative, will inflict pain. They can make some employees feel like outcasts.
They may limit your companies strategic and operational freedom and constrain the behavior of its people. They will also put you under great scrutiny for minor violations. They will mean constant vigilance on your part.
If you’re not willing to accept the pain real values incur, don’t go through all the hard work but, if you have the fortitude to see the effort though, you can learn some important lessons and see amazing results because of them.