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Core Values: the key to establishing a thriving business today.

I am a firm believer in the value of recognizing what is important to you and what you stand for. It’s your identity. It’s who you are. It guides your behavior, decision and actions. It brings about a sense of purpose and self- worth in your life. Your life purpose is the essence of who you are. Identifying your core values brings you back to the center of your being. Without it, how can we make the most out of our family, career and life?

Core values are the fundamental beliefs you have about your life. It can give your life a direction and help you decide right from wrong. When you know what matters to you, you can live in alignment with those values. A few good examples of core values are: reliability, loyalty, integrity, commitment, caring, accepting, team work, collaborative, listening etc.

Some of these values are instilled within us from childhood through our upbringing and the kind of environment we are brought up in. Others can be acquired over time through different experiences.

Why are core values so important for businesses today?

You see, your organizational development is strongly dependent on your employees because their drive is what drives your company to new heights. And, in this post-pandemic era, where many organizations are embracing blended (physical + virtual) workplace style, your employees’ core values are even more important today.

Company culture can’t be set in a day. It is something that you cultivate over time through different company traditions, events and the dynamics between your team members. Now, in person, it is comparatively easier to keep your employees aligned with your company culture through different tactics. But when you go remote, it is a lot harder to keep your virtual teams aligned with your culture. 

Yes, there are strategies for increasing employee engagement, such as regular check-ins and team-building activities and all of these are effective tactics. 

But none of it matters if your employees’ core values aren’t in sync with yours.

One of the most common misconceptions held by businesses is that core values are a matter of courtesy rather than a requirement. This is another reason why some companies have a very high employee turnover rate. The truth is that core values are critical to employee retention and keeping your organization alive during bad times.

Many companies fail to identify the core values in employees during hiring, onboarding and ongoing development. As a result, when there is a mismatch, the employees feel demotivated to work, become rigid in their attitude and mindset and consequently leave the organization. This alone can kill your organization.

How can you reinforce core values in your team?

Well, there is no “one for all” strategy that you can go for to reinforce core values in your team. This is because your core values and culture are unique to your company and brand. What could work for you, might not work for another company and vice versa. However, there are a few tried-and-true methods that can help you in re-instilling your core values in your workforce. 

  • Frequently communicate your core values:  Share your core values and your story often with your employees in different forms. Modesty is a great virtue. However, in present times, you need to be creative in communicating your expectations and values so that your employees are reminded of why they are working, what they are hoping to achieve and align their own values accordingly. 

    In a physical office environment, you can add decorations on your office walls that convey your values. You can also bring up a discussion on it during your team meetings. Transparency about how your firm acts true to its values, as well as how you’re aiming to improve, will help establish trust and understanding among employees.
  • Appreciate and Recognize employees who demonstrate your core values: We all like being appreciated for the efforts we put in. Studies say only 33% of employees feel strongly valued at work. When employees are empowered to reward and recognize others for upholding your company’s core values, those values become more concrete. 

    For example, if “flexibility” is one of your company’s core values, then you can highlight this value by rewarding an employee who has depicted a very flexible mindset when it comes to ideas, challenges and adversities. This would in turn motivate other employees to demonstrate the same core value in their work.
  • Put your values in the driving seat of your decision making process: Your decisions should communicate the kind of company culture you foster and the core values it lives by. For example, if “reliability” is a core value that your company believes in, you wouldn’t  want to default on payments, partner with organizations that have a reputation of being fickle in their attitude and or take actions that are inconsistent to your words.
  • Cultivate an environment of inclusivity and care: Your core values and culture are not a singular element. By nature, this thing is communal. You can’t just expect to narrate a set of principles and expect others to adopt it when you don’t foster a culture of inclusiveness and collaboration. So, always encourage people to talk to each other and keep an open line of communication.Create a collaborative environment among teams and remind them that they are all working toward a common goal with the core values as the driving force. 

Core values are something that demands you to be focused and intentional about. Your core principles must guide your team day-to-day experience. When leadership speaks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk, values lose credibility. However, living the core values entails taking responsibility for their actions and getting recognized for achieving them. This is where many businesses miss the mark. 

For the success of your business, you need to ensure the success of your core values. This success would come when everyone would take responsibility for living those core values. Senior professionals need to ensure that they act as a role model for their subordinates. Companies also need to make sure that hard skills are not the only skills that are looked into while recruiting an employee. Businesses also need to focus onboarding someone who holds the same core values as that of the organization as well. 

When you hire, onboard and develop the right people whose values are aligned with yours, that’s when your business truly shines.

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