Corporate Core Values: Why Your Startup Needs Core Values
Every company needs a set of core values that guide its mission. These values should reflect the reason you started your company and provide the services you do. They’re why you offer certain incentives to your employees. But it’s not enough to have those values in your head, you need to define your corporate core values. It’s important to your management team, employees, and your customers. Here’s why.
“What makes you different?”
This is the question that every business has to successfully answer. What sets them apart from the others in their field? What sets them apart from the others offering essentially the same product? It’s not always about your offering, because offerings aren’t always unique. But what is unique are the values your company possesses.
A clearly identified set of core values allows customers an understanding of what your company prioritizes. They’ll want to know if you’re more concerned with efficiency or support–or maybe you even have both of these as a core value.
Take L.L. Bean’s core value statement: “Sell good merchandise at a reasonable profit, treat your customers like human beings, and they will always come back for more.” They let their customers know that treating them like a human instead of a consumer is built into the DNA of the company. While not all customers will research a company’s core values before settling on who to buy from, core values are an influencer.
More and more, people are making buying decisions based on a company’s humanitarian interests. Take the sock company Bombas, for instance. They formed after learning that socks were the No. 1 requested item at all homeless shelters. Now, for every purchased pair of socks, Bombas donates one pair. Since they started, they’ve donated over 2 million socks (which means they’ve also sold 2 million socks). Without a strong value
A checklist for decision-making
Ideally, everyone in your company will have enough autonomy to do what needs to be done and know when they have to ask for approval (or know when they can forego approval). But developing autonomy is difficult without a set of guidelines.
Your corporate core values define how decisions are made within your company. Here at DemandZEN, one of our core values is problem-solving. So while asking questions is a great place to start, we’re encouraged to figure things out on our own first before bringing others in. Additionally, we embrace flexibility. So instead of brushing off a co-worker who needs help with a particular project last-minute, we make time.
Our day-to-day and the way we approach our goals is defined by our company’s core values. This goes for both personal, employee goals and the overarching goals of the company.
A company like Bombas might have a core value of giving. On the employee level, individuals might be encouraged to take personal days to volunteer for something they care about. On the company level, this could mean a focus on giving the best quality items and giving the best possible customer service.
Your core values are what determines the path of your personal growth and your business.
Prospective employees are concerned with company culture. After all, the culture of a company affects how individuals fit in and grow. Employees need to know what to expect out of their day-to-day and how it contributes to the overall company. And the company culture that is so important to interviewees is derived from core values.
Company culture is often incorrectly characterized as the “perks” a company decides to extend to their employees. But in truth, the values a company shares with its employees should be what characterize it. A company that offers free beer to its employees should not be defined by this perk. Instead, this perk is an extension of a core value like “freedom” or “trust.” It’s important to highlight the values that inspire the perks as opposed to just the perks.
By aligning prospective employees and your own core values, your team will be in sync. During the hiring process, it’s important to share core values with interviewees to see if they care about the same things you do. At DemandZEN, one of our core values is teamwork. So we’re looking for those who love being a part of a team and working toward a singular goal.
It’s important to remember that core values are not just buzzworthy items on a list that you share. They actually represent your company’s core beliefs. And you don’t want people on your team if they can’t get behind your mission and your values.
So it’s time to start brainstorming. What values are important to your company? What traits do you want your employees to embrace? And what core set of beliefs do you want prospects and customers to know you hold dear?
If you need help determining corporate core values, let us know. We’re happy to help.
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DemandZEN specializes in Account-Based Demand Generation and solving the challenges around finding, engaging and converting target accounts into real opportunities for B2B Technology and Services companies.