The Cheshire Cat: Where are you going?
Alice: Which way should I go?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends on where you are going.
Alice: I don’t know.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol
As humans, we have long since used shared values as a way of establishing common ground. We use them to distinguish between right and wrong, to predict each other’s behaviour, to justify our sacrifices and to evaluate the importance of our actions.
There’s no doubt that business values, especially in the client service industry, have a direct impact on employee and customer happiness. They create an easily identifiable culture where employees trust each other and take accountability and autonomy in the work they do. Employees can then work freely to provide a more tailored and individual customer experience whilst still upholding company values.
What’s in a name?
If you look into the core values of some bigger corporations, it quickly becomes clear that most are pretty much the same:
‘At Macdonald’s, we hold ourselves and conduct our business to high standards of fairness, honesty, and integrity’
‘At Nando’s, we have five core values: pride, passion, courage, integrity and family’
‘At Tesco, no one tries harder for customers, we treat people how they want to be treated and every little help makes a big difference’
‘At TSB, we are straightforward, collaborative, transparent, responsible and pioneering’
‘At Starbucks, we create a culture of warmth and belonging. We act with courage and challenge the status quo. We are present, connecting with transparency, dignity and respect. We deliver our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for the results. We are performance driven, through the lens of humanity.’
Whether it’s a five-word list or a philosophical statement, basically every company maintains they work fairly, courageously and passionately for their customers. Why wouldn’t they? But how can an employer ensure that Sam, cashier number 3846, will endorse these values when we buy our soy latte in Starbucks or our whole chicken platter with 4 sides in Nando’s? The truth is, Sam might be having a bad day. Sam might not like his manager. Sam might find me rude.
When it comes down to it, what your employees do with their company’s values is very much up to them. That’s why the employee experience itself is so important. If every employee is engaged with their company’s values from personal experience then they’ll be a hundred times more likely to happily prove them to your customer or client. It may not be enough to list them in a handbook attached to an employee welcome email. They should be visible in every aspect of a brand and company, at any time.
Whether it’s through reward schemes and training or inspiring leadership; exhibiting genuine core values creates empowered employees. They will gain a clearer understanding of their role, learn how to act in sticky situations, and work out how best to contribute to a successful business.
What your values are is important but what matters most is that you have them.
At Work.Life, we are:
Our people are our biggest asset. We welcome the extroverts and the collaborators, the introverts and the autonomous, the creative types and the corporate. We fundamentally believe in the value of the melting pot.
We are part of a broader mission to improve people’s happiness at work. There’s a joy to be found in the day to day humdrum of life and we strive to help people find it.
We sweat the small stuff. Whether it’s a team member’s birthday or a member’s pup came runner up in the local dog show: these are the little things that cultivate a culture of caring and relying on each other.
We step up to the mark!
If something’s not working for our team or our members, we’ll work hard to make it right. We are responsible for sharing our values and that means welcoming negative feedback as much as the positive and constantly questioning if we are living the values and culture we promote.
Culture starts with being clear.
Your company’s core values are the humble seed from which it grows. Strong values establish your business’s foundation, define the road it takes and the brand it evolves to be. They effect who you hire, who you work with, how you strategise and the decisions you make.
So, who are you?