This post is one in a series designed to help SME businesses benchmark their business and create a best practice business improvement plan across all of their business processes. You can find the links to the full series here.
1. Shared values build brand loyalty. In a 2012 Harvard Business Review study 64% of consumers who said they have strong brand loyalty to a company cited shared values as the primary reason.
2. Your business values provide the framework within which your business engages with customers, employees, stakeholders – all of its audiences – and ultimately influences and shapes your company culture.
3. Your business’s values determine how business decisions and choices are made, the way your business acts, the kinds of clients or customers you attract and retain and the kinds of staff, suppliers, partners and associates you develop relationships with.
How does your business measure up?
Here’s a checklist to help you determine how well your business meets this benchmark.
- Our values are clearly displayed on our company website and in our marketing materials, recruiting documents, annual review materials, every document we publish, even thank-you notes.
- Our values are clearly displayed in the office where they can be seen at all times by all staff. You will find them in our meeting rooms, company break rooms, the entryway, wherever staff OR clients will see them.
- Our business goals, objectives and strategies reflect our values.
- We review our alignment with our values as part of our ongoing business planning process.
- Our values are reflected in all of our company policy documents and guidelines.
- Our values are reflected in all of our organisational systems and processes. (For example if one of your values is quality, then you will include high standards of quality assurance in your production systems and you will have outstanding guarantees on all your products)
If you have staff:
- Information about our values is included in staff training and induction material.
- Alignment with our values is included as part of our recruitment and selection processes.
- Our core values are linked to performance objectives. (E.g. if customer service is a core value, you set a target of achieving >95% customer satisfaction on an annual customer survey.) We share the actual performance information with employees.
- Our staff are encouraged to have conversations about the core values. E.g. We ask them which of the company’s values they think is most important. We ask them to identify challenging situations where the company remained true to its values, and what the outcome was. We encourage them to discuss situations where they are confronted with difficult decisions and how understanding the core values can help with those decisions.
Checking your results
Here are a couple of ways you can check the accuracy of your self-assessment.
- Survey you employees about how well they think the company is doing in upholding the core values and related behaviours. Ask them to reflect on the company as a whole and their immediate team. Once the results are in, engage them in discussions about how to improve.
- Survey key clients about how well they think the company is doing in upholding the core values and related behaviours.. Once the results are in, engage them in discussions about how to improve.