Create meaning. Create values
Employer branding and company culture go ‘hand in hand’.
The best culture and brands in the world are built on solid, meaningful values that every single employee believes in.
Branding - whether it’s corporate, personal or employer branding. It’s all about creating meaning.
And the best place to start creating meaning is by building rock solid values that you, your employees and even your customers can relate to.
Now I already know what you’re thinking! Values are just meaningless words placed on posters and banners across the office.
The reason why most values do not have any effect is because they are too broad and too obvious.
"Honesty, Teamwork and Doing your best."
Shouldn’t we be striving to these values on a daily basis anyway? They beg the question, as opposed to what?
Then there is the opposite end to the spectrum – the ‘ambitious value’. Words such as world class or market leading often pop up.
Now, I’m not saying your business shouldn’t strive to be world class or market leading but these types of statements are actually ambitions not values!
Values not only act as a compass for decision making and behaviour (which will create an awesome company culture) but it is also an anchor for old, existing and potential employee’s relationship with the brand.
This is why it is so important to get them right.
And I'm going to show you how you can create values that build an amazing brand and company culture.....
The 'Value Builder' Exercise
First of all, this exercise can be done on your own but it works a lot better if you can get the whole team involved. After all, they are the ones who will be living by these values on a daily basis.
One final thing before we begin.
To draw out the creativity of your team and to encourage participation, try doing this exercise using sticky notes, a large sheet on a table or on a white board.
To get started, draw a large grid. The bigger, the better as this will allow the creative juices to flow.
Try 8x8, this will give you plenty of room to play with!
Together, write one value in each box. At this stage it’s fine to have those obvious and ambitious values.
Fill the boxes in randomly to avoid creating a hierarchy.
Remember: Values are a concept or principle that is important enough to guide your behaviour and decision making. (I recommend writing this up on the wall so people will be reminded)
After a quick break (to clear your mind) and a cup of tea (because you can!)….
Come back to the values and get ready to ask yourself and the team, 10 very tough questions about each value you have written down.
If you answer no to any of the following questions, the value goes. No “buts”!
1. Is this value truly important to you?
2. Can your people live by this value?
3. Does this value have the power to motivate and engage your team?
4. Does this value mean anything to potential employees?
5. Does this value relate to your business?
6. Is your value distinctive from your competitors?
7. Can you see this value being as powerful from a year from now?
8. Can the entire team communicate it?
9. Can this value be brought to life in behaviour?
10. Will you fight to keep this value?
You should be left with a small handful of values that have true meaning to you and your team.
The final part to this value builder exercise will be polishing the values you have left in order to make them memorable, useful for everyday life and most importantly, marketable!
Follow these three easy steps:
1. Give your value a short and inspiring name
2. Give your value a concise meaning
3. Describe how your value is brought to life
Remember, values are the key to creating meaning for you, your employees and customers!
By creating meaning, not only will you boost productivity through having an awesome company culture but you will also build on your employer branding and that will lead you to becoming an employer of choice.
So there you have it, together with your team you should have a few values that will begin to build an amazing brand culture that your employees and future employees will live and perform by.
Hi, I'm Chantelle Jones