1. Company Values Should Reflect Staff Values
Company values are more important that we think as they create the cultural context in which we work, define how we interact with other employees and the attitudes we adopt towards customers. Company values are often perceived as being imposed by the organisation but an effective organisational culture enables a two way process to occur where employees help to influence the direction of the corporate values system, through their individual beliefs and approaches they adopt. An organisation that doesn't adjust to reflect changing values will quickly become stagnant and obsolete.
2. Company Values Define How Employees Behave
Company values are essential for the day to day approach that employees adopt in the workplace. Different organisations may foster different behaviours in their staff through their company values. For example an organisation that has clearly defined policies on employee conduct and behaviour is likely to create a culture in which respect for other staff and clients or customers is high on the agenda.
Alternatively, an organisation that has few formal policies pertaining to staff behaviour in the workplace leaves the individual employee to define their own sense of what is and isn't appropriate. This can lead to conflicts with other staff as one individual's concept of what is acceptable behaviour can differ wildly from another colleague.
3. Company Values Bring Stability
Employees like to work in a stable and secure workplace. Company values create order and enable the working environment to operate more smoothly. Without company values there would be no uniform process of achieving goals or dealing with situations that arise, which would leave staff feeling exposed and vulnerable. When company values exist, they provide employees with a clearly defined approach to work life.
4. Company Values Are Important To Customers
Company values are not only important to employees but also to customers. Some customers choose to use the services of one company over another because of the values base that they have chosen to pursue. Those organisations that adopt ethical approaches to their business dealings through offering fair trade agreements or who are perceived as less exploitative, often benefit more in the long term from customer loyalty than those who are just out to make a quick buck at any cost.
Nowhere is this being more acutely highlighted than within Chinese companies, which for the past five years have produced billions of dollars of cheap goods with little or no regard for employee welfare, the effect their resources stripping is having on other countries and the lack of respect for health and safety guidelines.
It is only recently that Western consumers are realising that the company values of many, but not all, of these Chinese companies, are profit rather than safety orientated.
5. Company Values Provide a Standard Approach
Customers also like to know what they are getting and company values often play a significant role in this process. Take for example a company like MacDonald's. They have clear values about how they interact with customers and their approach to business is almost identical across the world. You know that if you walk into a MacDonald's restaurant in Russia, The UK, Australia, The US or anywhere around the world, you are likely to be dealt with in the same manner. Customer's like this because they like to know what they are getting and company values are important in delivering this.
Finally we must remember that a company is only as good as its constituent parts, in this case its employees. If the employees didn't come to work then the company wouldn't exist. As such a company is not an entity in itself, it can't think or act for itself and therefore its values are in fact only a reflection of what its employees deem to be important. As such organisational culture or values, need to constantly change to accommodate the many diverse needs of its staff.