Corporate Values

3 Reasons Why Your Corporate Values Aren’t Working

Does your company have defined values? Do you find it hard to reinforce these corporate values and encourage your people to live and breathe them? You are not alone.

A recent study by MIT Sloan Management Review found that there is no relationship between a company’s values and how well they actually live up to those values. There seems to be a gap between what companies say they value and what their culture actually shows they value.

There’s a reason for this. Let’s look at the 3 reasons why your company’s values may not be working for you and some tips for how to make them more a part of your company’s DNA. Hint… for each tip, we will be talking about using core competencies.

Reason 1

No one knows what your corporate values mean

Your corporate values or company’s vision statement may sound good on paper or the website but have no real meaning. For example, “We value team spirit” or “Integrity above all else.” What do these statements mean exactly? How do I know if I am acting with integrity or promoting team spirit? What does that look like?

Tip:Provide example behaviours for what your corporate values look like in action. These become the guideposts for what that value means in practice. You should use core competencies to do just that as these already include example behaviours that are observable and measurable.

Reason 2

Your people don’t understand the why

Do your corporate values sound like any other company? Do your employees understand why these values are important? If people don’t understand the “why” and they don’t resonate with them, no one will worry about them.

Tip:Tailor the language of your core competencies to fit what makes your company unique. Also, take the time to explain why these values are important. You can even include a sentence explaining the why after the definition of your core competencies. Just try not to spend too much time on wordsmithing them.

Reason 3

The corporate values aren’t linked to company results

So, you have taken the time to define your corporate values and map them to core competencies, post them on the website and other key places? But now what? Do you actually hire for these values or core competencies? Do you track how well people perform against these values or help people to develop and learn behaviours tied to these values? Do you reinforce performance tied to your company’s core competencies? If there is no accountability for living and breathing the values then people can’t be expected to do so.

Tip:Build your company’s values by way of core competencies into all your talent management practices, from hiring to onboarding to performance and learning.

Give Your Company’s Values New Life

Company values are an important part of any company’s culture. They can be the compass that guides company success. But only if:

  • You take the time to define what they mean with example behaviours (core competencies)
  • Explain the why behind them.
  • Include them in your talent management practices (e.g., hiring, onboarding).

Start today! Define your core competencies and breathe new life into your company’s values.