Values in Business: An overview.

Values are qualities that define people, organizations and products / services at their most basic level. They establish a foundation onto which expectations and trust (or distrust), is built.

Organization leaders must take responsibility for the values the organization and their products / services and employees demonstrate. Taking responsibility for planning their values allows organizations to plan their corporate culture and reputation with confidence.

What Values Do

Demonstrating values also becomes a base for many strategic decisions. The benefit is that once values are defined by; shared with; and understood by all employees, the values themselves should simplify and speed up all other business decisions. They will also ensure consistency in approach and information. For example:

  • Values should be considered as part of the decision making and the product / service design and customer care process when developing new products / services.
  • Values assist in the development of the organization (and department), mission statement, vision statement and value statement. 
  • Values can support the core competencies of the organization, the unique value proposition (UVP).
  • Values serve as the starting ground for all marketing and advertising strategies and messages.
  • Values required to perform work (customer service for example), can be looked for within the values of the people you consider hiring.

There are three categories from which an organizations values base is created. Organizations should investigate which of these values they do – and perhaps wish to represent. They are:

  • Physical Values
  • Organizational Values 
  • Psychological Values

The following are examples of each. Please note – this is not an exhaustive list but provides a strong overview.

Physical Values

  1. Maximum Utilization of Resources
    The desire and ability of the company to improve its performance by full utilization of its current resources (i.e. as time, money, equipment, materials, space, people, etc.). 
  2. Orderliness / Cleanliness
    Offices, file cabinets, shelves, paperwork, files, priority of work, daily and weekly planning, etc. 
  3. Punctuality and Timeliness
    Arriving on time.
  4. Quality of Products and Services
    Presentation, functionality, choice, value, speed, timeliness, suitability, repeatability, reliability, life span, repeatability, courtesy, friendliness, etc. 
  5. Reliability
    The way system or persons consistently produce the same results. Dependability.
  6. Responsiveness
    The way people, the organization, systems, etc. react to a need coming from within or without.
  7. Safety
    In offices, production and research facilities, vehicles, for employees, vendors, customers. etc.

Organizational Values

  1. Communications
    Up, down, and sideways within the company, with customers and vendors, in terms of openness, frankness, clarity, frequency, accuracy, timeliness, and brevity.
  2. Cooperation (Teamwork)
    Among individuals, departments, divisions, branches, and so on. 
  3. Coordination
    Horizontally between departments in terms of plans, activities, and systems. 
  4. Standardization
    In terms of forms, files, procedures, reports, performance evaluations, equipment, training, recruitment, orientations, communications, and so on.

Psychological Values 

  1. Continuous Improvement
    The desire and ability of the company to develop and incorporate ways to improve itself.
  2. Creativity
    New products, new ideas, new systems, new production methods, new applications of technology, new methods of financing, new marketing strategies. 
  3. Customer Delight
    The positive emotional response the customer feels from interaction with our people/products/services. 
  4. Innovation
    The desire and ability of the company to venture into new, breakthrough areas of opportunity.
  5. Integrity / Accountability
    Keeping to one's word, promises, agreements, being truthful, etc. with employees, customers, vendors.
  6. Loyalty
    To and from suppliers, customers, and employees. 
  7. Respect for the Individual
    Establishing rules and policies, design of systems, making decisions, executing instructions, and so on in terms of people's health, safety, self-esteem, feelings, and opinions
  8. Service to Society
    Community welfare, environmental protection, development of products and services that meet real physical, social, or psychological needs.

Ultimately, defining and adoption of organizational values must be an organizational commitment. Values are living (not static), traits or qualities that help define the organization and the people who work there. Integrating these values must be a priority for everyone, therefore, include everyone in the decision making process.

The values of an organization express what it stands for and guide everyones behavior when dealing with everything from product development, to each other, to customers and suppliers.

Support an employee's behaviour by demonstrating to them (likely through training), how they can use these values as they would use tools to do their job. Measure and reward their success by integrating them into each employee's performance objectives.

It's not easy work, but it is valuable in aligning the goals and objectives of your organization, your departments and your employee.

Other Interesting BMC Articles: Social Media and Marketing Strategies and Brainstorming Success

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