The corporate social responsibility movement is gaining momentum. By identifying its values, a business can make a direct impact on its employees, clients and bottom line. Here’s a brief step-by-step guide to adopting values for your business. Read on to learn the benefits and how to go about it.
In the face of environmental and social challenges, consumers are calling for change. More and more businesses are responding by offering fair trade, organic, local products that promote diversity. As public awareness grows, clients expect businesses to do their bit too.
Imagine that there are two businesses that provide similar products or services. Consumers are increasingly likely to choose the business that makes socially responsible choices.
Having clearly defined values that are aligned with your business’s priorities can help you avoid many issues.
Let’s imagine that you disagree with your business partners on a course of action. In this situation, your company’s values act as a compass to guide your decision and defuse tensions.
Having clear and inspiring values to follow could be beneficial for your entire team, increasing employee motivation. Your company values can help attract and retain top talent as well as rally your team around shared objectives and a common corporate culture.
To decide on your values:
1. Note down what is important to you when it comes to environmental, social and governance responsibility. This might include things like work environment, community involvement, performance, agility, growth or transparency.
2. Make your choice. Choose a few of the values from your list to prioritize, based on their relevance to your mission. Take time to define them clearly and avoid ambiguity.
3. Depending on your industry and how your business is run, you might also want to consult your employees and partners. Being involved at this stage may increase buy-in later.
To successfully implement your company’s values, you’ll also need a mission. This is your company’s raison d’être.
Your mission is a clear and concise public statement. It shouldn’t be more than a few sentences. Your mission statement should be:
1- Specific enough to guide future decisions
2- Broad enough to keep pace with developments in your business and society at large (think about e-commerce or electric vehicles, for example)
Now that your mission is set, you’re ready to define your vision. Your mission is the foundation you use to imagine what happens next for your business. The vision states your ambitions: it describes where your business will be in a few years’ time.
You don’t have to make it public, but everybody who makes decisions in your company needs to know and understand it. It can also be a useful tool when you’re looking for financing.
Your vision is a framework that:
1- Is short and specific about the goals you want to achieve (one sentence is enough)
2- Develops over time
3- Is re-evaluated regularly (at least once a year)
4- Is inspiring (promotes buy-in)
Inside your company, reiterate your values during meetings and in internal publications. You could even post them on your walls, if you like! To ensure that they’re successfully adopted, your team has to know about them.
Your company’s goals are linked to your values, mission and vision. The more your team buys in to them, the greater the impact on your results.
Make sure you showcase them externally too. Include them in your marketing and on packaging as well as in all your communications. There are myriad ways to get your values out there. While their primary purpose is to guide your company’s actions, they can also be a powerful tool in shaping your brand image and your corporate culture.
Whether your business is a start-up or already well established, take time to define your values, mission and vision. Your clients, employees and partners want to know what they are and what you’re doing to adhere to them. For more information and to learn how to adapt to new developments, speak with your specialized business advisor. We’re here to answer your questions.
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