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The importance of strong company values for SMEs

The importance of strong company values for SMEs
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The importance of strong company values for SMEs
Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space by Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space
Owner/Director - Sharp Minds Communications Ltd

When you hear ‘company values’ or ‘company culture’ you might immediately think of large, multinational organisations like Google or Apple . However, the values by which a company and its people live by is just as important for SMEs and sole traders.  Read on as we dive into why you as a business owner should set aside time to define your company values and build a successful culture.

Why is culture and company values important for SMEs?

Defining a set of clear, easy to understand values allow employees and customers to understand who you are, what you do and why you do it. For staff, it guides them through their daily tasks, decision making and provides them with a clearer route for progression. Positive company culture has huge financial and employee engagement benefits- according to workplace consultants, Gallup it increases productivity by around 21% .

Clear company values ensure a consistent brand image as every communication has the same tone and style. No matter the size of a company, values are key to success.

Setting your company values

Putting your core company values down on paper doesn’t require you to be an expert business or brand consultant. All you need is a clear focus on what you are trying to achieve, how you are going to get there and the driving forces behind it.

Here a few pointers to start with:

Company value dos:

  • Values should align and make sense in the context of what your company does
  • Values should be actionable and useful to employees in decision making
  • Aim to create unique values for your business rather than borrowing from others

Company values don’ts:

  • Avoid vague terms like “honest” “hard-working” and “teamwork”
  • Be specific. Your employees should be guided by this so the more defined the better
  • Keep them simple and easy to remember, complicated messaging dilutes the point

The process of setting values

There isn’t a set format for how businesses set their values, but the following three-step process is a good place to start.

1.  Evaluate your starting point

Start off with listing which aspects of your current culture you’d like to maintain or develop and which you want to improve or remove completely. Next, write down any aspects of other company cultures that you want to integrate into yours (make sure these are relevant to your overall goals).

2. Turn your core values into words

The key part here is to use real words, no jargon. They should be understood by everyone, not just those within the industry. You can have a longer explanation to sit underneath for employees to use when starting out their journey, but the top-line should be simple.

3. Explain and live the culture

The most important part of creating a positive workplace culture is to first communicate to staff what they are and why they exist. Secondly, it’s vital to continue to adhere to them day to day, reinforcing values regularly establishes a great foundation for your employees. Without continued expression of company values they become just another saying without meaning. .

Embrace change and be flexible

Setting company values is an ongoing process. Regular reviews ensure they stay relevant and reflect the changing business landscape. As new employees enter, your services change or technology advances it may be necessary to adapt your values to match.

Achieving a positive company culture by defining clear core values is an important step for successful SMEs. Setting aside some time to create or review your values can lead to huge benefits further down the line.

For more information on how Capital Space could support your business get in touch with our friendly team.