When you’re leading a fast-growing company, it can sometimes feel like you’re making it up as you go. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, figuring out what works in the moment is part of what makes leading a growing business so exciting and gratifying.
But winging the process of setting your basic values is another matter entirely. Every business requires some on-the-spot problem-solving now and again, but improvisation alone can’t drive the company forward. Sooner or later, you’ll need to sit down with the leadership team to construct the core values that will guide you down the path to long-term success.
The benefits of doing so are deep. A solid framework of values gives employees a better understanding of your goals and provides a unique vision that can act as a beacon by which to steer through tough times. Your values impact virtually every aspect of the company. If you consistently adhere to them, they’ll help you hire — and keep — the people who make or break your business.
How Core Values Influence Employee Retention
A clear vision of who you are as an organization can drastically improve your hiring process and retention rates. Your values will help you find people who share your goals and match the culture of the company, rather than just candidates who look good on paper.
Core values drive your company forward, and the people who power your organization should be motivated by them, too. By integrating your company vision into the hiring process, you’ll attract people who want to stay with you because they truly believe in your company.
Here are five steps you can take to set values that help you hire and keep the right employees:
1. Don’t Rush It
Creating a core set of values according to which you can realistically operate takes time. Your company doesn’t necessarily require a fully fleshed-out mission statement while it’s still headquartered in someone’s garage. Wait until you have a solid employee base and more stability, then examine what makes your company tick. By waiting, you’ll have a better foundation to build upon when it comes time to grow your workforce.
2. Re-Interview Your Best People
Appoint one person to interview a mix of current employees, including both new hires and long-time pros. These should be individuals who truly represent the culture of your company. Many of your core values will begin to take shape during these interviews.
3. Keep the Hiring Process Consistent
You might personally interview every candidate when your operation is small, but at some point, you’ll have to surrender the reins to other team members. Create a system for hiring managers so they can accurately assess potential hires and determine whether they’re a good fit. Your hiring needs may have changed since the company’s founding, but your company values will act as the framework that keeps your hiring process consistent going forward.
4. Practice What You Preach
Culture comes from the top. If company leaders are exhibiting the best of your values, the people lower down the ladder will follow suit. Make sure your future leaders are well versed in the company’s mission statement so the culture remains stable when it’s time for them to take over. When employees see their leaders living out the values they claim, it will show them the company is more than just talk.
5. Don’t Passively Accept Turnover
A clear, consistent company vision should help you hire and keep employees. If you’re experiencing higher-than-anticipated turnover, it’s important to determine the root cause. Everyone may be on board with your vision, but if your office doesn’t have the right energy level or your employees find their work lives to be subpar, you’re going to have trouble retaining workers.
Small interventions can really help here. Even something as simple as offering the option of standing desks can transform the energy of a workspace and get everyone back on board.
A set of core values doesn’t mean your company must stay the same forever. Rather, your values are the starting point from which your company can grow in a healthy and productive way. By making sure your employees are all rowing in the same direction, you can set your company up for long-term success. After all, your organization can only thrive if your employees are in sync with the overarching vision.