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Successfully developing and communicating corporate values

Corporate values are crucial for a good company culture. They are the fundamental principles and beliefs that define and guide a company’s decision-making processes and behaviour. These values include integrity, innovation, sustainability, teamwork and social responsibility.

They serve as orientation, create clarity and coherence, and contribute to the motivation and commitment of employees, provided they can identify with the company values. They are the cornerstone of every corporate culture and contribute to building a company’s image.

Anyone dealing with corporate values will also encounter the terms ‘corporate vision’ and ‘mission statement’. Both are part of the corporate mission statement and are closely linked to the corporate values, but they should never be confused with them.

How do you successfully communicate corporate values internally?

Clear and concise definition of values: corporate values should be formulated clearly and inspiringly. Avoid technical jargon and use language that all employees can understand.

Visual presentation: Use infographics, posters, or videos to visually present the company values appealingly. This will help employees remember them better.

Integration into everyday life: integrate corporate values into all areas of everyday company life. This can be done, for example, through the design of the working environment, the management culture or employee appraisals.

– Lived values: managers and employees should actively exemplify the company values. This makes it clear that the values are not just empty words but are lived in the company.

Reward and recognition: Reward and recognise employees who exemplify the company values in their day-to-day work. This shows employees that their behaviour is desired and motivates them to continue acting according to the company’s values.

Communication of corporate values and their challenges:

Understanding and acceptance of values: all employees must understand the company values and know their significance for the company. What characterises the company? This can be achieved through workshops and regular communication measures.

Identification: Employees must be able to identify with the company values in order to live them. If the values are authentic, credible, and in line with the employees’ personal values, identification with them is possible.

Measurability of success: measuring the success of communicating corporate values takes time and effort. However, it can be done through employee surveys, feedback interviews or by analysing key figures such as the staff turnover rate or employee satisfaction.

Corporate values and their opportunities:

Commitment and motivation: Well-understood and practised corporate values can increase employee commitment and motivation.

-Identification and loyalty: employees who identify with the company’s values are more willing to commit to the company long-term. The chances are good. In a Statista survey, around 23% of Generation Z respondents who were employed in January 2023 said they could imagine staying with their current employer until they retire. Among Generation X, this statement met with an approval rate of 55%.

Improved reputation: positive corporate values can improve a company’s reputation and make it more attractive to potential customers and employees.

Competitive advantage: companies that successfully communicate and, most importantly, live their values can gain a competitive advantage.

How do you find the correct corporate values?

Ask yourself these five basic questions not only when you set up your company but also as an SME after a few years:

  1. What makes your company unique?
  2. Describe your ideal employee. What skills, behaviours and characteristics do they bring?
  3. How will your company deal with challenges?
  4. What ethical approaches does your company pursue?
  5. How does your company define and implement sustainability?

Should a company change or adapt its corporate values over the years?

This is especially true for SMEs or corporates. Everything changes. Therefore, over the years, the existing corporate culture should be reviewed and, if necessary, adapted to the changing times. A cultural change is not easy to implement, but if implemented correctly, it promises success. If a desired cultural change is described too sweepingly, or if it only reflects the interests of top management in a one-sided way, the cultural change can fail. Even when communicating new values, there can be a lot of misunderstanding, incomprehension and, therefore, resistance. Involve long-standing and new employees in the redefinition of the company values.

Because there is something you should not underestimate: Employees are your company’s most influential brand ambassadors.