Gauge the brand with a digital tool
Company values should act as the North Star to lead the behavior of all employees and provide principles of conduct even in critical situations.
Yet, if we consider some recent international scandals (remember Volkswagen, Wells Fargo, Boeing, Barclays…?), we should conclude that stated values have little impact on the daily behavior of employees and c-suite.
A short time ago these words were spoken on the news by an employee affected by a major corporate restructuring: “They have always told us that this company cares about people and in 4 minutes they told us that they are closing the office”. This brief statement launched through the TV exposes the weakness of the declared corporate values, putting at risk the reputation of the company.
The company’s values actually meet their crucial validation especially when it is necessary to communicate negative news (transfers, layoffs, reorganizations); in the aforesaid case, the company declared values failed to drive the form of communication.
Do corporate values statements really matter?
A recent U.S. survey on 700 companies reveals a gap between the official values, as preached by leaders and the day-to-day operations within organizations: it seems that companies don’t walk the talk.
The suite of core values serves to frame a company’s unique identity, the enduring essence that distinguishes it from its competitors and is the critical element of its success.
It is quite obvious that only if top roles embody the corporate culture in a concrete and genuine way, then it is easier for the rest of the staff to incorporate it into their specific daily operations. The results of such a virtuous system include trust increase (by various stakeholders), rise of employer branding (50% of the public trusts information coming from within, especially from employees with a technical profile) and – in a word – enrichment of the company’s brand equity.
Give life to the values
When it goes to values, good slogans are not enough; it is necessary to translate what may sound a bit abstract into company-specific behavioural guidelines. The case of Alaska Airlines is interesting: having among its corporate values the principle ‘we are all about people’, the company has translated it into precise work instructions such as: “engage with kindness” and “offer assistance”, for its front-line officers.
It is quite rare to find explanations of how values help organizations succeed, on the webpages dedicated to corporate presentations. From an Employer Branding perspective, this is a significant weakness.
Current times of mandatory remote working are stress-testing weaker corporate cultures; yet this is the momentum to reconsider these intangible assets and measure the alignment of stated values with their operational effectiveness. LoPBrand has developed a proprietary assessment tool, TYBe, to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of a brand, i.e. its soft skills, that can promote or hinder any business transformation. Becoming aware of the internal brand ‘health’ is the first step for any sound strategy.