Many companies have principles that describe how they aspire to work. But for these principles to be consequential, employees must engage with them.
Use this checklist to gauge how well your company walks its talk. Are you on the right path? Or would some course corrections better help you navigate your business landscape?
Your principles will be more helpful if they:
1. Define what it means to be “one of us.”
Your principles should give employees and candidates a sense of shared identity, distinct from other organizations. This information attracts (and repels) people that fit (or don’t fit) well into your culture.
2. Impact daily decisions.
Your principles should inspire employees to bring their best selves to work and provide behavioral guidance for daily decision-making.
3. Reflect on your competitive advantage.
To help attract and retain customers, weave your company’s story around your principles. The more unique and powerful your corporate principles are, the more precisely you can define why and how your company stands above the crowd.
4. Focus on your customer promise.
Be specific and clear about how these principles create value for your customers, especially if that value is indirect. It is easy for the why to get lost in the details of the principles.
5. Speak to your relationship with your partners.
Make it clear that you are a great partner and want to work with great partners who align with your principles, share common values, demonstrate mutual respect and transparency, and deliver projects that exceed customer expectations.
6. Train employees to embody your values.
To make these principles come alive for your employees, include a formal introduction to them as part of your onboarding process. Use practice sessions where individuals can safely experiment using your company’s behavioral principles.
To help employees more fully embrace your principles, discuss them regularly as part of company-wide and team conversations. Give employees a mechanism to give kudos to co-workers for practicing particular principles in their daily work life.
7. Evolve with company-wide changes and industry developments.
Maintain these principles in an open document where employees can suggest edits. Invite employees to contribute their ideas regularly.
Read our origin story blog to learn how one company (Flexion!) created its operating principles.