You could argue that there are certain core values that all companies share or at least should share. But businesses are made of people and people are made of personalities, so each business has and should have its own personality. As your company evolves so will this personality, but the core values tend to remain the same — that is if you are hiring the right people who support those core values.
First you have to identify those values inherent to your company culture. From there, how do you communicate them to your team, in your recruitment, as part of a commitment to your customers, and to the general public? By properly communicating those values, not only are you committing to them, but you are reinforcing them.
One way to reinforce your values is by storytelling. Gather together what our team calls value stories — they tend to naturally arise in the day-to-day work, whether from customer emails and feedback or team meetings or maybe stories you read of other companies acting in similar ways — we keep ours in a dedicated Slack channel. Or you can directly ask your employees to offer up value stories that they think express your company’s culture and personality.
Then, once you’ve collected these stories, use them to create a culture book, an online and/or printed collection of core values and stories that reinforce and transparently share your company culture with the world. Today we share three great companies’ culture books.
Hey, so… The Perkbox culture book shares its fun, youthful vibe
Kicking off with references to an inside joke and the common refrain of CEO and co-founder, the Perkbox culture book expresses the quirky — and sky blue — personality of this UK-based employee engagement and benefit platform from front to back cover.
For a company that grew from 15 to 120 in just two years, stating and reinforcing the culture is important.
“This is our culture book. We’ve filled it with all the fun things which we think make working here so unique,” reads the introduction. The book is filled with professional photographs — often with blue-colored glasses — accompanying stories from employees, customers and business partners.
Perkbox holds to these five core values, which are almost outlandishly visible around the vibrant and loud office:
Work hard, play harder.
Test it, try it, make it happen.
Not a job, a family.
Above and beyond.
We don’t know: ‘It’s impossible.’
Some quotes from the book?
“My Perkbox Story is all about people who helped me to create my own role, who cared and believed in me to do the job I was dreaming about,” said the engagement manager.
“In my interview for Perkbox I was forced to play table tennis,” said the sales team manager. “I don’t remember who won. I think I blacked out and likely lost, but I am positive it was through sheer force of will that I got the job and was changed forever.”
“Nine months later, I can still say that Perkbox is a place that doesn’t sacrifice a sense of fun in favour of progress and results, and that’s the kind of culture I am to take with me wherever I go,” said a QA test engineer.
The book is filled with a mix of general thoughts and specific memories from the mostly very young staff, emphasizing its playful nature that they of course hope their app brings to other companies.
However, the company doesn’t see them all as equal, placing a culture of transformation as priority. They in fact break transformation down into three subsets:
transformation of self: The company is very big on in-house training and growth within the company, as well as a wellness program.
transformation of company: This is a company that takes diversity really seriously. Also, to reinforce their culture, they have biweekly all-hands meetings.
transformation of the world: They use their algorithm to connect hundreds of millions of members to jobs. And through LinkedIn Good and InDay, there are many volunteering opportunities.
Finally, instead of having written accounts, their team members hold signs describing their work and the purpose behind it, as each colleague is expected to strive to uphold the culture and values. Not only is this a fun and succinct way to share values, but what a wonderful way to reuse these snapshots on social media and on your recruitment pages!
For Facebook, it’s all down to one question…
Not gonna lie, what we know of the Facebook culture book isn’t that exemplary. Of course, Facebook has a larger team than our other two examples and one of the most famous founders in the world. The book is pretty propaganda heavy and filled with quotes, that maybe wouldn’t feel that welcoming, but really shows the more demanding, Type A side of the company’s personality. But, for recruitment purposes, it certainly paints a real picture of the company.
On the other hand, we haven’t seen all the Facebook culture book and maybe there’s more to it. Either way, Facebook has some strong other missions, culture and values that are presented in other ways. Namely, each interviewee is asked one question that pretty much makes or breaks their chances, and it’s a fantastic one to ask potential employees in any company (at least once you know your core values):
For Facebook, this question gets to (or doesn’t get to) everything around their mission: “To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”
And this all gets into the five values of the business, which are again unsurprisingly quite Type A startup founder-minded:
You have to be bold and like to take risks.
You have to want to make an impact on the world.
You have to move fast and now worry about making mistakes.
You have to embrace openness and transparency.
And want to build social value.
How do you represent your company’s core values?
Once you’ve decided your company’s core values, you don’t have to make a book — or nowadays more likely Slideshare — of them. You can simply put them on your website under “About Us” or perhaps you can create something just for your team with your team like a work expo that allows you to display daily reminders of those values.
But first you have to figure just what those values are, so many sure to allow a safe space to share your value stories and determine which matter to you.
Then, once you have them, share them with us below!
Want to explore more about the core values driving company culture? Read these: