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May 18, 2021

Perfectly coordinated: Communicating values as a company

The previous articles in this three-part series, defining and living Corporate Values, have already provided insights into operational structures. But how do companies manage to communicate their values sustainably both internally and externally?

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© Unsplash / Tiago Felipe Ferreira

The question of harmony

Do you remember the feeling of sitting in a concert hall? You slowly take your seat, watch the other audience members do the same, wait for the lights to dim and the orchestra to enter the stage. At the beginning there are strange noises, because all the musicians are still checking the pitch of their instruments. The conductor then takes the baton in his or her hand, and from the many small individual parts a harmony suddenly emerges that makes you sink dreamily into your seat. Sometimes too good to be true. Nevertheless, this harmony is the reason to go to the concert hall. It’s why we recommend a visit to friends and acquaintances, tell them about our experience, and tell them about it.

“That’s all well and good, but what does that have to do with corporate values?” you may be asking yourself now. More than you think!

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From public chair to office chair

The difference between an orchestra and a traditional company is not that great. Both need determined leaders, well-coordinated teammates and the mutual trust that they want to create the best together. Because it is precisely the latter, i.e. trust, that is indispensable for a company. But once this value has been defined and lived within the company, how can it be authentically communicated to the outside world? In their book “Made to Stick“, the brothers Chip and Dan Heath have developed a formula that is intended to provide support for precisely this purpose. It reads as follows:

 

Simple: Use short, simple sentences without technical terms.
Unexpected: A startling element, such as a joke, an anecdote, or a play on words that grabs the recipient’s attention
Concrete: To the point and give concrete examples
Credible: Conveying credibly that promises will be kept
Emotional: Arouse emotions and feelings
Story: Tell real stories

 

This SUCCESs method creates a form of communication with which an organization can reveal its catalog of values. Instead of empty words, values are brought to life and communicated through stories. The magazine Katapult offers an example of this. On their Instagram channel, they not only answer fan mail, but also transparently communicate topics such as salary, gender ratio and the company’s account balances. This creates a lot of trust among readers.

Wertekommunikation_Team

© Unsplash / Annie Spratt

The diversity of formats

The supreme discipline is now to let these operational qualities come through in recruiting. But how do you approach new potential employees and give them an insight into the company’s dynamics? Social media, for example, are ideal for this. An Instagram Live in which colleagues talk about their work. A video on Facebook showing the office and the team. A podcast on Spotify, in which the managing directors also talk about their daily work and their expertise. All of these channels can be used to communicate the company’s values to the outside world.

The key is to tell real stories or to let the protagonists tell them themselves. Failures and hurdles are just as important to show authenticity. This is the best way for listeners or viewers to identify with the stories and build an emotional bond. Finally, again showing trust, employees are given the floor without worry and can share their experiences with the audience without shyness. In this way, applicants recognize if these principles and team dynamics appeal to them and share them as well.

Unternehmenswerte_Teambuilding
© Unsplash / Aditya Chinchure

Farewell with a reunion

As life goes, companies sometimes have to say goodbye to employees they have grown fond of. The reasons for this and the career paths of the colleagues can be very different. However, if managers support their former employees in their future careers, this creates sympathy within the existing team.

If they also share their career and their learnings on their own blog, for example, they also communicate this sympathy to the outside world. In addition, a positive relationship with former employees always has an impact on recommendations and possible future business relationships. Just like the report after a successful concert visit, this also applies to the experiences of former employers and their effect on future employees.

It is therefore clear that there are various ways in which companies can communicate their corporate values. It all depends on the interaction of everyone – from managers to interns. If a pleasant set of values is lived internally, this is also visible in the communication to the outside world. At the latest, it is also reflected in the working dynamics with customers or new employees, who can then lean back and enjoy the harmonious cooperation just like concert visitors.

Carla Gabriel on Email
Carla Gabriel