Recently I found great fulfillment in making the LABUR core values a key discussion platform in our quarterly company-wide meeting. To me, the importance of core values in an organization has become more important than ever. Today, finding purpose and fulfillment in one’s job – and taking a potential employers’ values into consideration during the job search – is a higher priority than ever. Gen Z may be the ones leading the way for this priority shift, but alignment of a company’s values is and should be paramount in this odd time in all our lives. Whether it be the strains of the pandemic, war abroad, inflation, or the social unrest in our teenagers spawned by technology, all generations of employees need to know what their company believes in and be aligned with those beliefs.
As I prepared to speak to my LABUR family, I reflected on our core values: INTEGRITY, RESPECT, ACCOUNTABILITY, COMMITMENT, and SERVICE.
This reflection reminded me of the hundreds of times that I have seen core values from our clients. After all, as a partner to our clients, we too must align with their values. My reflection brought me to a summation that most all core values displayed are roughly the same word, or a slight variation, and with roughly the same meaning, or a slight variation. So, upon looking at my PowerPoint slides on the topic, it became very important that I explain what these words mean to LABUR. I wanted to ensure the entire company knew and could identify with our definition, and that that definition defines our thoughts, words and actions. This was a big moment of clarity for me, all of LABUR, and I suspect most all companies, when it comes to words that are splashed up on websites, walls, and desk ornaments. Considering all our collective thoughts and actions over the years, our core values were summed up as such:
- INTEGRITY. Know and do what is right.
- RESPECT. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
- ACCOUNTABILITY. Take ownership.
- COMMITMENT. Bring your best to all you do.
- SERVICE. Serve others before yourself.
Now, all is well and fine with “big” words and clear definition, but the question I worry about most for LABUR – and for all companies – is, “do the words embody everything we do and take over our culture?” This is the journey we are on and I am proud to say that I see some incredible signs of what I am now referring to as “culture-fueled growth.” (I’m leasing that phrase from Mike Ettore. Thank you, Mike.)
My wish for all companies, leaders, and employees is that they too find fulfillment in the clarity of core values defined and in the cultural movement that can take place when those values embody the thoughts, words, and actions of a company. And, if we’re all in lockstep on core values at our respective companies, wouldn’t it be special if those beliefs drove us to be the best version of ourselves both at and outside of work? Core values can be just words on a wall or on paper, but they don’t have to be.