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Developing corporate values and culture: user guide.

A value is a belief that structures the identity of a person or organisation. The culture is built on the values shared within the organisation. In an uncertain world, a strong corporate culture and solid values are the pillars that make the difference, among all generations. They strengthen competitiveness, shape the employer brand, provide a framework for employees to develop and have an impact on your partners and clients. What is corporate culture? How can you genuinely identify and implement these values on a daily basis? We’ll tell you how…

Why develop corporate values and culture?

“Beyond measure and sometimes apparently beyond comprehension, culture has become the secret sauce of organisational life: the thing that makes the difference. But for which nobody has the recipe”. Margaret Heffernan.

The culture of an organisation is the implicit way it works, which makes it unique. It is a whole set of values, codes, knowledge, actions, rites, thoughts and words that come to life and are shared every day, often unconsciously. It’s that “special something” that seizes you when you first arrive, at each step, at each meeting. It’s also what the clients and partners experience, which will make all the difference: a unique, organisational genetic identity. Your company’s values constitute its culture. How are these values expressed in its products, services, operation, management, decisions and projects?

How do they reinforce the company’s direction? How do they guide its activity and its projects?

Developing your company around a strong culture will give your employees solid bases around which they can identify. When devised and put in place correctly, this culture and these values will become powerful levers for motivating your teams. Values work like a filter to establish the organisation’s standards, demonstrating to everyone the expected behaviour (what is considered normal) and what is not normal and must be changed, with considerable efficiency and control. A corporate culture and strong values also help to reinforce the employer brand and the appeal of your company, particularly to millennials, who are seeking a company that matches their values. Finally, culture is also a factor in your end clients’ buying decision, something in which corporate values are increasingly playing a larger role.

The culture and values of your company are unique.

So “be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”

Oscar Wilde

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Did you know?

Top leaders think that the most effective ways to make your employees aware of the company’s values are:
1/ Action and exemplarity
2/ Communication
3/ Collective intelligence approaches

Managers use them as inspiration and refer to them for taking decisions, managing and training employees.

Sagarmatha’s guide to developing corporate culture

While the benefit of developing corporate culture appears self-evident, it is not so easy to make it emerge, deploy it and keep it going. At Sagarmatha, we work alongside you to pick up on and bring to light your company’s values and culture, through a multi-stage process. Naturally, its services are unique each time and take into account the personality and identity of your employees.

1. Define your corporate culture

If your company was a human being, what would its qualities and character be? To define your corporate culture, you need to take a good look at your company. There will undoubtedly be values already expressed, latent values or transformations taking place that will make new values emerge. To generate a representative vision, at Sagarmatha, our advice is to co-build the company values. Through dedicated workshops, we will help you identify your values by asking your employees, to obtain a clearer, more objective vision and to ensure better appropriation. If they fundamentally believe in the company values they have expressed, they will take hold of them and embody them more naturally on a daily basis.

2. Promote the company's values

To promote the values within your company, it’s important to make them practical and attractive. A pictogram, visual or another form of graphical identification will help you communicate more easily and help your employees take the values on board.

But to give life to these corporate values every day, it’s essential that they are embodied by the directors and managers and used in their daily actions: the senior management team and the Executive Committee are the most important ambassadors of the values, along with the managers and employees. Through dedicated discussion sessions, we will help you identify the good practices to put in place, from language to guidelines on managerial attitudes. The values you embody should be transparent internally and to those around you, reflected in your ecosystem of partners, clients, start-ups, suppliers, and so on.

3. Bring your values to life

The values must be lived out in your company every day. So we recommend you organise special events to highlight the values and ensure they are taken on board by your employees.
To create bespoke events for your staff, we will support you in designing special occasions and days when your teams can experience and experiment with these values. Solidarity, attention, friendliness, excellence, enthusiasm, sharing, know-how and local service – all these values can be expressed through regular social drinks, discussion days, charity activities, pride exhibitions, Family Days or collaborative workshops, all of which will make your employees stakeholders in your corporate culture.

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At Sagarmatha, our values are:

  • Service
  • Responsibility
  • Team spirit
  • Sense of humour

Do you want to find out yours and put them into action?

Do you want to find out more?