A company’s values reflect the essence of a company’s culture and identity. Our values support the vision and directions that the company follows. They should be the driving values and beliefs that are the reasons why you chose to do what you do.
Why is it so important to put your company values down on paper and share them with your team?
- Your values are a key factor in the decision-making processes. For instance, if you value hard work than maybe you will make sure to include conditioning in every class, however if you value fun than you will make sure that every class ends with a game. And if you value both perhaps you will end every class with a conditioning game!
- Your values clarify the identity of your company. They shape who your target market will be. By clearly promoting your values, you will attract parents and students that identify with your values to chose your company.
- Values drive your hiring and staffing process. Every staff member in your program should connect to your company values on a personal level. Any staff that act contrary to the company values should not be retained long term. For instance if you value fun, you probably will avoid hiring a drill sergeant! In order to keep your brand consistent and recognizable, your values must be evident in every staff member.
By constantly reiterating your values, your company brand identity will always come first and you will attract a team and customers that share the same motives. When we worked on the company values for my gym, we worked on it as a team. It was a process (and it is still a process.) Over many conversations and exercises, we discussed each of our deepest driving beliefs and principles. We contemplated our overall life goals and why we chose careers in the fitness industry. This is what we came up with so far. I hope this template can help guide you and your staff towards the values for your company.
- Delight the Customer: We believe that every customer should walk out happy. That we should shut up and listen to their requests so that they can feel heard and appreciated. We want to make it easy and convenient for them to be a part of our program.
- Transparency: At our gym, every policy is clearly stated and shared to both staff and customers. Like when we raise prices, we explain to the parents why. Or if we are having an issue with a staff member we will have a group conversation about it. All of the company documents are stored in a shared drive that all staff have access too. To some, it may seem more worthwhile to “play their cards” and keep secrets. However, we chose to have a transparent culture because transparency breeds trust and when people trust one another that opens up so many possibilities. When there is mutual trust, people feel safe being creative and open, and that creates opportunities for our company to improve and grow.
- Personal Accountability: I like to tell my staff that it’s good to fail because failure leads to success. However, we can only turn failure into success when we own up to our mistakes. If you are late because of traffic or you can’t teach because the kids won’t listen that means you have no control over your life. When you take responsibility for the mishaps – now you can do something about it. You can leave 15 minutes earlier to account for traffic. You switch up the class lesson plan so the kids feel engaged. Now since the staff member took responsibility for the children’s behavior, they took the time to learn a better coaching method and the initial failure created the opportunity for greater success. In my experience, personal accountability is the key to group success.
- Teamwork: Lead a unified staff. Everyone wears the same uniform. The team is consistent across the board in their customer service policies, teaching methods and shared values. Never say something bad about someone who works for you or with you. Don’t gossip – it will get back to you! Be careful when you are called to give a reference. See a longer article here.
- Consistency: If you say you believe in something make sure all your actions show that. Keep everyone on the same page – every class should be the same level of quality. Every teacher should have the same level of training. The teachers should give the same amount of attention to each student. This raises brand awareness and trust. People trust they will get what they expect when you are consistent. In our classes, we do company wide lesson plans and I try to make sure that teachers run the exact same class structure, sing the exact same songs and give the same information to parents. Aside from brand awareness, consistency provides a sense of support and team spirit for the staff as well.
- Quality: It’s all in the DETAILS!! Putting effort into all the little details creates an experience. Whether it’s something as mundane as cleaning the gym thoroughly and really making every corner sparkle or taking the extra time to call a parent when a child is absent. Paying attention to the details makes all the difference because it’s those little things that sets us apart. Something I learnt from Patti Komara, is that the teacher should go to the back of the room at the end of each class and tell the parents: “Today in class we learnt XYZ and we had so much fun” Since parents always want to know what their kids learnt and most kids cannot express it, details like that make parents feel acknowledged. The local martial arts studio near my gym, Urban Martial Arts, mails a martial arts onesie every time a parent of a child in their program has a newborn baby. The parents love it so much because it’s a small detail that is unique and carefully thought out.
Your values should relate to and can help you create your company mission statement. Stay tuned for part II on how to create a mission statement.