Corporate values are a core part of creating a strong cultural identity for your company, and helping employees understand which behaviors are encouraged and embraced is key to making them a reality. Without a strong cultural identity, there can be low employee morale, high turnover, and a toxic level of politics—all things we experienced at Anaplan two years ago. How do you begin the process of selecting values that enliven and inspire your organization’s culture? Below, I’ll go into detail about how to get started and offer some tips based on what I’ve learned from leading the culture charge here at Anaplan.
Defining your corporate values: Where to start
Two years ago, we realized that our current corporate values no longer reflected where we were going as a company. With the tremendous growth and evolution we’d experienced, we needed new values to engage our employees and reflect the culture we aspired to have. So we went straight to the source. Our Culture Team, a global, cross-functional group of employees passionate about our culture, held workshops around the world asking employees to tell us what our values should be based on the company culture they wanted to aspire to. Anaplan’s values today are a result of that grassroots labor of love.
To begin the process of defining your corporate values, start by asking yourself and your employees questions and brainstorming a list of words that reflect who you currently are as a company and where you want to evolve. Questions such as, “How would you describe our culture?” or “In a perfect world, what would our culture look like?” You may have already come up with values, but perhaps they don’t accurately represent your company anymore. If that’s the case, you should strive to redefine them not only based on who you are, but who you aspire to be.
How to live your corporate values every day
Coming up with your values is only a start, and frankly, that’s the easiest part. Now comes the tough but necessary work of bringing the values to life. Here’s what you can do (and what we’ve done at Anaplan) to embed them into your organization’s cultural DNA:
1) Launch a social media campaign and create a hashtag
To reinforce your corporate values and encourage employee engagement, create a culture hashtag and launch an internal and external social media campaign where employees can share stories and photos of how they live their values every day. At Anaplan, we created the hashtag #AnaplanLOVE so our employees can engage with each other and share how they embody our corporate values.
To take it one step further, you can:
- Have a culture contest: Ask employees to use any medium to show how they live their values every day. Our employees came up with original songs, videos, dance moves, and poems. Check them out here. You can also search #AnaplanLOVE on social media to see how our employees are bringing our values to life into the real world.
- Create culture awards: To create a culture of recognition and positive reinforcement, allow employees to nominate their colleagues for culture awards. When employees have a way to openly appreciate one another, the result is a more authentic and high-performing workplace. At Anaplan, employees nominate their peers and the submissions are reviewed by our Culture Team, keeping to the bottoms up approach to growing our culture.
2) Embed values into how you hire, assess, and grow
You can build a stronger culture by creating processes and programs that use your values to assess talent and develop your leaders and employees. If you interview at Anaplan, chances are you’ll get asked several questions testing for how well you embody one or more of our values.
3) Visualize the values
When designing your office space, not only should it be functional and engaging, but it should also be an extension of your brand and values. Get creative by incorporating your corporate values into the office experience with signage and free swag for employees. In the past year, we’ve opened new offices around the world, and each office has elements of our values incorporated into the design via signage. Additionally, we created cards with our values on them that employees can attach to their building access cards, a handy reference when they need a reminder.
4) Get support and buy-in from leadership
Getting buy-in from leadership is critical if you want to create a best-in-class corporate culture that focuses on values first. Our leaders are passionate champions of our values. What sets them apart is that rather than dictate what our culture and values should be, they rely on the ideas and actions of the employees to drive our culture. Our executives make it a priority to participate in the initiatives and encourage their employees to do so as well. They strive to live the values every day.
Bringing values to life at Anaplan
Open, authentic, inclusive, collaborative, and creative: These may sound like your everyday corporate values or not particularly unique, but we bring them to life at Anaplan by making employees feel empowered and inspired. We created statements for each value to further describe what it means to embody that value.
This is just the start, of course. Building a strong culture around company values is an ongoing journey—one that we are excited to carry forward. If you’re inspired by our values and want to be a part of a company whose employees are passionate and empowered, visit our Careers page for available opportunities. Our team is looking for top talent who are skilled at their job, but also who can exemplify our values every day, or, as we call it, #AnaplanLOVE.