“I have decided that this is the year I am getting married,” declared Charlotte York on the HBO series Sex and the City. Desperate to be a wife, Charlotte found solace within a fictitious book called Marriage, Incorporated: How to Apply Successful Business Strategies to Finding a Husband. In it, she learned that she shouldn’t be spending so much time with her “dysfunctional single women” friends, but, instead, she should spend time with her married friends. Bachelor friends of married men were New York’s “best untapped resource,” per Charlotte. In other words, Charlotte sought nontraditional means to find her perfect “candidate” essentially, taking the law into her own hands to find her soul mate. Related: What Shopping Habits Say About A Job Seeker What does this mean when it comes to finding a job? Competition is fierce. In particular, people who have a more “generic” skill set (i.e., a liberal arts background and little specialized skills) have a difficult time differentiating themselves. They have to get creative, like Charlotte from Sex and the City. A recent blog post from the Wall Street Journal entitled “Have Liberal Arts Degree, Will Code” points out that liberal arts majors are turning “techie” by developing coding skills. One Duke University English and Theater studies grad found herself with a new career that earned $20,000 more per year after acquiring frontend web development skills. It’s not a foreign concept to marry the liberal arts with technology. Apple cofounder, the late Steve Jobs, once stated in a 1996 NPR interview that “[I] think our major contribution [to computing] was in bringing a liberal arts point of view to the use of computers. If you really look at the ease of use of the Macintosh, the driving motivation behind that was to bring not only ease of use to people … but it was to bring beautiful fonts and typography to people, it was to bring graphics to people... so that they could see beautiful photographs, or pictures, or artwork, et cetera... to help them communicate." So what are some technical careers that can be enjoyed by people with liberal arts degrees? “Technical” careers are broad these days. For example, my sister works for Wells Fargo. They are such a huge company that their Human Resources department has its own marketing communications team. She helps build and push out HRrelated content to their company Intranet. Some HTML she learned as a hobbyist back in 1996, when she was an undergrad majoring in Sociology, gave her the foundation to understand tools such as Dreamweaver and MS SharePoint. She has no formal tech training; just a passion to learn and adapt to new technology quickly. The point here is to take control of your career. There are skills in high demand out there, and you don’t have to have a Computer Science degree from Stanford to acquire them. Channel your inner Charlotte York: declare that this is the year you will find your dream job, and make it happen (just don’t break too many hearts along the way…).
Recently, a list of companies that have the happiest employees was circulated online. The companies were commended on their ability to promote a healthy work environment and sustain work-life balance. Pfizer came out on top with Kaiser Permanente coming in second, followed by Texas Instruments. Looking at these lists, one wonders how these companies are able to promote such a positive productive environment for their employees.
Many would think this is due to compensation packages or other related perks. But then, is work only about earning money? Is it the most important aspect when employees join a new company? What about the other factors that play an important role in building a strong bond between the employee and the organization?
- A bond that stems from mutual appreciation and respect for the value system that both parties shape together
- A bond that is dependent on many diverse factors such as recognition, open communication, and teamwork
- A bond that strengthens over time when the employee performs well
The importance of core values is illustrated by a quote from famous author and inventor, Edward de Bono: "Effectiveness without values is a tool without a purpose."
This analogy really hits home. A purposeless tool is a worthless thing and so is a company without a campus—a culture that is formed on the basis of core principles.
Core values serve to constantly guide both the employee and the company in achieving their mutual goals, in a manner that is based on an ethical and ideological framework. Every business is different, and so are their core values. Having said that, there are some principles that are alike for all, even though they may be phrased differently.
Here are four such core values every organization should have:
1. Integrity And Ethics
Simply put, the two principles of integrity and ethics translate into doing the right thing, in an honest, fair, and responsible way. Building your entire business on the foundation of honesty and integrity goes a long way toward building a strong, trusting relationship with your employees, stakeholders, and customers.
Truthful conduct on everyone's part can create a strong, credible reputation for the company in the market, which is beneficial for everyone's interests.
Without dedicated employees, a company is nothing. Period.
Committed employees form the backbone of the entire corporation. They work together with the system in order to achieve growth and profitability.
A company has a responsibility toward its employees and, if one of its core principles is showing the utmost respect to its employees, it's likely management will have a low employee turnover rate.
Respecting all employees means respecting their individual human rights and privacy, and eliminating all kinds and forms of discrimination, whether based on religion, belief, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, or physical disability. Moreover, ensuring a safe and healthy work environment for all employees is an important part of giving respect to them.
Many organizations across the globe adopt an attitude whereby the entire company interacts together like a close-knit family. Such an atmosphere helps boost the confidence of employees and makes them feel like an important, even indispensable, part of the organization. This inspires feelings of commitment and a drive to do even better.
3. Innovation (Not Imitation)
Companies that focus on being ahead of their competitors and introducing new ideas in the marketplace follow the principle of "innovation, not imitation." This is crucial if a company wants to be a trendsetter and introduce new products that consumers appreciate.
Employees in such companies are encouraged to be dynamic and come up with innovative ideas that can translate into successful products for the company. Constantly imitating others won't take the business far.
The thirst to constantly improve can be achieved if one is never satisfied. Organizations that have this principle as one of their core values try to provide a dynamic platform for their employees, where they can explore their creativity and skills and further enhance themselves.
While celebrating successes is an important thing, just sitting back and getting complacent over them is unacceptable for such companies. The reason why some companies habitually do well is because they know that employees are the most valuable resource.
Nothing compares to an employee who is dedicated and willing to go the extra mile. This requires a company to cultivate an environment that promotes respect and frowns upon politics. If you want to achieve this type of work environment at your company, these four core values are a great place to start.
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