by The Family Business Community
Having a clear understanding of your family business DNA, in other words what makes you unique, underpins everything you do and can play a large part in your business success.
Your family business DNA can be broken down into your vision, values and business essence.
We like to think of a business’s essence as being what lies at the absolute heart of the business. Layer on your family business vision and values and that’s what gives people a great understanding of who you are as a business.
Many family businesses that we speak to can describe these to us, but often they are not written down or communicated across the business or outside the business.
Articulating your family business vision and setting your values is not an easy task. Your company values (the beliefs, philosophies, and principles that drive your business) should reflect the business as a whole including the family element, including the heritage of the business, the values of the family, the employees, the culture and the business strategy. When setting the values, our advice is always to be bold and to be prepared to live by them.
So why it is important to communicate your family business DNA?
- To inform and guide your employees, helping them make the right decisions
Having a clear set of values helps your employees understand what you stand for. Your company values also give them guidance for their work so they are more likely to make the right decisions, working towards the company’s vision and goals.
Having well-defined company values also helps to provide a moral code to guide employee’s behaviour, as well as sense of shared responsibility for upholding these.
- To improve your internal communication
Good communication between your internal team can play an important part in creating a desirable company culture, and in increasing employee engagement and satisfaction. Having a clear vision and set of values can also help to avoid confusion between employees, instead encouraging them to work together on the shared vision.
Now in the post-pandemic world, with many businesses offering hybrid working or where a proportion of employees are working remotely, teams are less connected so it’s arguably more important than ever to aid employee engagement through effective internal communication.
- To improve employee motivation
An effectively communicated vision and values will help to achieve buy-in from your team. If time is taken to explain the vision and the reasons behind the company values, employees will have a better understanding of those values and be better equipped and more motivated to help achieve them.
A worthwhile by-product of investing this time is to increase employee motivation and engagement. Engaged employees are also more likely to strongly believe and share your company values.
- To attract and retain the right people
Company values are an important consideration for most job seekers, therefore communicating these on your website, in job adverts and during the interview process is key.
Job seekers have an interest in finding a company with values that they can get on board with. Likewise, as an employer, you want to recruit the ‘right’ people that will fit with the culture of your family business, in turn helping to keep your staff turnover low.
- Help your customers understand who you are
In a world of information overload, you want to be able to communicate your business essence to your stakeholders, quickly and clearly.
Having a clear set of values can help position your brand within the marketplace and differentiate your business from the competition. Similarly to your employees, you want to achieve buy-in from your customers based upon shared beliefs or principles. This can help to strengthen customer relationships and brand loyalty in the long-term.
- Improve your business decision-making and strategy.
Your values should impact your business strategy and all decisions should be aligned towards those values. Working to a set of long-term guiding principles can help to make decision-making easier and more consistent. It will also help to manage the expectations of employees and customers.
Critical to all of the above is how the vision and values are regarded by the family business leaders. If they are regarded as a tick box exercise or just some wording on a website, there is little chance that they can be harnessed effectively.
The vision and values that underpin any family business need to be demonstrated, lived and breathed by those at the top in order to gain the buy-in and loyalty of the extended team and to a certain degree, the outside world.
Here at The Family Business Community, we work with family businesses across all sectors who need help with forming and implementing their vision and values. For further advice or support on any of the above, please get in touch with a member of our team via firstname.lastname@example.org.