The kind of work environment you create, in terms of the office ambience and values, becomes your agency’s culture. It is a powerful element that shapes your work relationships and work processes. So, how can you define agency core values and shape your work culture?
Start by writing down your agency’s mission, vision, and value statements. These statements should convey the purpose, direction, and driving forces of your education or migration agency. They will help inspire the team, convince clients about opting for your services, and build the work culture.
The more clearly you can articulate these statements from the very beginning, the less time and resources you will need to spend in the near future. Here are few reasons and methods to define your agency culture and core values:
Clarifies your agency’s communication strategy
Communication happens to be the key for all your agency interactions, so getting it right is essential. Whether it is with client, stakeholders or employees, clarity in communication will make work easier and more productive for everyone in the agency. Good mission, vision and value statements help improve communication strategy in these ways:
Everyone is on the same page
When your agency’s mission, vision, and core values are clear and easy to understand, it brings everyone on a common platform. The entire team knows what to do, without having to remind them constantly.
Makes your agency more organised
These statements will help create a business direction for your agency. It brings a sense of order to your agency business by providing efficiency and a clear path to success. Clarity in communication will motivate your employees to perform better as well.
Saves time and money
Instead of spending time and resources to rectify your agency’s communication strategy later on, it is better to get it right from the start. Doing so much later is not impossible, but it will cost you a lot of time and money as well as confuse many employees, while you are in the middle of a growing business.
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Defines your agency and gives direction
Many businesses tend to move so fast, that they do not take the time to define themselves. These companies can still perform in the short-term, mostly due to the momentum generated by their initial breakthrough. However, they are unable to capture the opportunities, which arise from that momentum.
Consistent understanding bodes well for the future
When agencies grow rapidly, they need to stay more focused than ever! This is where it is important for your entire team to be on the same page. Developing your mission, vision and value statements mid-way through your business will cause confusion among the stakeholders and employees.
Keeps the team together
These statements will help your team to work together seamlessly. Confusion about agency mission, vision and its values lead to conflict among team members. This conflict is a result of frustration from lack of clarity about the motivation behind your business. Miscommunication is a sure sign of conflict in the workplace!
Makes the most of business opportunities
As your agency business grows, you will get plenty of opportunities to diversify the services or work towards bigger growth. Having a clear and well-defined mission, vision and value statements attracts the right investors and others who may be interested to collaborate with your agency.
Finding the purpose
To create your mission statement, first identify your “winning idea”. This is the idea that will make your agency unique and attract clients. Start by describing the overall purpose of your agency:
Define your business idea
What is your agency’s core business idea, the reason behind your decision to enter the education and migration industry? It is what sets you apart from the competitors and gives you an edge over them.
Identify ways to measure success
The mission is essentially a goal your agency wishes to achieve. How will you measure its success? For instance, as an education agency, if your mission is to “partner with the world’s leading education institutions”, you will need to make a list of which ones qualify and why.
Refine your words
Once you have a clear goal and ways to measure it, refine the words of your mission statement, until it becomes precise. Make sure it is something everyone on your team can easily understand and execute.
Providing direction with core values
As much as a mission statement’s role is to connect with clients, a vision statement is internal and speaks to your team. It inspires and provides a direction to your employees. Here is how you can construct one:
Identify the impact
What impact do you want the vision to have within the agency? Bring together your team and key stakeholders, to brainstorm about the vision statement. Ask them to write down their own versions and compare for common elements.
Don’t hesitate to dream big
While constructing a vision statement, it helps to let your imagination take flight. However, it must correlate with your agency’s mission at all times and must not waver from it.
Paint a mental picture
The words should be able to show where your agency intends to be in the next 5-10 years. It provides a vision of the future for your employees as well as stakeholders.
Driving the agency forward
A value statement should reflect the core ideology of your agency, the deeply held values and principles that will drive your agency forward. It is an indication of how you wish to achieve the agency’s mission and vision. Here is how you can create one:
Take help from agency stakeholders
If you are a start-up, then you should gather all the people who are part of the agency, including the employees. If your agency is more established, then get hold of key stakeholders in the business.
Compare with your agency’s mission and vision
Ask your stakeholders to write down their value statements for the agency. Make sure they have a clear understanding of your mission and vision. Ask them whether the core values of your agency are compatible with its mission and vision.
List out keywords on a flip chart
While some of your stakeholders will be able to compile sentences, but everyone does not necessarily need to do so. Others can think of the keywords and create content that reflects agency’s values. Put all this together on a flip chart and try to create a sentence from it.
To make an impact and remain consistent with your agency’s core values and business direction, you may need to literally write down the mission, vision, and value statements. It is ineffective to just talk about it or try to memorize it! Everyone in your agency should be able to see and read it every day.