Instilling Company Values


Words: James (Hoss) Hoskinson, President of Lang Masonry Group in Columbus, Ohio
Photos: Lang Masonry Contractors

“Core Values are the deeply ingrained principles that guide company’s actions; they serve as its culture cornerstones. They can never be compromised for convenience or short-term economic gain.”

Lang Masonry Contractors (LMC) was started in 1984 by the founder and sole proprietor Damian Lang. Today, LMC and our sister companies have grown to over 500 employees. It would be hard for me to guess how many employees have come and gone over the past 38 years, but I do know we have eight employees with over 30 years of service. 

Our rock for retaining employees is our core values. They are:

V-Value Honesty

A-Amazing Judgment

L-Leading by Taking Action 

U-Unified Team

E-Exceed Customer Expectations 

S-Swift to Change 

Establishing core values is important. Even more important is remembering what they are and operating the business by them. To achieve this, we have the company's core values framed and placed in every room in the offices. After touring our operations for a day, a couple of customers were telling Damian how impressed they were with our core values hanging on every wall in every office and conference room and commented that they were surprised they were not plastered on our bathroom walls. Guess where they ended up the next week? You got it; right on the bathroom walls where you cannot miss them when you are relieving yourself. The purpose of this is that there is a constant reminder of the principles we stand for.

When the time comes to hire an employee for a position within our company, we conduct an interview to determine if they are a good fit or not. During the interview process, we want to see if he or she holds the same core values that the company was built on and stands for. Along with determining their core values, we also look for experience and attitude. Once we have confirmed those three things, we make our decision on hiring that individual. Once they are part of the team, they experience how we all make decisions based on those core values.  

One time, I hired an employee that did not fit our core values but seemed as though he would be excellent at performing his job duties. We really needed some help due to the growth that we were experiencing. I thought to myself, "How often do you find someone with this much experience?" I figured that, with a little training and development, he would come around and develop some of the core values that he lacked. Guess what? I was wrong to think these core values could be trained that late in his career. After a few weeks, I started getting complaints about the way he was talking to the customers, which displayed he was not “Exceeding Customer Expectations”. We also found he was telling the customers one thing, and us another story. This defied our “Value Honesty” core value. So, I had to “Lead by Taking Action” and let this person go. 

We all need direction. That direction must be consistent. If your company has not established core values that drive the decisions of everyone from the top to the bottom of your organization, I recommend you develop them now and hang them on every wall at your place of business. It may even provide for some great reading while relieving yourself in the bathroom. 

James (Hoss) Hoskinson is the president of Lang Masonry Group based in Columbus, Ohio. 

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