All too often, organisations spend time, money and energy defining values for their organisation only for them to fall flat. There values becoming no more than words displayed on a wall; a poster displayed for all to see but with no real substance or understanding by their clients or employees.
When properly engrained in a business, company values act as very powerful tool. They drive a shared sense of purpose, lay a strong foundation for all decision making and business activities, influence an employee’s engagement and the relationships you have with your clients and stakeholders.
It is important to recognise that strong foundational values take thought, consideration and most important of all time and consistency. These factors are essential in developing, implementing, engraining and ultimately bringing values to life in an organisation.
What are company values?
Company values are a set of principles, beliefs, and attitudes specific to an organisation.
Well-known global companies such as Google, Adidas and Starbucks are renown not only for their brand but their strong underlying values and subsequent exceptional reputation for their employee experience. What these organisations do well, is ensuring every employee or potential employee has a clear understanding the values. This is likely to field through to every single recruitment process the organisation undertakes, ensuring only people who align themselves with the organisation’s values are hired.
Why are company values important?
Richard Barrett spoke it best in his book Importance of Values in Building a High-Performance Culture when he said, “Values and behaviours drive culture, culture drives employee fulfillment, employee fulfillment drives customer satisfaction, customer satisfaction drives shareholder value.”
Furthermore, a study undertaken by Right Management of 28,000 employees across 15 countries found that the top driver of employment engagement was a personal commitment to an employer’s core values.
Company values are the foundation of everything! They guide all actions and decisions within an organisation and underpins how clients are treated and the expected behaviour of employees.
Company values should be unique and relevant to an organisation
To see the true value in having company values much thought and consideration must be given to the creation of values. There is no cookie cutter, quick and easy way to create and implement values. On the contrary, organisations that ‘copy’ values and don’t spend that time developing values unique and meaningful to their organisation will ultimately fail to see any real impact in having values at all.
Organisations with corporate values (particularly organisations who have gone through a significant period of change/growth significant growth/acquired business/changed ownership/older organization etc.) should question the relevance of their corporate values. It is important to assess if an organisations values are still meaningful or aligned to their organisation, if they aren’t, then a redesign process should be undertaken.
Company values should be part of the DNA of an organisation
Organisations should ensure their values are prominent and be the supporting foundational structure of the organisations. In assessing how effective your corporate values are, organisations should question the following:
- Do all employees in the organisation know and understand the Company values?
- Are the company values engrained into the culture of the organisation?
- How aligned are the key processes in the organisation to the Company values?
- Do the organisations systems and processes enable the Company values?
- Are employees consistently held accountable for behaviour aligned to the values?
Where an organisation is answering no to the above questions, they should assess whether they need to redefine new values for their organisation or reinvigorate life into their current values.
Once an organisation has developed, redeveloped, or reinvigorated your values the key is to ensure they are well engrained into the business. This should form part of a wider communications and project plan. Some ideas for this engraining the values are as follows:
|Job Descriptions||Ensure your values form part of every Job Descriptions in the organisation|
|Values Based Recruitment||Ensure the organisations recruitment practices align to hiring new employees based on the mission and values of the organisation.|
|Pre- start information||Provide information to new employees on the company values before they start. This could include a welcome letter, brochure, promotional material etc.|
|Induction||Values should form a key part of every induction
process: this could be a presentation, video or workshop to ensure they fully understand the values.
|Policies||Policies such as the code of conduct should be updated to reference company values|
|Team Meetings||Values should form part of every team and companywide meeting|
|Run Values Month||Each week throughout a chosen month an organisation should highlight a value, providing information and examples of each.|
|Peer-to-peer recognition system||Launch employee of the month (or similar) award to be linked behaviours aligned to company values.|
|Sharing your values story, often||Post on company communication tool about the values and provide examples of where employees are living the values.|
|Create promotional material||Develop promotional material such as mugs, posters, pens which highlights the company values.|
|Employment Hero||Have your values on the Employment Hero home page and listed on the values tab|
|Process Alignment||Ensure the values are aligned to EVERY SINGLE process in the business|
|Accountability Alignment||Ensure all employees are held accountable for behaving in alignment with the company values.|
Values are important in every organisation but the development and implementation of these into a business takes time, consistency and a great degree of care to ensure businesses experience the full benefit of having values in a business.
About Employment Innovations
Employment Innovations is one of Australia’s leading providers of employment services designed to increase productivity and ensure compliance. Its services and solutions include all the tools that every Australian small to medium sized employer needs – including workplace advice, legal services, payroll solutions, migration, human resource management and HR software.
The information provided in these blog articles is general in nature and is not intended to substitute for professional advice. If you are unsure about how this information applies to your specific situation we recommend you contact Employment Innovations for advice.