Company values – don’t let them just be words on your wall!
If I had a pound for every time I asked someone what their company values were and they turned to point to the wall behind them, then I’d currently be sat in Ibiza not needing to work!
Many businesses that I know have a brilliant set of values but if they remain just words on a wall, then it is simply a branding exercise, which is unlikely to yield an ROI. Today’s blog is going to look at where most businesses go wrong from my experience when it comes to values and why anyone should bother having them in the first place.
Firstly, I’d like you to ask yourself the following couple of questions…
Do you have a set of clearly defined values within your business?
What impact do these values have on the daily conduct and behaviour of your teams?
Do you believe that a set of values can play a key part in improving company performance?
Where I’ve seen most companies go wrong?
As mentioned above I’ve come across numerous scenarios where business owners have treated their company values as a branding exercise. Which is great but as with anything in business, if there’s no clear return on investment then what is the point?
Ok yes, it may “help your clients see you in a different light” but if your values are not guiding daily, monthly, quarterly and annual behaviours then you’re potentially missing out on a great performance improvement opportunity across your business.
Your behaviours are the ongoing activities carried out by you and your team, that demonstrate each of your values. For example, at Rencai one of our values is being relationship centred. (Thankfully relationships is also a personal value of mine which makes things easier). But, whenever presented with the opportunity, me and the team are expected to show signs of putting relationships first e.g. helping another member of the team to meet a deadline OR referring one of our partners into one of our clients.
We’ve found that putting processes and tools in place to measure behaviours is really important. Typically reviewing this data during performance reviews is useful, as although someone may not be your top performer that month, they’ve made a positive impact on your culture and helped to move the business forward. E.g. within Rencai we have a behaviour which is to “help a member of the Rencai team” and we’re expected to do this once a week. If we hit this metric then we are recognised and sometimes rewarded, if we do not meet this then we discuss how we can work together to ensure we meet it at the next performance review.
I firmly hope that this blog is helping you to understand the importance of having clearly defined behaviours, that underpin your values and the need for measurement.
Why are values important?
- Consistent working culture – once your values and behaviours framework is working effectively, it will begin to create consistency in the way that your teams work together.
- Recruitment – equally, when you come to recruit new members of the team, you can recruit based on these values that will help the new employees to get up to speed quicker and fit into the culture better.
- Recognition – as mentioned above, this provides you with the chance to recognise staff in a new way, which doesn’t just link to performance. Try to think back to roles that you have had in the past, how important was recognition to you?
In summary, a clearly defined set of values which are underpinned by a behaviours framework can have a transformational impact on what you SEE, HEAR AND FEEL across your business. It provides a set of guidelines on how employees conduct themselves and can also be used to help drive performance. If you’re considering developing a new set of values, then I’ve left a few tips below…
- Define your values
- Ask for feedback – in order to ensure that the values represent your business, always ask for feedback from your staff on what they think the values should be.
- You can have as many as you like and they can be whatever you want – our clients typically go for around four values.
- Define behaviours
- Consult with your team – it is so important that you consult with your team throughout the process, as this really helps adoption.
- Working with your team, design a series of behaviours that you’d like to see daily, monthly, quarterly and annually, to underpin each value.
- Agree measurements
- Just like having values on the wall, it is pointless to have values and behaviours, yet not measure them.
- Whether this is done via systems that you use for performance reviews or even manually, ensure that you measure!
- Brand, Launch and Adopt
- It is still important to get them stuck on the wall! Once done, you can then officially launch your new values to get the team excited.
- Finally, ensure that you are constantly looking for ways to help people adopt the new values and behaviours, get feedback and take action.
Always happy to hear people’s thoughts – please get in touch with any questions.
Employee Engagement and Client Delivery Consultant