The Value of Values

I was recently asked to write a guest blog for appraisal and 360 feedback specialist, Bowland Solutions.  In this post I discuss how to successful embed values into an organisation, how to keep them alive and why they are so important.

The value of values

Many businesses claim that they are clear about their organisation’s values. They proudly display them on their wall above their reception and promote them on their website, yet when you ask staff about the values they either can’t recall them or are cynical about them.

Why have values?

Values define the personality and culture of a business. They are the DNA of any organisation. They are particularly useful for helping recruit the right staff and helping the business make the big decisions. Values provide an outline and framework for appropriate behaviours both internally, towards each other and externally towards customers.

Embedding values

So how do you embed values into an organisation and ensure that they are lived every day? Values words in themselves are not that useful. However, defining the behaviours that underlie the values is what brings them to life. Where possible making the definition of values an inclusive process gets the buy-in from the whole organisation.

An Example

A client wishes to define their values so they send out a 100-word exercise to all staff asking them to pick five words from the list that they believe defines the company today and in the future. The input is collated and the top 10 words identified. From this list the management team picks three words that differentiate themselves from their marketplace and identifies who they are and/or who they aspire to be.

Bringing them to life

Once we have these words, we now need to define the behaviours that underlie them. So for each word we look at the behaviours both internally (company to employee, employee to employee etc.) and externally (company to client, etc). This work then needs to be rolled out throughout the whole organisation.

To bring and keep the values/behaviours alive there are a number of activities that can be done including assigning staff different words to own, to celebrating examples of staff who demonstrably live the values, to creating visuals that are displayed on the walls to incorporating a discussion about values in the recruitment and induction process and incorporating feedback around the values/behaviours in performance appraisal & 360 degree feedback processes.

Values in themselves are not that useful, it’s the behaviours that underlie them that brings them to life and provides a day-to-day demonstration of those values in action.

Get in touch to find out more.

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