Values: the foundation of company culture


Take the word ‘teamwork’, for example, a familiar term for business and something all business want to have as a way of working. How that ‘teamwork’ is played out – what it looks like, sounds like, feels like, will be unique to each business.

It is through the definition of the chosen value words that you create the unique culture

Identify the positive and negative examples of behaviour for each value
Having the word and definition to represent your values is great but it doesn’t stop there.

For your staff to really understand what is expected of them they need to have examples of what each value looks like, sounds like and feels like when it is being done positively and also what it looks like when it is being demonstrated negatively

Why include the negative examples? Some of us we need to understand what not to do in order to be able to do what is wanted of us – it’s all about our preferred ways of thinking.

Get feedback from the rest of the staff
This is important for buy – in. Share what you have and get feedback from as many staff as you can so that everyone feels a part of their development.

Here you can have some fun with screensavers, giveaways and posters for the walls. The key to effective introduction is to immerse the whole company in the values.

Make sure that you explain why they are being introduced and the expectations that you have on the staff around their demonstration.

This is the final step – a poster on the wall and a nice coaster or mug with the values on, won’t achieve this final stage.

To embed your company values so they become the culture of the business you need to use them in all aspects of the business:

Recruitment – interview against them.
Induction – make the expectations clear and measure new starters against them during probation.
Appraisal – set values-based objectives and measure them.
Performance management – use the values when setting out your expectations of performance for employees – they can make those difficult conversations fair easier to have.
Polices and procedures – do these align with your new values? If not, then they need a review.
Having worked for many organisations form blue chip companies to SMEs, I’ve noticed that the values – and a lack of them – has been influential when it comes to how their staff feel and perform.

I am privileged to have worked with several organisations to develop their values and support the embedding of them across the business.

There is nothing better than walking through a company to see and hear the values being demonstrated.

It’s also rewarding to review reports on the improved performance that the business sees as a result, including:

Reduced absenteeism.
Increased productivity and wellbeing.
Increased engagement.
Increased staff retention.
Improved staff survey results, and more.
Company values are about more than just a poster on the wall and can make a significant difference to your business when developed properly.

Once they are embedded they will drive your culture, enabling you to reap the rewards of a strong high performing team.


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