Let’s talk about the values of your organization – and why they are important both for you as the owner and for your staff to understand and all of the organization to be living them.
These values describe the core ethics or principles which the company will abide by, no matter what. They inspire employees’ best efforts and constrain their actions. Over time, they will improve the organization’s ethical character as expressed in its operations and culture.
Our values are important because they help us to grow and develop. They help us to create the future we want to experience.
Every individual and every organization is involved in making hundreds of decisions every day. The decisions we make reflect our values and beliefs, and they are always directed towards a specific purpose. That purpose is the satisfaction of our individual or collective needs. There are four types of values that we find in an organizational setting: individual values, relationship values, organizational values, and societal values.
The Barrett Values Centre says:
Individual values reflect how you show up in your life and the specific needs-the principles you live by and what you consider important for your self-interest. Individual values include enthusiasm, creativity, humility, and personal fulfillment.
Relationship values reflect how you relate to other people in your life, be they friends, family, or colleagues in your organization. Relationship values include openness, trust, generosity, and caring.
Organizational values reflect how your organization shows up and operates in the world. Organizational values include financial growth, teamwork, productivity, and strategic alliances.
Societal values reflect how you or your organization relates to society. Societal values include future generations, environmental awareness, ecology, and sustainability. Corporate Social Responsibility is important for every business. Mine is that I recycle and buy less plastic and clothes. I purchase refills so I reuse containers. It’s both a CSR and a personal value. I work from home so all these reflect on my business too. Corporate Social Responsibility is important for all organizations and how you display CSR will depend on your values.
Values are part of your unique organization identity.
Your staff and your clients also have their own values which will influence their behavior. The greater the alignment between their personal and your organizational values, and the greater the alignment between your people’s values, the greater the rapport, loyalty, and commitment people will have to your organization and its success. In a later blog post, I will be talking about Values-based Recruitment, which helps you with staff engagement and reduces turnover of staff.
The way your staff and you behave towards clients is how the public will perceive the culture of your organization.
I went to a garage to have my tyres changed. They said good morning, addressed me politely, had a warm room with a television where I could wait. They had toilets. I was there for 1.5 hrs so all these things were important. I would use them again. They had put a cover on the seat so my car remained pristine. I had good service and they had thought about my needs too.
So what are the key attributes of values-led businesses?
They are good at what they do.
They see values as a major motivator for staff. Values motivate and tell a story both internally and to the outside world. They are open and trustworthy. Duty of Candour is a key criterion of the CQC.
You should have clear processes in place which ensure that values are the basis of a shared purpose that is understood and transmitted throughout the business.
Values place clear expectations on staff as to how they relate to each other, to suppliers, and to customers. Poor company culture costs the UK economy Billions of Pounds. The Breathe Culture Economy Report states that culture is just as important as a business strategy. Integrating culture into business strategy is key. Starting from Day 1 means you can have the kind of culture you want rather than one that grows organically and may not be the type of culture you want.
So, ask yourself honestly:
Is your workplace somewhere that you would choose to show up to? Somewhere you would bring your whole self to? Somewhere that would inspire you to go beyond the call of duty? Does it offer a supportive community and an overarching purpose?
Now put yourself in the shoes of your employees, what would they say about your business culture?
If you don’t have employees yet what would you want future employees to say?
In the previous blog post, I tackled Purpose and Vision; I spoke about Engaged and Disengaged organizations. Values help you to have an Engaged organization with a great culture by everyone bringing their whole self to work.
According to Edgar Schein – “Organizations do not adopt a culture in a single day, instead, it is formed over time, adapting to the external environment.”
Those within the organization form from their past experiences and start practicing them every day thus forming the culture of the workplace. The new employees also strive hard to adjust to the new culture and fit it in. Schein believed that there are three levels in an organization’s culture:
Level 1 is the mission statement and the visible documents etc,
Level 2 is those shown up in operations and in surveys
Level 3 is the unspoken taken-for-granted assumptions of the organization.
Overall, good culture stems from its leadership having a clear idea of what they want from people. Clarity of role and expectations is critical to individual success.