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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Minnikin

Why Company Values Are Important

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure” is something that has been drummed into me since my early days studying to be a Psychologist. As a scientist this makes total sense to me. How do you know what good looks like, if you’ve not defined “good”?!

It’s so important to understand what good looks like in your company; what the values are, what behaviours people are expected to display, and recruit, manage and reward based on this.

Company values are the essence of your company’s identity, their principles, beliefs and philosophies; they support the vision of and help shape its culture and drive decision-making processes.

A values-based approach to recruitment and organisational development has been consistently shown to:

· Increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and profit

· Increase the quality of hire

· Reduce the cost of hire

· Increase employee wellbeing and reduce absenteeism

But most companies have values already…

I’m sure we can all think of examples of organisational “values” consisting of words splashed all over the walls – trust, integrity, honesty etc – shouldn’t these be actual values taken as the minimum requirements of doing business, (and having any kind of relationship, as it happens!)?

I’ve actually sat next to a massive ‘TRUST’ poster in an organisation and witnessed the classic case of the “excellent” salesperson who is bringing in a boatload of money, but who openly displays disruptive, obnoxious and toxic behaviour. What did the organisation do about this person? You’ve guessed it… nothing at all. Why? Because, they bring in the cash and it’s easier to turn a blind eye to their behaviour! In reality, they have an adverse effect on overall team performance. How much more could your team bring in without this negative influence?

If you were in an organisation that cares about how its people behave, this ‘excellent’ salesperson would have had their performance managed. This means that they’ll have clear expectations of how they should behave and standards the organisation holds itself to. If they fail to change their approach (with help if necessary) then it needs to be made clear that this person is in the wrong position / organisation and should be invited to leave.

Isn’t it hard to implement?

We’ve run many Values Workshops recently – both working with organisations to create their values from scratch and working with organisations who have values but have not operationalised these by defining the key behaviours that will be demonstrated against their values.

We work with organisations to design and define values that capture the culture of the business and highlight how the business leaders want themselves and everyone else to behave – the expectations of those around them. And you need these boundaries in any organisation with a strong culture, happy employees and healthy bottom line.

The clear downside is that when an organisation has a behavioural framework, the leaders have to clearly role-model the behaviours or expect challenge from their colleagues. You have to be able to walk the walk. Can you walk the walk?

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