Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries


Last week we talked about the importance of organisational culture, ‘how we do things around here’, which ultimately impacts on business performance. This week I want to share with you the importance of values to set, steer and guide the culture. Research suggests that the more people identify with your organisation’s core purpose and values, the stronger the culture tends to be (CIPD,2014). An organisations values provide a guiding light for the behaviours and standards expected in the business.

Your values will be unique for your business and can be a great way to differentiate your organisation from others in the sector. For example, a core value at Pro-Development is making a difference; ‘We do what we do because we want to make a difference. We want to see and feel a difference when we are working with our clients. We will only do work when we know that it will lead to a positive outcome.’ This provides a guiding light for us in the work we do. If employees can identify with your values and feel passionate about them, they will feel more motivated and engaged which will positively impact on business performance. This can be easy in the early days of an organisation when the people you work with are very closely aligned with your values. But as you grow, there can be a ‘tipping point’ where problems in the business increase and it doesn’t feel like it used to. This is often when the leader doesn’t have regular face to face contact with people, relying on others to keep the values alive and they can become diluted over time which may impact on the success of the business.

Do your people know what your values are and do you articulate them on a regular basis as well as role modelling them?

A powerful way to do this is through a team development event. This can be a great way to bring your people together, reinforce the values and celebrate success. If this is something that you would be interested in, please get in touch as we can build a bespoke event that can help you to develop and strengthen your values.

It is important to think about the potential impact on values and culture before implementing change. If change has been implemented, for example, to structure and processes, this can impact on engagement, and ultimately on customer experience. It can also be difficult to uphold culture and values across multiple locations. To ensure that the values that differentiate you as a business are not lost over time, you need to know what’s going on with your people. We can help you through our employee engagement survey and, of course, we’ll only do it if we know it will lead to a positive outcome.

Here are some top tips for retaining your culture, values and purpose over time:

• Look out for subtle signs that your employees are becoming less engaged with your business as you grow.

• Articulate your purpose and values in a way that reflects your founding principles but also in a way that your people can identify with.

• Tell your story to increase employee engagement and sense of ownership.

• Consider how introducing new formal processes and procedures will affect your business culture.

• Your values and purpose need to be the golden thread through all your people practices, especially your recruitment practices.

• Be a role model. Live the values.

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