Company values are at the heart of every organisation, or should be, but how do you begin to put in place the principles and beliefs that should inform the standards, decision making and actions of everyone in the business?
Bower HR in Luton is keen to help clients focus on Employee Value Propositions (EVPs), working with them to look at their values, what the company stands for, how they can be implemented and how they impact on the workforce.
According to Bower HR Director Serena Bower, it’s important for business owners or managers to not only understand their company values, but to involve employees in identifying those values and then to communicate them across the team, and reward those who show how much they embrace them.
“Research by Gallup suggests that one in four employees don’t believe, understand or even know their company values,” said Serena. “There’s no point in simply announcing what you feel your company values to be and then leaving people to work it out for themselves, that just fosters negativity.
“People need to feel involved, and by bringing them in to the process of defining those values, engaging them and listening to them, you’ll come up with something everyone believes in, believes is important and understands.
“One approach we suggest is bringing everyone together to bounce around ideas and their views, to the point where people are just giving me words and statements they associate with the company and illustrate what they are trying to achieve. By collating all those ideas, dividing them up into categories, we’ll come up with five or six core values and a definition for each, so that everyone has been involved, and trusts and respects the process.”
The core values can focus on any number of principles – delivering good customer service, showing respect and integrity, or working collaboratively. The key factor is that they should be outlined in a way that remains fundamentally the same, even as the size and shape of the company changes.
“Take ongoing innovation, for instance,” said Serena. “As a core value the company agrees that it wants to foster innovation to help the company develop. That can take many forms, some projects will succeed, some will not, there might be a complete change of direction. But at the heart of it, employees will have the trust and confidence to innovate, knowing that they will not be judged harshly if an idea doesn’t work out, but rather they will be supported and encouraged to learn from the process, and to try again.”
Once agreed, the values need to be embedded and given purpose, going on to shape the experiences of everyone, from the owners, through to the employees and on to customers and clients. The culture of the company is critical in not only defining the values, but in delivering them and inspiring people.
Bower HR offers conventional HR services, from basic documentation to a retained service offering outsourced employment law advice and guidance – putting effective processes in place, and resolving any issues legally, quickly and efficiently. But Serena is equally passionate about encouraging clients to be forward thinking and implement good working practices, such as EVPs, that lead to a settled workforce and fewer issues.
“Getting those company values defined and in place also informs recruitment strategy,” said Serena. “If you’re hiring, you can ask questions based on the ethos of your company, assessing a candidate not only on their qualifications and experience, but how you think they will fit into your organisation and its values.
“Similarly, if it becomes clear that an existing employee is definitely not buying into the values of your company, or demonstrating them in their work, that there are tough conversations ahead to understand why and what can be undertaken to support the individual to re-engage.”
Bower HR is currently developing a partnership with an organisation that delivers peer-to-peer recognition programmes that recognise and reinforce positive behaviour, inspiring employees to engage with and drive company values.
“The important message is that we’re all in this together,” explained Serena. “Firms have to demonstrate their values, but employees need to feel like they are part of that and that their efforts are recognised. Define what going the extra mile looks like, and then reward someone when they do so.
“By working together, with the same beliefs and values, the whole team will start to build momentum and feel like they belong and are appreciated. If you empower your employees to do their best every day, that will enable positive experiences for the organisation as a whole.”
Contact Bower HR on 01582 283204, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website www.bowerhr.co.uk