Thanks for stopping by again for this week’s blog! Today we’re talking about values and behaviours.
So, what do we really mean by values? Well, in the business sense – it’s the way in which we treat people, how we expect to be treated in return and essentially our promise to our employees, customers and clients.
I think we can all say that we’ve worked for places at some time or another and frowned at their values, frowned because they’re the exact opposite of how they actually work! Come on, I know at least one of you has seen this before!!
So, what’s wrong with that you say (well you probably don’t but it’s for dramatic effect!)?
Values are no longer just a tick in the box exercise, something to plaster on the wall, and share with your potential clients as a ‘promise’ of how you’ll behave and deliver.
In a world where agility in the working environment is so easy, values are becoming increasingly important to employees. Studies show company culture is the number one* deciding factor in whether to choose a prospective employer, stay with said employer and rave (or not!) about said employer.
We see all the time employers not being able to understand why they’re not retaining staff or attracting the candidate profile they want for their roles. When we peel back the layers of the problem (much like an onion), we tend to see the company faced with misalignment between what they say they do and what they actually do.
And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because doing what you do might actually be the best way of doing things – it’s just that you say you do another so therefore you’re not meeting the expectations of those around you.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s say one of your values is Passion. Passion can be interpreted to mean many things – passion to strive for success, passion to ensure excellent customer experiences, passion to be the best you can be, passion to work openly and without restriction because you know it will work, because it’s your passion… you see where we’re going with this?
OK good, so – imagine then, a prospective employee sees this and thinks “AMAZING, I’m passionate, I need this passion to be evident in my next employer”. The employee joins the business and as they start to integrate and get to know your business they find the following:
- They’re not able to work without restriction because there are clear guidelines on what needs to be done, when and why – for good reason, it’s tried and tested and it works.
- They’re not able to strive for passionate customer service because there are strict measures on how to handle all complaints/enquiries with little flexibility.
So not only does your employee feel they can’t act passionately, but the customer on the other end of the phone/email/ doesn’t feel passion either, therefore hindering their belief in your values.
The problem we have here is, the word Passion as a value has been misconstrued. You’ve not been able to clearly identify the BEHAVIOURS that underpin your values. So, what’s happened is, an interpretation of the value has been made and its alignment with the original meaning of YOUR interpretation of this value is slightly off.
What happens here is, the employee becomes disengaged, feeling as though their values and your values are out of sync and they start to look for other roles.
This is just one of the issues you could face having values that aren’t aligned to your ‘now’ and your behaviours.
Values aren’t static, you don’t have to write your values and then that’s it, cast them in stone and never review them again.
Values can be agile, in the same way your business needs to be to stay successful.
We work with clients who have identified a need for change, and we start by asking them their WHY.
- WHY do you do what you do?
- WHY do your employees like working for you?
- WHY do your customers keep coming back?
Do you know your WHY?
Once you’ve defined your why, you can work backwards into your HOW.
- HOW do you treat people?
- HOW do you expect to be treated?
- HOW do you stay successful?
Once you’ve got all of this intact, we can work on how to align your policies, procedures, practices, documents, engagement, recruitment, employee relations, actually everything, with your values and behaviours. The importance of this? See above.
*source The Society for Human Resource Management