Organisational Values: How They Shape, and Drive Your Business
In today’s fast-paced, interconnected business world, it’s not just about the products or services you offer – it’s about who you are.
An integral part of ‘who you are’ as an organisation are your values.
They are the beacon of your collective identity, a shining lighthouse that guides your actions, decisions, and relationships.
But what exactly are organisational values, and why should they matter to you?
Let’s dig a little deeper and find out.
What are Organisational Values?
Just like individuals, every organisation has its unique character – a set of principles, beliefs, and philosophies that guide its decisions, actions, and overall approach to business.
These, are its organisational values.
They’re like the invisible threads that weave together the fabric of an organisation.
They create an underlying pattern that defines the company’s identity and culture, shaping the way it interacts with its employees, customers, and the world at large.
Now, these values could be anything – integrity, innovation, teamwork, customer focus, accountability, respect, sustainability – the list is endless.
They depend on what the organisation stands for and what it considers important.
In a nutshell, organisational values are the ‘how’ of doing business, dictating the behaviours and actions that take a company towards its ‘why’ – its mission and vision.
Why are Organisational Values Important?
These values are not just beautiful decorations on a company’s website.
They serve as the rudder of a ship, guiding the organisation through the vast ocean of business.
Guiding Decision Making
Organisational values act as a touchstone for decision-making at all levels of the company.
They help employees navigate complex situations by providing a framework that filters decisions through the lens of what the company stands for.
The values of an organisation shape its culture.
They set the tone for the work environment and behavioural expectations.
A strong set of values can foster a positive, collaborative and productive workplace culture.
Attracting and Retaining Talent
Today’s employees want more than just a salary.
They are looking for organisations whose values align with their own.
By clearly defining and living by a set of values, companies can attract and retain like-minded individuals who are more likely to be engaged and loyal.
Values help define a company’s character and build its reputation in the market.
They signal to the outside world what to expect from the organisation, enhancing trust and credibility with customers, partners, and stakeholders.
In essence, organisational values are the backbone of a company’s identity.
They fuel the engine that drives a company’s actions, aligns its team, and defines its place in the market.
But, like any engine, it needs the right fuel to function well, which brings us to the benefits of strong organisational values.
Let’s take a closer look.
What are the Benefits of Organisational Values?
With the ‘why’ of organisational values under our belts, let’s move on to the benefits they can bring to your organisation.
The perks of having a strong set of organisational values are plentiful.
Increased Employee Engagement
Employees who align with their organisation’s values often feel a stronger connection to their workplace.
This results in increased job satisfaction, improved morale, and higher levels of engagement.
It’s like finding a group of friends who share your interests – you naturally feel more engaged and invested.
Values serve as a decision-making compass, guiding employees to make choices that reflect the organisation’s beliefs.
This alignment can streamline decision-making and reduce conflict.
Greater Customer Loyalty
Customers tend to be more loyal to organisations that uphold values they resonate with.
If customers see and appreciate the values you stand for, they’ll likely stick around and even become advocates for your brand.
Better Organisational Alignment
With everyone in the organisation singing from the same values hymn sheet, alignment improves.
It helps ensure everyone is working towards the same goals, enhancing cohesion and collaboration.
Organisations that stick to their values tend to enjoy long-term success.
Because they stay true to who they are, even in tough times.
This authenticity can make them more resilient, adaptable, and sustainable.
Attracting the Right Talent
Clearly defined and communicated organisational values can attract candidates who align with these principles, leading to a better cultural fit and reduced employee turnover.
How to Develop Organisational Values
Developing organisational values isn’t a process of picking nice-sounding words out of a hat.
It requires introspection, conversation, and a deep understanding of your organisation’s purpose and vision.
Here are some steps to guide you:
Start by involving as many people as possible from across your organisation.
Gather their insights about what they believe the organisation stands for.
You could conduct surveys, workshops, or town hall meetings.
The goal is to tap into the collective intelligence and diversity of perspectives within your team.
Identify Core Themes
Analyse the responses and look for recurring themes.
These could point towards potential values that are already inherent within your organisation.
Remember, the best values are those that reflect the truth about your organisation, not what you aspire to be.
Define the Values
Once you have identified the core themes, start defining your values.
They should be clear, understandable, and most importantly, actionable.
Avoid buzzwords and ensure that each value is meaningful and distinct.
Align Values with Business Strategy
Your values should support and align with your broader business strategy.
They should help propel your organisation towards its mission and vision.
Once you’ve drafted a set of values, go back to your team for feedback.
This iterative process ensures buy-in from all levels of the organisation.
Finalise and Document
After refining the values based on the feedback, finalise and document them.
Make sure they are accessible and understood by everyone in the organisation.
How to Communicate Your Organisational Values
Crafting organisational values is only half the journey. The other half?
Communicating them effectively to ensure they’re more than just words on a wall.
Let’s explore how you can do that.
The endorsement and demonstration of values by the organisation’s leadership is crucial.
Leaders need to embody the values and make them an integral part of their interactions and decisions.
This sets the tone for the rest of the organisation.
Check out our blog “Wellbeing Training for Successful Leadership”
Integration in Business Processes
Values should be woven into all aspects of your organisation’s operations – from hiring and performance evaluations, to strategic planning and customer service.
The goal is to integrate the values into the DNA of your organisation.
Keep the conversation about values alive.
This could be through newsletters, team meetings, or regular workshops.
Use real-life examples to demonstrate how these values come to life within your organisation.
Training and Development
Offer training and development programs to help employees understand and embody the values.
If you have values to support employee wellbeing, organise wellbeing workshops.
Make them an integral part of your onboarding process for new hires.
Recognition and Reward
Recognise and reward employees who demonstrate the values in their work.
This not only reinforces the importance of the values but also encourages others to follow suit.
Use visual reminders like posters, screensavers, or stickers around the workplace. These serve as constant reminders of the values your organisation stands for.
Remember, your organisational values should not be a secret code, but a common language that everyone in your company speaks and understands.
With effective communication, your values will become the guiding principles for everyone in the organisation.
What’s the Difference Between an Organisation’s Values and Its Mission Statement?
Let’s decode the difference between an organisation’s values and its mission statement.
Sometimes, they can seem similar, but each plays a unique role in the organisation’s identity and direction.
Think of your mission statement as your organisation’s “what” and “why.”
It states what the organisation does and why it does it. It’s like your company’s north star, guiding its direction and purpose.
A well-crafted mission statement should provide a clear and inspiring vision of the company’s purpose and goals.
On the other hand, organisational values are the “how.”
They describe how your organisation operates and behaves on its journey towards fulfilling its mission.
These values shape the culture, influence decision-making, and create the behavioural norms within the organisation.
In essence, while the mission statement sets the direction and purpose of the organisation, the values determine how the organisation will get there.
The two should be closely aligned and feed into one another, providing a comprehensive overview of the company’s purpose, direction, and guiding principles.
How do Organisational Values Enhance Employee Experience?
In the world of work, organisational values can significantly enhance the employee experience.
Like a magnet, they can attract, engage, and retain the right talent, creating a harmonious and productive workplace.
Let’s look at how.
Alignment of Personal and Professional Values
When employees’ personal values align with their organisation’s, it fosters a sense of belonging and purpose.
They’re more likely to feel valued, committed, and motivated, leading to a more positive work experience.
Clarity and Direction
Clearly articulated values provide employees with a roadmap for their behaviour and decision-making process.
This clarity helps reduce uncertainty, empowering employees to take action with confidence.
Cultivating a Positive Work Environment
Values like respect, teamwork, and honesty can foster a positive, collaborative, and respectful work environment, enhancing employee experience and job satisfaction.
Employees who see their companies ‘walk the talk’ by embodying their values are likely to feel more engaged.
This engagement can lead to higher productivity and overall job satisfaction.
When an organisation consistently demonstrates its values, it fosters trust among employees.
This trust can enhance employee loyalty, morale, and openness to collaboration.
Enhancing Company Reputation
Organisational values can enhance a company’s reputation, making it a more attractive place to work.
This can lead to higher job satisfaction and employee retention.
In short, when done right, organisational values can be a powerful tool for enhancing the employee experience.
They create an environment where employees can thrive personally and professionally.
10 Examples of Organisational Values
Organisational values can vary greatly from one company to another, reflecting the diversity and unique character of each organisation.
Here, we’ll explore ten examples of values, along with a brief explanation of what they might mean in practice.
Integrity is all about honesty, transparency, and ethical behaviour.
For a company that values integrity, every decision is made openly, honestly, and ethically, even when no one is watching.
It’s about standing up for what is right, being accountable for actions, and being honest in all interactions.
Innovation-focused organisations encourage creative thinking, continuous learning, and the courage to take calculated risks.
They foster an environment where employees feel safe to share their ideas, no matter how out-of-the-box they might seem.
These companies value progress and adaptation, constantly seeking new and improved ways of doing things.
Companies that prize collaboration believe in the power of teamwork.
They encourage cooperation across teams and departments, fostering a culture where everyone’s input is valued and collective goals take precedence over individual glory.
It’s about creating synergies where the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts.
Respect in an organisational context means treating all individuals fairly and equally, acknowledging the intrinsic worth of each member.
Companies that uphold this value foster a culture of mutual respect and dignity, where everyone feels valued, heard, and appreciated, irrespective of their role, background, or beliefs.
5. Customer Centricity
Organisations that prioritise customer centricity put their customers at the heart of every decision they make.
They continually seek to understand, meet, and exceed customer expectations, viewing success through the lens of customer satisfaction.
Companies that value accountability encourage employees to take responsibility for their actions and decisions.
This includes both celebrating achievements and acknowledging mistakes.
It cultivates a culture where everyone feels a sense of ownership and commitment towards their work.
Companies that value sustainability are committed to making decisions that benefit not just their bottom line, but also the environment and society at large.
They consider the long-term implications of their actions and strive to balance economic performance with social responsibility.
8. Diversity and Inclusion
Organisations with this value are dedicated to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment.
They recognise and celebrate differences, providing equal opportunities to all employees, irrespective of their race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or religion.
Companies that pursue excellence strive to deliver the highest quality in everything they do.
They constantly challenge themselves to improve, set high standards, and refuse to settle for ‘good enough’.
Empathy-centred organisations strive to understand and share the feelings of others.
This extends to both internal stakeholders (employees) and external ones (customers, partners).
Empathy can drive better decision-making, improved relationships, and a more positive workplace culture.
Remember, the most effective organisational values are those that truly reflect your company’s identity, culture, and vision.
They should guide your actions and decisions, helping to shape a cohesive, positive, and productive working environment.
Organisational values are not just fancy words to be thrown around or displayed on a plaque.
They are the beating heart of your business, guiding its pulse and rhythm.
When authentically embedded into the fabric of your organisation, they can shape its culture, drive its performance, and differentiate it in the marketplace.
They also serve as a beacon for your employees, providing them with direction and enhancing their experience.
Remember, your values are unique to your organisation, reflecting its identity, character, and purpose.
Take the time to identify, communicate, and live them every day.
By doing so, you’ll not only create a thriving work environment but also a successful and resilient organisation.
Tyler Lowe – Health & Wellbeing Speaker
BSc Sport & Exercise Rehabilitation