Corporate Values – Just a ‘tick in the box’ exercise?
‘‘Culture could eat strategy for breakfast.’ Peter Drucker
Yes! We love this and know that the vast majority of businesses around the world totally underestimate it. They’ll spend heaps of time and money on strategy but fail totally on maximising their key resource – people.
The CIPD research report ‘A Duty To Care’ (July 16), stresses the importance of valid and authentic company values and culture and that the responsibility to live these lies firmly at the top. The reports cites recent scandals that have rocked various institutions across a number of sectors due to cultural and governance issues and a lack of knowledge at the top. ‘Toxic cultures are unhealthy for people and unhealthy for business.’
There is lots of research around that suggests that organisations are not getting cultures right for their employees – but it’s so easy, just humanise it! More and more of us are actively looking for another job (UK currently at 24%, CIPD) and striking figures illustrate a lack of active engagement that exists globally – Gallup Surveys in the UK, US and Australia all point out that over 70% of us are not actively engaged at work.
Organisations ignore the impact of culture at their peril.
Most organisations have a set of company values put in place to encourage a certain culture. But many of them are so BORING! As humans we all have our own unique set of values that drive our behaviour, give us purpose and impact on how we feel in different environments, within cultures, and other’s behaviour. We don’t have management speak written on our hearts though. So how to bridge the gap of leaders being human and organisations deciding on human values?
We expect our personal values to be mirrored in the world around us and can be triggered negatively when we feel our values are compromised. Corporate values are not new, however why is it that so many are not successful?
So often corporate values seem to be taken from a ‘pick list’, phrases that the board or committee feel the company ‘should have’ (as they sound good), delivered to the workforce, and hung around the offices on motivational posters with great photos, but then forgotten about once that corporate box has been ticked.
95% of our clients have a value around honesty and integrity. The values might be management speak but if what is being said is not aligned with behaviour driven from the top, then any company values, however well-meant will not be successful.
For corporate values to be successful they need to be authentic to the business they represent – not business bullsh*t . They need to be human. They need to encourage behaviours that will drive the business forward and encourage and inspire people to want to work there. Leaders and managers need to be them, show by example the values in their actions and allow the ripple effect to influence others positively.
Let’s not be bored and look for another job.