When I hear industry colleagues ask, “Are values important?” I am always surprised. Having been in HR and recruitment for more years than I would care to admit, I can absolutely see an abundance of reasons why values make such a positive difference to companies.
As Gary Peterson, chief executive of Gap Intelligence said: “A company’s core values are not based on the ‘people who run them’, but are the very fabric of every person involved in the company – from executive team to the brand new hire.”
So as this question seems to be fairly common, here are just a few reasons why values are so important and how we approach this issue at ORM.
Company values provide a sense of connection and clarity
Your company’s values are the lenses through which all your decisions should be made. The reason why these are so important is that, as humans, we hanker after two things when we form groups: connection and clarity.
Think about when you first meet people – in reality, you only have a few close friends, yet what makes these selected people different? It is more than likely that your close friends are people with the “Similarity Attraction Effect”. People like clarity because it makes us feel comfortable and we are attracted to relationships that provide this. Likewise, company values provide a sense of connection and clarity to employees, and they describe the internal brand of a business too.
Having your internal brand and values established is one of the most important aspects of succeeding in retaining talent. Nowadays, there is so much information readily available about a company, that prospective candidates can look at everything from Glassdoor reviews to social media pages, to understand the business and if they would be a cultural fit. This is before they even step through the door for an interview.
Values are not just important for candidates to decide if we are right for them, but they are also a good gauge for us during the decision making process. They are critical in this process as they give a benchmark to assess everyone by. It is therefore important to ensure your recruitment process links heavily to your values.
Values should also be at the heart of your culture, as by holding everyone accountable to the company’s standards, the values become intrinsic to the company’s culture. The best way to hire people who represent your values is to have an office filled with like-minded people who share the same ideals. Following this, learning and development for all employees are also impacted by your values, as without them it is likely you will find employees working towards different goals which can reduce job productivity, job satisfaction and damage working relationships.
We have four values at ORM that form the guiding principles to who we are and how we behave. These are Grow, Respect, Innovate, and Trust, which form the handy acronym GRIT. Grit also means something to us – it is a trait based on perseverance and resilience, not just talent. It sums us up and is the secret to our success in helping our clients to achieve their digital freedom.
Let's break it down:
- We have the ambition and belief to flourish and achieve success together;
- Transform yourself through self improvement and personal development;
- Show confidence and pride for what you do;
- Bring flexibility, speed and quality for client success;
- We have respect for our colleagues, clients, suppliers – everyone we do business with;
- Be positive and inclusive to all;
- Have heart, offer fairness and empathy when needed;
- Accept mistakes will happen, but learn from them.
- We’re curious and will explore new ideas to find smarter solutions;
- Be imaginative to navigate hurdles and obstacles;
- Be brave and challenge established thinking with opinions and ideas;
- Show enthusiasm and passion - it’s infectious.
- Underpinning our reputation, this builds new partnerships and long-term relationships
- Act with honesty and integrity
- Be dependable and take responsibility for your actions
- Combine professionalism with clarity and openness
- Be rigorous in your understanding and approach
So, going back to our first question, “Are values that important?”, I think it is fair to say absolutely, and here are some of the reasons why:
- They differentiate you in the market;
- They dictate involvement and alignment – you can always train people in skills, yet finding people who align with your values is intrinsic to defining your culture;
- They influence overall behaviour;
- They communicate what is important – what is important to you, your employees and the company, can be clarified in your values;
- They inspire people to action – people take positive action because they aspire to live up to those values;
- They contribute to the overall success of the business;
- They shape your company culture.
Emma Rosenberg is gloabl talent director at ORM