At Great Place to Work Ireland, we are privileged to partner with innovative clients from a variety of industries. We are privy to their values, and the means through which these values are brought to life amongst the Best Workplaces in Ireland. Values can be conceived of as guiding principles which inform organisational decisions, and as statements of intent to unite staff under common goals. Throughout this article, we will outline the means through which values can be integrated into your organisation’s operations. If you are a member of an organisation yet to conceive of a value set, we will share how our partners have achieved this goal on their Great Place to Work journey.
A particularly effective means of introducing values into the hiring process is through value indicative behaviours. As an example, if an organisation had a value of “Collaboration”, a feasible value indicative behaviour could be “works well with others”, so an interview question which facilitates this line of enquiry could be “tell me about a time when you had to navigate any issue while working on a group project”. The candidate’s response to this question is assessed through the lens of the value, with it then possible to consider culture fit within the organisation.
Much like Hiring, it is the setting of expected behaviours through value linked behaviours which is important. Let us consider an organisation with a value of “Open Communication”. Naturally, it is crucial that leaders within this company can facilitate meaningful conversation with their teams. Here, a leader’s development may involve training on difficult conversations, emotional intelligence and more. It is through providing the skills to live values that these values are embedded into the organisational culture.
Another area in which values can be brought to life is that of Thanking, where values provide a framework for acknowledging the efforts of employees. Let us consider an organisation with values of “Collaboration, Safety, Customer-Centred and Innovation” and imagine they have an intranet system in place. The next step in bringing these values to life would be to ask employees to recognise their colleagues’ efforts under the category of one of the values outlined above. A statement of “Lucy went above and beyond for a client in a difficult situation” falling under “Customer-Centred” is then visible for all staff to see on the intranet, linking value-centric behaviours to positive outcomes.
For the benefit of those working in an organisation yet to formulate values, it is important to consider that values are most effective when there is an alignment between the values of the organisation and those of individuals. As such, there is a clear benefit to values being determined by or with employees. To achieve this, focus groups and surveys are often utilized, while some of our particularly innovative clients have held competitions where staff submit proposed values which are subsequently voted on. Regardless of the means through which values are conceived, the core philosophy is to engage employee’s, asking them to consider which values best represent their collective drives and behaviours.
This year, we will be asking our clients to share their company's values or guiding principles, and how they are lived out in the organization. We look forward to hearing what makes your values unique, how they were conceived, how they are applied and how they provide direction in decision making. In the event your organisation has yet to establish values, we are more than happy to offer guidance, as always, it's about your journey and how we can best support you on it.
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