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Blog : Culture? Values? Pah...


Culture? Values? Pah...

By Emily Perry - Head of Marketing

Last week I was having a scout around the CIPD website and came across this paragraph:

 “Successful organisations are characterised by strong values and a strong guiding vision that communicates what behaviour is appropriate and what is not. If these values are widely shared across the organisation and are reflected in the everyday actions of employees at all levels, both individually and collectively, then there is a strong culture.” CIPD

Then I recalled a quote from the late Steve Jobs when he was Apple CEO. He said “the only thing that works is management by values. Find people who are competent and really bright, but more importantly, people who care exactly about the same things you care about.”

Both statements are clear – successful organisations are ones who are value-centric. They ensure their culture (their vision and mission) is at the heart of the organisation and their values are firmly placed as the backbone of the business.

Think John Lewis Partnership – certified as one of the best employers in the UK, annual turnover of £8 bn and witnessing revenue increases (last reported 6.4%) whilst other high street retailers struggle.

Or UKRD, a British media company, who for the last two years running have taken home the top spot in the Sunday Times ‘Best Companies to Work for’. CEO, William Rogers, puts this down to creating a “values-based business environment”. In this month’s edition of People Management magazine, Rogers states: “I believe that if the culture and values of a business are right, are followed and are enthusiastically lived and breathed at all levels, all else being equal, the business will come right.” He concluded by saying: “Our six core values are not merely a piece of management speak because the chief executive thinks it would be nice to have a decent public face for the company.”

And of course, one of my favourite brands, Virgin Group. Led by the charismatic Richard Branson, their core values are clear to see through any part of the company, products, service or employee – value for money, quality, innovation, fun and competitive challenge. Their annual revenue - £3,992bn...

With the benefits clear to see, why, in many cases, is this being overlooked? Or if not, is paid minimum lip service? Think companies who put their mission and value statements on a wall and expect the entire organisation to really understand what that means to them, the business and their customers. Or leaders who talk about the importance of values yet, when asked, can’t recite their own – believe me this happens more often than not.

It seems beyond me that many HR professionals have to still fight the notion that articulating and embedding an organisation’s culture and values is more than just a fluffy practice. That having a common set of principles, ideals, and language is actually a business benefit; that it keeps brand integrity and helps ensure for happy employees, happy customers and happy bottom-lines.

This is why, in partnership with specialist global careers jobs board, career resource and magazine, Changeboard, we’re taking a closer look at this area. We want to find out the true level of importance placed on culture and values in businesses across the UK. Whether they’re an intricate part of strategy, overlooked or just a tick box exercise.

And we want your views – what’s the situation in your company, are culture and value projects supported or dismissed, do values make up a core part of business strategy, and are they fed through every process from recruitment, product development and beyond?

We understand that time is precious and so have – as per our own values! – kept it simple. We’ve created a short, no more than 10 minutes, survey which is completely anonymous. Your feedback will provide us with a real-time picture of business attitudes to values and provide the conversation for our next event in October. Here we will exclusively communicate and debate the findings in a seminar hosted by Natalie Cooper (Editor, Changeboard) and Jane Sunley (CEO, learnpurple). As a thank you for completing the survey, you have the opportunity to attend this invitation only event.

              To complete, please click here.

Thank you for supporting us with this research and we look forward to sharing our findings with you in October

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