Monday August 13, 2012
By Loreen Salloum - Learning and Development Manager, UAE
Living and working in the United Arab Emirates, now is a relatively quiet time for us as the holy month of Ramadan started on 20th July. During this time we see a huge cultural and business change – business hours vary, it’s very quiet during the evenings and in the days extremely relaxed.
For those unfamiliar with the celebration, throughout the 30 days of Ramadan, those of a Muslim religion fast from food, fluids and other enjoyments during daylight hours. This physical self-renunciation is intended to help focus minds on God, or in Arabic, Allah.
It’s also the time to embrace and appreciate ones values, beliefs and culture as well as carrying a great attitude with respect and care towards others. Because of this I can’t help but think about the link between personal values to those of an organisation in which you work.
Every individual carries their own personal set of values and often these are used to help pick and define their relationships, friendships, religion and, of course, their employer. Why? Because when there is a match between culture and values it’s likely you’ll be happier, more motivated; performing and progressing to achieve aspirations.
I recently read an article from Fast Company which explored this subject. It was based upon Steve Jobs and his time at Apple. In this it highlighted the importance he placed on ensuring culture and values are aligned; meaning even the talent he hired was done with the company culture and values in mind. He knew that to succeed his people had to have the same core desire and values he and the organisation possessed.
Let’s imagine for just a moment what Apple would be like if this wasn’t the case... Would it be the multi-billion dollar company it is today? Would it create innovative products which are changing the face of technology? Possibly – although personally, I think unlikely. Without a workforce full of individuals who don’t settle for anything less than excellence, who work with ‘simple’ rather than ‘complex’ and who believe that they’re on this planet to make great products (all of which are the Apple core values) then surely we’d still be carrying bricks for phones...
I started working for learnpurple four months ago and knew, for me, that my personal values had to match the company I was recruited into. I took the brave decision to focus only on roles and organisations which I knew would align with my culture and beliefs. When I first met learnpurple UAE managing director, Lynne Bellinger, I was blown away. Without prompting, she freely spoke about the organisational values – achievement, freedom (in a framework), fun, image, relationships, making things simple, improvement with originality, trust and openness.
I was glad and excited that Lynne mentioned these from day one. It told me that living and breathing the values was core to the success of the organisation, that they took these things seriously – not as a tick-box exercise (which unfortunately I’ve witnessed more times than not), and that they only hired people with the same value set.
Luckily for me I did share and relate to the same values which learnpurple carries. And as I’m writing this blog, reflecting on the last few months, I’m pleased I stayed strong with my beliefs and chose an employer who matched my thinking. There is no doubt that had our values been different, no matter how great the role, I wouldn’t have succeed and would have left. After all, we all hold different positions within a business but it’s the overall culture which makes us happy to stay and, most importantly, everyone actually living by those values; not just doing so to stay in a job.
Does your company carry a set of values and if so, do they actually operate in accordance to these values? When recruiting talent, are you searching to simply fill the needed position and do you take time to reflect if they actually fit the organization culture as well?
learnpurple are currently exploring the area of organisational culture and values in their latest research. We’re asking business professionals for their thoughts on the subject by completing a short, no more than ten minutes, survey. The results will be published exclusively within HR careers magazine, Changeboard, who are our partners on this thought-leadership. We will also be hosting an invitation only event in October. As a thank you for completing the survey, you have the opportunity to attend this event and join in with the debate. Visit www.talenttoolbox.me/lpchangeboard for more information.