I started at ID BBN as HR Manager just over a year ago. One of my first projects was about our company values. I wanted to make sure that our values are known throughout the organization and that all our employees can stand behind them.
Corporate values and strategies are often thrown into the air in solemn speeches, but if they are not ingrained within the daily life of the company, broken promises can lead to mistrust and even misunderstanding. The more cohesively the common values of an organization are known, the more unified the corporate culture is. Living one’s corporate values has also been shown to have an impact on business success.
These were the reasons that motivated me to take up the value definition project a year ago. I was also familiar with research by Maarika Maury, Consultant, Coach and CEO of Kissconsulting Oy. Her study, Does anyone have a clue of the strategy? (Vaasa University 2015) reveals that the values defined by organizations do not really guide many companies, but rather appear to be official statements about the company’s wishes.
Research related to Maury’s thesis reveals that company values are hardly known among employees, and only about half of the values are known to top management. In the companies involved in the study where the values were well known, they were also understood and acted upon.
The study revealed that knowing values does not yet guarantee acting in accordance with them. If company values are known, they are discussed in everyday life and the discussion helps people to act according to the values. In the companies involved in the study where the values were well known, they were also understood and acted upon.
Encouraged by this information and research findings, I put together a company values team at ID BBN. We held several workshops and informal discussion sessions last fall. Later, the whole staff got involved: everyone attended a value workshop where we played a value game – a brilliant tool for value definition. By playing, everyone had a chance to contribute and everyone had an equal voice.
The chosen approach proved to be very fruitful. First of all, it was easy to involve everyone in the game and secondly, valuable words appeared on the game board in no time: professionalism, expertise, openness, creativity, trust, courage, versatility, pride, respect, freedom, caring, challenging and development. It was also important to write down that we are excited about each other’s expertise and proud of our common values.
Our common values underline the WE spirit of ID BBN. That is why we summed them up into four value propositions that are easy to remember and that we can all relate to. They also tell our customers what kind of company they are dealing with.
1) We got your back
Our customer knows that we support him/her. We also support each other within the work community. Help is offered and asked for – both ways.
2) We create wow
We are proud of the diverse expertise of our work community. When creativity and skills come together, new ideas, great technical solutions and successful campaigns emerge.
3) We go beyond
We are committed to working together and creating a positive customer experience. Dignity, pride and respect are reflected in the way we handle our clients’ work.
4) We know our game
We know the playing field in our industry and its rules. We take all variables into account in our work and prepare to maintain our forerunner position as the playing field shifts.
These four company values are reflected and implemented in many ways in ID BBN’s daily life and are also part of our recruitment processes. More on this topic in my next blog post.
“Company values, policies and procedures are very effective ways of communicating the desired approach. They also ensure a coherent way of operating. When driving cultural change, the expression and implementation of company values play an important role. Studies show that strong, successful organizations tend to have strong values.”
Interview with Maarika Maury in Tekniikka & Talous -magazine.