Creating Corporate Value
- Leadership brainstorming
- Team brainstorming
- Collation and refinement
- Feedback cycle
Let me take you through the process, step by step.
Firstly, the directors were asked to write up half a dozen values. We purposefully wrote these in private, without input from ne another, and then once ready we shared them with each other and discussed them.
We found plenty of overlap, however we also found a number of unique values that only one director had considered.
Refinement of Values
Once we had our set of values from the leadership, we worked together as a group, to refine the list down to around a dozen phrases or words.
This was achieved over a week, through a combination of both emails and physical meetings, between the directors.
Once the leadership felt that the values we had created were refined enough to open up for discussion, we scheduled one of our ‘town hall’ meetings and invited all of our employees.
These town hall meetings we run are a chance for everyone to participate; it’s not management speaking at employees, it’s all of the team coming together and everyone having an equal voice.
In the meeting, we explained we were creating company values, and the employees were given the values the directors had created as examples, and asked to work in small teams to workshop through what values they liked, or what values they would like to suggest.
Once this exercise was complete, we came back together, and then everyone floated the values their small groups had created.
We wrote them up on a whiteboard, and ended up with a list of 30 or more potential company values. Many of these suggested values overlapped each other; sure they were worded differently, however they had similar meanings and intent.
The entire team worked through this long list in the same afternoon, and the group then short-listed these down to around a dozen.
Collation and refinement
Over the next few days, the directors took these dozen ideas (of which probably half were from our original set) and distilled the meanings and direction down to six words.
We wrote up what these words meant, and what they embodied, and then we shared these value statements with the entire team for endorsement.
Once distributed, we discussed the values and their meanings with the entire team, both in person and via email, and we all finally agreed to the outcome.
These values and meanings were, within a few weeks of undertaking this process, adopted by the entire company.
The resulting values are different from many other organisations, because;
- The entire company was involved in the creation
- They have been given a revision cycle (review each calendar year)
- They are being used in everything we do. No filing these values in a drawer with a tick on a task list.
What this means is that these company values have real weight; they were discussed and created by everyone, so they had real buy-in from everyone.
We went about creating company values that are a promise, both by and to ourselves, but also our colleagues.
We now have a set of corporate value statements. Great work, team!
We can now decide to either put them in some lengthy corporate document and forget about them entirely, or use the effort and thoughts we have put in so far, and carry through these values, to ensure they are truly adopted and are ‘real’.
We chose the latter approach, knowing that having undertaken this collaborative process, we can’t just ignore them.
True adoption of our company values
We started by undertaking a variety of activities when the values were first adopted. These included;
Creating large posters and placing them in high traffic areas throughout our office.
Printed out and discussed with each employee within the company
Subsequently written about and promoted on our company blog
Shortly afterwards, we then also created a set of activities to ensure they are measured and adopted into the future. These included;
Weekly team stand ups
In our weekly scrum-like meetings with staff, we ask people for examples of how they’ve lived up to these values. We ask for an example of at least one value (Awesome, Community, Ethical, Passion, Pride & Teamwork) and what they have personally done, to display by their own actions, these goals.
Employee performance reviews
We’ve also added these to our quarterly employee performance reviews.
We do reviews with everyone here at least every 3-4 months. Rather than a large annual review, we prefer to keep these meetings more frequent, to ensure the feedback cycle is short.
When we say feedback, we use these review sessions not just for employees, but we use these to find out how each individual feels about the business, our values and our current direction.
We also utilise happiness scores to understand what they like and dislike about their roles here, and look for ways to positively change outcomes.
We’ve also added these values to our recruitment processes, and we take time during any interviews with candidates to explain them.
We also pitch questions related to these values and often ask for previous examples of how candidates have displayed the traits these values embody. The candidates attitude and answers to these are taken into account during the decision making process.
We have also created a 2-3 hour values induction process for new hires that is part of our standard induction process for all employees, regardless of their role.
This ensures that any new recruits that came on board after the initial planning and creation are up to speed with what our company values are, and what we expect as leadership and a values-driven team.
Issue of Relatedness