Values shape culture. They verbalise “the way we do things around ‘ere”, guiding our actions and behaviours, empowering us to create the future we want to experience.
But the future we want to experience may look very different now, to what it did pre-2020.
With flexible working, a wider appreciation of mental wellbeing, “the great resignation” and the rise of Gen-Z, we’re all adjusting. The question is, are our values keeping pace? Are they guiding us towards the new world we want or, are they rooted in a more traditional time?
The good news is that values are not meant to be static or rigid. Yeah, they shouldn’t change every week but just as the world, people and culture outside evolves, our organisations must evolve too.
There’s potential that what your organisation stands for now, is slightly or drastically different to what it used to. So, if you’re looking at your values thinking, “they don’t quite feel right anymore”, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got the lowdown on what makes game-changing values.
Six aspects of game-changing values
Lasting values aren’t conjured in a dark room. They must be built by your people, for your people. Only through this way will you capture the true essence of what is driving your people. But listening doesn’t need to be complex or boring. Yammer polls, check-in conversations or even virtual focus groups are all ways of keeping your finger on the pulse and ears to the ground.
Fit for the future
Finding the balance between where you are now and where you want to be is important. A split that’s 80% reflective of your current reality and 20% reflective of your aspiration will capture the principles that people live and breathe every day, and the behaviours that will bring about your future vision.
Embrace what makes you different. What makes you, recognisably you. A creative look and feel is one way of bringing your values to life, drawing out the personality, character or even weirdness, that’s yours to authentically own.
Values need to be built to last. They’ll be your guiding-light when the going gets tough – are they realistic or will they be abandoned at the first hurdle. Consider bringing back a small subset of people you originally spoke to, taking a moment to test your values. This can give you the reassurance that what you heard is what people feel like they said.
Specific and actionable
There should be no ambiguity around what you stand for. Your values need to be tangible enough that people know what it means to display and easily apply your values in their day-to-day.
Your values are the catalyst that power your people towards achieving your purpose and your vision. So, there should always be a direct line of sight between them, helping your people see how their day-to-day actions are impacting your big-ticket ambitions.
So, as you embark on your journey to develop or redesign your existing values, always remember to keep your people at the core of it – they’re the ones who will live and breathe them.
If you’re looking for best practice guides, toolkits, templates, workshop sessions and resources to help you along your values journey – or across a range of employee experience themes – HomeEX is our pioneering employee experience service designed to inspire, upskill and build community.
Visit HomeEX to find out more or talk to one of the team.