Following on from my recent blog on the Value of Values, I wanted to write a series of blog posts talking about the roll out of our new values here at Benefex.
The first and most obvious question you might ask is, why the change? If you already have a set of values in place, why look to change them?
It’s a fair question, given that values should form the foundation of an organisation’s culture. To change unnecessarily runs the risk of disrupting your culture and diverting your employees’ attention from their day to day delivery.
Time to take a fresh look
However, there are times when a fundamental shift in the nature of your values is going to be appropriate. At Benefex, we have recently redefined our market positioning with a brand relaunch and a clear statement of intent of our role spearheading the employee experience movement (to find out more, take a look at our new website here!). It therefore felt only right to take a fresh look at our values in light of this.
It is also fair to say that we had been subject to a degree of criticism regarding our previous values – known as Cornerstones – from our employees. This criticism was not unfounded, based as it was on the fact that, while our Cornerstones were very visible within our business, they didn’t really provide the guidance employees were looking for on a day to day basis when it came to setting a clear expectation of what great looked like. Consequently, when it came to drawing up our new set of values, we were clear from the start what our objective needed to be: To produce a set of values which would provide the roadmap for our employees of what delivering something amazing for our business would look like.
As anyone who has ever been involved in defining a new set of values will know, the choice of wording can be extremely subjective! We tried to find a balance between involving key stakeholders at all levels across the organisation, but accepting that that at some point we would need to make a decision in order to roll out. Initial employee feedback from the focus groups we worked with was extremely positive, which provided confidence that our new values were going to deliver what we were looking for.
Once the values – and supporting wording, providing clarification on what each statement meant – were agreed and announced, work began in earnest on a roll out programme. I have learnt from experience that, if you really want your workforce to live and breathe your values, you need to provide them with the ownership of those values.
To that end, the roll out programme we sought to design was extremely hands on. We kicked off by working with our managers, exploring how they would seek to use the values within their teams to guide behaviours and deliver results.
Bringing our values to life
Subsequent to that, we then invested time with every single employee in the business, all of whom were invited to attend one of a series of workshops. At these workshops, the aim was to bring these values to life. Employees were asked to come up with a series of committable statements for each value, which would directly translate to their day to day role. For example, if we took the value Deliver, Every Day… it would be about breaking this down into a set of actions which an employee would commit to undertaking in order to fulfil this particular value.
Following on from the workshops, employees returned to their teams and are currently working in pulling these series of statements into a Values Charter for each team. The objective being to end up with one – published and very visible – charter per team, which spells out in granular detail the commitments that team is making in order to deliver against each value. If I am a new starter to our business – or simply someone moving between teams – I should immediately be able to pick up that document and know exactly what I need to do to be a stand out exponent of our values.
That’s not all, of course, and in the next blog post in this series I will be exploring the continuum of this roll out programme, before starting to probe in detail into each of our new values and what exactly these mean for our business, our clients, and their employees.