A clear, carefully considered set of values is the bedrock of any organisation. They should align closely with the company’s purpose, vision and mission and will determine the culture within the organisation. They will inform the way your team thinks and behaves - setting shared values that will determine how people behave both internally and externally.
Your corporate values will form the cornerstones of your decision-making processes and focus everyone in the company on achieving the corporate goals that will fulfil your mission. To do that, your values must be authentic and specific so that they resonate with the team and they can buy into them wholeheartedly.
In this blog we’ll look at how to maintain that commitment to your values and share our own newly refreshed values.
The real power of values comes from everyone in the organisation living up to them
While values are important, what's far more important is that everyone in the organisation lives and breathes them. One widely used example is of an American corporation that had the commendable values of: respect, integrity, communication and excellence. However, Enron’s senior management abandoned those values as they pursued growth at any cost. Their subsequent behaviour resulted in one of the biggest bankruptcies in corporate history and sparked a scandal so serious that it dragged down one of the world’s top five accounting firms.
This is why it is so important that corporate values reflect what it's really like inside an organisation. They should describe what it means to be a part of that company from top to bottom and everyone should be fully invested, trusting that the organisation will be guided by them at every level. Only by living up to those values themselves, can leaders and managers use them to drive performance throughout the organisation, especially at times of stress or change.
Why corporate values must resonate with personal values
Individual values are every bit as important as company ones and having a clear set of values, that you believe in and live by, is widely recognised as a path to personal fulfilment and happiness. This is a big part of why people are increasingly looking for brands that reflect their own values and aspirations.
A survey by Accenture Strategy has revealed that 63%¹ of consumers are buying goods and services from companies that reflect their personal values and beliefs. Values are also hugely important in the kind of people we attract to work with us. A recent survey by Qualtrics revealed that 56%² of respondents said they wouldn’t even consider a job at a company that has values they disagree with.
How to ensure your team lives up to your values
Having established a credible, specific and inspiring set of values, it is then vital that you embed them right across the company so that they become second nature for everyone working within the business.
One highly effective tactic is to recognise and reward behaviours that reflect those values and base rewards and bonuses on those values. This will not only act as an incentive but also remind everyone in the business what your values are and the importance you place on them. You can also choose incentives that actually resonate with your values.
At Olleco we had offered retail vouchers as incentives but this didn’t fully reflect our values. We then shifted to rewarding achievement by giving cash which could be spent more sustainably on a wider range of activities and we planted trees for recipients, reflecting our commitment to use creative and smart solutions to protect our planet. The move has been extremely popular and serves as an uplifting reminder of our values and, ultimately, our mission.
As your business grows, so should your values
It is important to remember that you cannot dictate your values if they are to be authentic. Your company’s values are created and informed by the positive behaviours exhibited by the people within your organisation. Effectively, the art is not so much in defining your values but on discovering them by observing and working with people throughout the organisation.
As your business grows and matures it is important to re-examine values and refresh them to reflect the true nature of what you are achieving and how you are achieving it. We have recently refreshed our own values at Olleco and we thought it might give you some insights into our business and how we operate if we shared them with you.
“As we returned to operations after the pandemic, we felt it was a good time to reflect on our values, examining how they have evolved and what it really means to be part of Olleco”
Tanya Fisher - Olleco Chief People Officer
An insight into our values at Olleco
Firstly, we are PERSONAL. We care. We are safe, inclusive, respectful, considerate and supportive both to customers and colleagues. We offer the human touch with a local, community-based approach.
Next we are CREATIVE. This is reflected in the way we see challenges as opportunities and are always open to continuous learning. By embracing change, we make things happen in ways that benefit customers, colleagues and the planet.
We are also COMMITTED. We make a difference. Acting like owners, we hold ourselves responsible for being the best we can be. We are committed to making food sustainable and ensuring that nothing is wasted.
We are RESPONSIVE. We do what we say we will. Delivering excellent performance, we act with a sense of urgency. We focus on the things that matter and approach every situation proactively and with agility.
And finally, we are SMART. We achieve amazing outcomes. We work in a clever and smart manner in the safest and most resource efficient way for ourselves, our customers and our planet.
“Being personal is the oil that keeps the cogs turning smoothly in any organisation. Building trust and working collaboratively with colleagues, is not only good for business, but helps make Olleco a great place to work.”
Stephen Weston, Olleco SHEQ and Business Improvement Director
Having clearly defined values is now more important than ever as more and more people are working in different ways. Knowing exactly what kind of organisation you belong to is critical in helping everyone within the organisation to feel part of a whole that they can trust and live up to.
We’re enormously proud of the work we do at Olleco - developing a healthier, circular economy and our refreshed values reinforce awareness of our mission and how best to achieve it. If our values resonate with you and your business, please get in touch. We’ll be delighted to demonstrate how those values translate into actions. And if we sound like the kind of business you’d like be part of, take a look at the opportunities on offer.