Many companies and organizations have established key words to describe their values. A prerequisite to get the values and culture to permeate all activities and influence decision-making and performance, is an understanding of what the values mean for each individual in practical in everyday situations.
All organizations have a corporate consisting of values and attitudes that affect the way business is conducted, how work is organized and how customers and employees are treated. The culture is reflected in the climate prevailing in the workplace and affects largely the willingness to cooperate and share information. A functioning corporate culture is a prerequisite for efficiency and profitability as well as crucial for the operation’s ability to attract and retain qualified personnel. Development of the prevailing corporate culture and the implementation of new values and attitudes is a key to success for many companies, organizations and government agencies.
The company’s values are formulated as the business ethically starting points – what you stand for and what you want. These values act as an inner compass and helps employees understand and manage the context in which they operate, while there is a “glue” that contributes to a sense of belonging in the business. A functional value creates a sense of coherence, and contributes to the comfort and wellbeing. The result of the operation’s work on values can be used as the basis for recruitment, development of reward systems and to manage behaviors that deviate from valuations.
Culture and values work in practice
To work more systematically with the culture and values can be attractive to achieve more informal governance in an organization. It is also a great addition to the more structural control as it provides guidance for situations where control is missing. Culture and values issues are considered as work with strategic issues ensuring harmonization with the company’s culture. Well functioning values create involvement and participation. Company values should be anchored in the organization. An appropriate way to take forward the core values is through workshops. Workshops with the organization divided into smaller groups or if this is not practicable, with groups consisting of representatives from different parts of the business.
Working with culture and values in organization will provide improvements in these areas:
- Better controllability: A common set of values can have an organization of different parts (sectors, units, activities) that interact in a more coherent manner. By building up a common set of values the organization can also develop the internal dialogue in a better way. Internal misunderstanding, special interests or disagreements will be reduced if all employees can and want to share these common values.
- Increased efficiency: If employees understand the meaning and value behind the goals and the vision formulated the business will be affected in a positive way. If as many people as possible, take charge, and also ensures that the resources of the organization are used in the best possible way, the quality and productivity of the business will be raised.
- Strength in the identity and legitimacy: This is partly about the importance of strengthening the organization’s identity in relation to the employees and to give business-increased legitimacy outward, which can be decisive for the future. Identity is based on the values and shapes the organization and the company’s self-image. The identity forms the basis for creating a brand.
It is about being clear with:
- Be clear on what behaviors the organization seeks in its culture – linked to values, goals and mission.
- Clarify the link between what activates these behaviors and their consequences.
- Dare to talk about behavior, dare to talk about undesirable behavior – the courage to lead by focusing on behavior.
- Do not confuse the behavior of personalities – this is not about to change us as individuals (how we are) it´s about developing or changing our behavior (what we do).
- Develop and support managers to lead by behavior.
- Create forms and forums to keep the dialogue alive.
- Measure and follow up on the results and to learn about the behaviors that create these.
With that in mind, the culture and the values are the guiding force for the change.