According to Wikipedia, ‘Values’ are beliefs that are shared amongst the stakeholders of an organisation, which drive the company’s culture and priorities, as well as provide a framework in which decisions are made. Is this really the case? Do employees live the values of a company and do values help increase the bottom line profit contribution of an organisation? I’m yet to be convinced.
Is there even a link between knowing and understanding these values to performance? Very tenuous, at best. However, is there a link between high levels of employee engagement and the strength of the working environment? Absolutely.
Building an environment and experience for employees to enjoy and progress must be more important than listing the definition of half a dozen values that you expect your people to follow.
I spent the first 14 years of my career operating within the Global Corporate environment and witnessing time and again failed attempts to create a set of values that hold resonance with people and educating those employees on what they are and how to ‘live’ them. The environment and working experience often seemed a distance priority.
Now owner and CEO of a financial recruitment business, I made the Employee Experience my number one priority and it lies at the centre of our growth agenda.
I believe your choice of career is important but the environment you work in and the company you work for even more so. And I believe that a set of corporate values cloud your priorities. Values are saying something and making a statement; the experience is doing it!
If you invest your energies in creating a unique employee experience and an environment that allows for freedom and creativity, then careers take shape and people can enjoy what they do. And furthermore, they don’t move on and leave you because there is no need. They stay, and productivity and profitability increases.
Building ‘The Experience’ of working in a business starts with understanding that our people want to develop as professionals and enjoy success at the same time as having fun. It continues with meeting our obligation of providing our people with the tools to succeed. Executing a detailed sales plan that ensures growth in client base, investing in your brand positioning and providing market leading training with profitable growth as the theme. Values don’t provide this infrastructure; the combination of environment and experience does.
Challenge conventional wisdom. Do quirky things. There is much we do at Goodman Masson but here’s an outline; every Friday we finish at 3:30 (there’s been no impact on productivity), a masseuse, beauty therapist and barber visit the office weekly, take a day off for your birthday, we supply breakfast and under our 'There's More To Life Than Work' brand we hold Spanish, Art, Photography and Guitar lessons every week at 5pm. We have even become Guinness World Record Holders.
Has placing the Employee Experience at the top of our agenda and not a distance priority, worked? The evidence points to the fact it does. We have become the largest finance recruitment business in London, our sales are up 65% in the last 3 years, profit is the highest it has ever been, attrition is less than 12%, we have won numerous industry awards, website traffic has increased 10 fold, our client base has tripled and most importantly we love what we are building.
I believe it is time that building an exceptional employee experience should replace the dated theory of corporate values.
- For more information about Goodman Masson click here
- Goodman Masson were interviewed as part of our latest issue of Vistage Quarterly