Organic Company Values taste much better than pre-packed
Earlier this year I was privileged to be included in a HR led cross-departmental task group charged with ‘defining’ our company values. Time to get the thesaurus out, we thought, and find words that would work for Newsweaver; Friendly, Innovative, Knowledgeable, Professional, etc etc…
Job done, right?… Well not exactly!
Company values need to apply to everyone in the organization
Newsweaver is a SaaS solutions provider with HQ in Cork, Ireland and offices in London and Boston. We also have employees working remotely across other regions. Newsweaver has grown rapidly in recent years to a point where it now has a multi-disciplinary workforce across its many locations. As Newsweaver grew, so too did the need to define our values to preserve how we work and how we impact those we work with.
In our first meeting as a values team we identified 35 values that could be applied to Newsweaver. Each had merit, but when we looked at how these values could be applied to different employee groups, it became clear that for each company value to be accepted and lived, each needed to resonate with every employee.
For example – Agility is a common company value. While it’s completely relevant to our development team, it would be difficult for certain employees who work to defined processes and procedures to live this value every day.
35 down to 6
Our 35 values became value indicators and the process of grouping similar themed values began which formed our final selection of 6 value statements. What we produced was not new to our company… it transpired that these were values that we were living on a daily basis. Our team had simply articulated what we could already see and hear throughout the organization every day – how we interact with each other, our customers and other stakeholders.
If employees weigh in, they buy in
Employee engagement expert Andrew Blacknell spoke at a recent Newsweaver User Conference, and pointed out that “if employees weigh in, they buy in”. In the process of articulating Newsweaver’s values this was certainly the case. Our team did not create the organization’s values; they were created organically over the last two decades of Newsweaver’s existence by those that helped build the company to what it is today.
When presenting back our findings, first to management, then to all employees, we received complete enthusiasm and acceptance from across the company. Newsweaver’s values are not a dictate from senior management on how we should work; they are a living, breathing and ever-evolving roadmap to how Newsweaver, and we as employees, will continue to grow and prosper.
Our values articulated
“We’ve never put it in writing before; however, we believe our values have been fundamental to Newsweaver’s success from the start. By articulating and sharing our values, we ensure that what makes Newsweaver great will continue into the future.
It’s our message to customers, partners and colleagues about who we are, how we work and what we believe in: our values shape our attitudes, motivations, expectations and behaviors.
The talented people that are the Newsweaver team may change, as will our corporate goals and challenges, however by living our six values, our culture and how we do business will remain the same.”