The success metrics of a business have shifted from mere profit margins or their total market share. In a world full of individuals who are looking beyond earning a living, organisations need to determine what they stand for. By setting up a system of core beliefs, a business can utilise these values as a guide and entice talent which aligns with the organisation’s roadmap. Moreover, aligning individual and team performance with organisational values has proven to be a transformative approach. This technique not only drives meaningful results but also shapes the culture of the company.
With this in mind, let’s explore the journey of values-driven performance management.
Organisational values: The who, what and why
For startups, the initial company culture is more consolidated and coherent, with the management being personally in touch with their employees. As organisations expand and grow, direct interaction with top management may not always be feasible. The company reaches a size where founders and core team members cannot engage with everyone individually. In such a situation, organisational values become the binding force that propels growth. It also creates a secure work environment and helps establish a method of communication.
From an HR perspective, values form an integral part of the culture rounds, ensuring that individuals who are recruited align with the organisation's values. This not only helps in maintaining a consistent work culture but also aids in hiring and recruitment processes.
The journey of choosing values for an organisation
Choosing the right set of values is a pivotal step for any organisation, no matter the size. In the case of startups, who are still in the process of consolidating their identity, it's essential to select values that resonate with the core mission and vision of the business. These values should reflect the unique identity of the company and guide its employees toward achieving collective goals.
Select values specific to your organisation by involving stakeholders, clarifying the organisation's purpose, and gathering input. Prioritise, define, and test values. Communicate and integrate them, and periodically review them to ensure alignment with the organisation's mission and culture. Choosing values isn’t just a one-time activity; it’s an ongoing commitment to a values-driven culture.
Delving deeper: Linking values with behaviours
Values, while inspiring, can sometimes remain abstract and aspirational. This leads to a vague understanding of said values, creating a disparity in the understanding, even amongst those responsible for propagating it. This is where the importance of behaviours comes into play. Defining behaviours serves as the practical means to bring values to life. They provide a tangible framework for employees to understand how to apply the values in their daily work. Behaviours are the bridge between the ideal and the actual, making values actionable and measurable.
Navigating values-driven performance management
Performance management can be a tricky thing, so setting down quantifiable metrics can assist in understanding employee performance. Values-driven performance management adds a layer to the existing structure, acting as an anchor for employees. This provides them with a clear compass for their actions within the organisation. It helps prioritise the right behaviours, aligning actions and results with the organisation's goals. This approach establishes a common language that promotes the right behaviours, both within the workplace and with external associates and customers. It ensures a standardised experience and fosters a shared understanding across the organisation.
Tipping the scales toward this performance management style
Utilising values-driven performance management can offer a multitude of benefits to employees, HR, and the organisation as a whole. Some of these are outlined below:
Enhanced employee engagement: Employees who share the organisation's values tend to be more engaged and motivated in their work. They feel a sense of purpose and a stronger connection to the company's mission, resulting in increased productivity and commitment.
Improved team collaboration: Common values create a shared language and understanding among team members, fostering better communication, cooperation, and collaboration. This, in turn, enables individuals to respect and appreciate each other's perspectives and contributions.
Ethical decision-making: Values serve as a moral compass for decision-making within the organisation. Upholding shared values helps in making ethical decisions, which safeguards the company's reputation and maintains trust with stakeholders.
Attracting top talent: Well-defined and authentic values attract top talent that resonates with those values. This not only leads to a higher calibre of candidates but also simplifies the recruitment process, as candidates self-select based on their alignment with the company's values.
In the current business landscape, values-driven performance management is a transformative approach that goes beyond profit and loss statements. It is the bedrock of an organisation's culture, guiding employees in their pursuit of excellence while ensuring alignment with the company's core values. By nurturing a workforce that embodies these values, organisations can achieve not only their business goals but also contribute to a more ethical and values-driven corporate world.