“…values exist, in essence, to see the corporation through good and bad times…”
Values stand at the very core of human decision‐making. When we work in an organisation whose culture aligns with our personal values, we feel liberated. We are able to bring our full selves to work. We not only bring our energy, our creativity, and our enthusiasm, we also bring our commitment to the well‐being of our associates and the success of the organisation.
Unleashing this energy is tantamount to liberating the corporate soul.
Businesses are increasingly acknowledging the impact of a happy, fulfilled workforce on the bottom line. By creating a set of acceptable company values, preferably through a collaborative effort, management is ensuring a cohesive team, which will have a positive effect on the business reaching its objectives. The creation of these values allows individuals the freedom to be themselves, whilst knowing the boundaries, and this allows for different characters and personalities to impact the shaping and building of an organisation, within an ethical framework.
It is important for the organisation to build a culture of good values amongst employees. Employees are the face of the organisation, and their behaviour in a professional environment has an impact on the reputation of the organisation. Organisations should strive to ensure that values are part of everyday organisational activities and practices. By doing this, organisations will be promoting a culture of conformity to values by their employees and achieve their objectives.
In the article, ‘The importance of corporate values’ by Lord and Benoit, research has shown repeatedly that visionary companies with a success track record of more than a decade are guided by first order values. These first order values, create a sense of purpose beyond making money, they guide and inspire people throughout the organisation and they remain relatively fixed for long periods of time. Core values, are not situational, relative, or provisional. They are not suited to a given organisation at any given time, rather, they are enduring and absolute in nature. They reflect the foundational ideologies of the organisation and cannot be altered in an economic downturn or to confront some unique corporate problem. Values cannot be re-ordered. They exist, in essence, to see the corporation through both good and bad times.
Organisational values should provide the framework through which an organisation engages with its employees, customers, and stakeholders with the goal of ultimately influencing and shaping the organisation’s culture. They need to be consistently communicated internally to ensure they become the lifeblood of the business.
Values provide a common language for aligning an organisation’s leadership with its people. It is imperative that an organisation’s leaders use language that people can understand and in which they can place credence. Values are basic, fundamental, enduring, absolute, and irrevocable. They are meant to be taken literally and acted on.
Values do not drive the business; they drive the people within the business. Management should recognise that values must be internalised by the individuals who comprise the organisation. This means that people who succeed in business by violating organisational values must not be permitted to prosper within the organisation.
The future of the organisation will depend on employees who are dedicated to act in the best interest of the organisation without compromising theirs. Organisations should engage well with their employees and have an open door policy to discuss strategic matters.
There should be a culture of interdependence between an organisation and its employees to ensure common understanding when deciding what is good for both parties. Corporate Values are key in decision-making processes, shaping the identity of an organisation and attracting potential clients and employees.
Our company, Africawide, has values which aim to shape the organisation’s purpose, its objectives and the type of consultants. Africawide is a client intensive type of an organisation and one of the key values is to create long lasting partnership with clients and other stakeholders. It is a known factor that clients and the stakeholders keep the organisation going and the employees of the organisation are at the centre to establish these lasting partnerships.
This corporate value aims to encourage all Africawide employees to be the ambassadors of the organisation by effectively engaging and creating those lasting partnerships for the best interest of the company. Creating lasting partnerships has been one of the more prominent values I live up to as I created very important relationships based on trust with some of the senior stakeholders in the client environment.
Africawide understands the importance of developing its employees as the organisation’s core business is labour intensive. People investment as one of Africawide’s values aims to ensure that employees are equipped with current and relevant skills through continuous training to effectively execute consulting services. This value has given me an opportunity to learn and acquire skills that have helped me to thrive in the early ages of my consulting career and continuously develop myself.
Africawide is an organisation that deals with clients from different backgrounds and with different challenges. It provides flexibility and innovation being one of the five values, by bringing entrepreneurial character to adapt to client challenges and changing needs. This value prepares employees or consultants to understand the business environment of clients and think beyond their challenges to come up with effective solutions and innovative ways to create long lasting impact on clients. Making a difference and creating innovative ways is my passion and having won an Innovative Award in 2015 has motivated me to continue helping Africawide and clients, in particular.
The values of Africawide have been an integral part of the success of the organisation and they have given a competitive advantage to the organisation. It is important for every individual to work for an organisation with values that resonate with their own personal values. It is up to individual employees to live up to these values for their own purpose, development and sustainability and that of their organisation.