The importance of identifying your company values and cultureWhile the terms “company culture” and “values” are often used interchangeably, there is a difference. Values are the specific attributes which give personality and direction to a company and its staff, while a culture is how these values are manifested through behaviours and actions.
Many people have had the unfortunate experience of being party to poisonous company environments. And while not always one individual’s fault, such situations highlight the importance of identifying and nurturing a positive company culture, as well as hiring in line with the culture you wish to nurture.
Creates a common objectiveA culture is bred from the actions and values that align themselves naturally with both your business’ and team’s ambitions. This way there is a reciprocal relationship between the culture and your development. One furthers the next.“Nurturing a culture” can become “dictating a culture” if it doesn’t align with your business. It won’t stand if it’s a designated set of words that look good on a website. Acknowledging the values you collectively hold helps to not only work towards your strengths, but instantly gives all team members a common identifier and purpose.
At Blue Wren, we put together our company values through group discussions. We communicated openly about what we felt the business stood for and what these values meant. As such, it wasn’t a prescribed philosophy, but an organic one set by the very people who would represent it.Through identifying the positives and working towards our strengths, there is no need to encourage the team to invest in the values, they already embody them.
Attracts likeminded professionalsYour company’s culture is at the heart of everything you do. Wearing this on a sleeve, you align yourself with individuals who not only respect it, but will work hard to become part of it.In hiring and inspiring those who embody your values, the strength of the culture grows. It becomes a natural extension of the work your company produces, personified through the professionals your business attracts and looks to hire. How well an interviewee would adhere to the values, and therefore fit in with the company culture, becomes a decisive factor in whether they are right for the role.
Our team operate using agile project management principles. Doing so means that not only must we thrive in a team environment, but we need to remain open and accepting of criticism. As such, when we are recruiting, such characteristics need to be at the forefront of our decision-making to ensure that new team members are onboard with our culture and can hit the ground running.
Living by your valuesThe values at Blue Wren aren’t just something we’ve written as a formality; they’re qualities we respect in others, as well as strive to embody ourselves. These values are: Progress, Humility, Heart and Together:
The culture we work in is very much a consequence of the values we collectively selected. While you can’t pre-define your company culture, you can set down the foundations with your values. And the stronger the existing foundation, the quicker your culture builds.