Company Values: For whatever they're worth

Saturday 21st May 2011 - By LA    Share    

Company Values are a framework of beliefs and personal values to which employees and management of an organization are expected to up hold during the course of any business dealings within the company and with external stakeholders. This explanation is along the lines of a textbook answer, but is this what company values really mean to factory operators, engineers, and lower/middle managers? Do these employees truly believe that these values are true to the company, senior managers, executives and its people? Do they carry the same importance to the average employee as the visionary who pencilled them?
Senior managers and CEO's would be surprised to hear the average honest answer to the questions above from these employees across many organizations in many industries. The reason I say this is that having discussed this issue with a variety of people working in different roles in different industries, I was surprised at the skewed response towards the lack of relevance and facade like nature of company values in a number of large organizations. Why is this so?

There are many cases where company values do in fact positively correlate to company culture and employee behaviour within the organization and outside quite closely; these are exemplars of masters in human resource management, honest ethics, and all round good corporate citizens.

In the organizations which unfortunately fall outside the group above, what have the visionaries missed? (By visionaries, included are the well paid consultants sometimes hired to help management craft these values)
Is it an assessment of past and current company culture deep entrenched within the organization extending into a lack of understanding of the motivating factors for such behaviours and ways of business?
Is it the relentless aim to become a good corporate citizen or be seen to be aiming for this with disregard to current culture and change process required to achieve such values?

Whatever it is many CEO's and executive management teams are missing something, and the lack of knowledge of the inner behaviours, importance of the customer, and culture present within the organization's operations, management hierarchy and the average employee seems to be a common denominator in the mismatch between the picture perfect poster and the real set of company values and culture at the coal face.

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