The value of values

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Every leader worth their salt appreciates the importance of setting the right tone within their organisation.

The tone or values of an organisation has the ability to transform its vision into reality. They guide an organisation’s inner workings and underpin organisational culture and character.

And while most organisations present their values in the form of a written statement, it’s often forgotten that actions inevitably speak louder than words. Embedding values deep within the organisation can only be achieved if we live them.

This sounds fairly straightforward, but in practice it is nearly impossible to achieve without a synergy between organisational values and the values of its people.  What people believe will almost always influence their actions, and values therefore drive the behaviours that people are naturally and automatically motivated to do.

Recruitment assessment has a crucial role to play here. It is well known that [highlight]recruiting people whose values align to those of the organisation tend to result in good organisational performance and high staff retention rates[/highlight]. Value–driven recruitment enables organisations to select people who share the same mindset, creating a more cohesive and interconnected environment.

The challenge in this type of recruitment is of course identifying evidence that applicants can do the job as well as evidence of how they would do the job. Both of these elements are vitally important but not always easy to distinguish and identify, especially in the early stages of the recruitment process.

Recently I spent a weekend shortlisting candidates for senior roles here at the Academy and I was struck by this very challenge. Most of the application forms showcased an impressive myriad of competencies but deciphering the applicants’ values was less straightforward.

Fantastic things have been achieved by everyone working at the Academy so far and this is because we are all striving to live the values that the Academy stands for. I’m always amazed by the fresh and exciting buzz about our offices in Leeds and London and the innovation everyone applies to getting things done. It is this energy and drive to innovate that I want to continue to see at the Academy and that, of course, we need to see more of across the health system if we are to meet the challenges ahead.

I know that there are many areas of good practice already and it will be great to hear of examples of how leaders are embedding their values into their organisations and their systems.  Please let me know so that we can share.

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One thought on “The value of values

  1. I once spoke to a HR Director of a life insurance company. Knowing claimants will have lost a loved one, she was determined staff working in the Claims Department had to be empathetic ‘down the ‘phone.’ Relevant skills and experience in the insurance industry was of secondary importance and, unlike empathy, could be acquired. Charged with building a values driven insurance company – breaking the mould in the industry and caring for those faced with unexpected loss – which new staff were recruited and how were paramount. Applicants for jobs were interviewed by ‘phone initially. Questions about how they helped a family member facing difficult times or what they did when faced with a situation that called for them to do more than what was expected, provided them with opportunities to demonstrate how ingrained empathy and conscientiousness is in who they knew themselves to be. ‘Phone interviewing also proved less time consuming and costly for the organisation. Parallels with the NHS speak for themselves, test yourself with these five (NHS) values-based interview questions: 1) When have you respected someone’s point of view even when it was profoundly different to your own? How did you do this? 2) Why do you care about caring for others? 3) When have you comforted someone at a time of need and how did you do this? 4) How have you helped someone improve a part of their life? 5) When have you gone the extra mile for a cause and what did you do?