Storytelling ensures that HR values are valued in an organisation

For the modern employer, values are a critical component of any successful organisation

By Dominic Keogh-Peters

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Published: Sun 30 Apr 2023, 4:30 PM

As a HR leader have you ever thought about how much you value your values? It may sound like a tongue twister, but it’s a question worth pondering. Often, companies focus solely on competencies and skills when it comes to their strategies, but what about their values? Are they truly being integrated into the overall plan?

The response to those questions will give you insight into whether you have an engineering or marketing mindset.

In today’s world, values are more important than ever particularly to new generations entering the workforce. They shape the way we think, behave, and make decisions. They are the foundation upon which our organizations and society are built. It is therefore critical to value your values.

Many companies have a set of values, but they are often just words on a wall, not lived or incorporated into the fabric of the organization. It’s easy to forget about them in the hustle and bustle of daily business - however, values are not just a nice-to-have, they are a necessity for any successful organization.

So, how can HR teams ensure that their values are valued? The answer lies in storytelling. Stories are powerful tools for communicating values. When we tell a story, we are not just conveying information, we are creating an emotional connection with the listener. A story can bring values to life, making them tangible and real.

To truly drive motivation, people want a story that aligns with their inner superpowers

For example, let’s say one of your company’s values is teamwork. Instead of just the standard communication of stating this on a screensaver and a coffee mug, you could tell a story about a team that successfully worked together to overcome a challenge. This story when communicated across the business would illustrate the value of teamwork in a way that is relatable and memorable and shapes culture.

The next step is to bring your values to life by linking them to outcomes. How do your values impact your customers, your employees, and your community? This is where your values become your value proposition.

Take the example of a company that values sustainability. Instead of just talking about being environmentally friendly, they could show how their products or services are helping to reduce waste or carbon emissions. This not only demonstrates their values but also creates a tangible benefit for their customers and can also make your employees proud.

HR leaders today need to ensure values are embedded into the culture of the organization. This is where performance management systems can also come into play. Instead of just measuring competencies, companies should be measuring behaviours that align with their values. This creates a culture where employees are recognized and rewarded for living the company’s values.

The true HR superpower lies in taking your values and breaking them down into observable behaviours, linking them to rewards, and incorporating them into your communication strategy. By doing so, you create a culture that shapes itself based on your values, rather than just focusing on skills and competencies. It’s a way to align your employees with a larger purpose that drives their inner superpowers. So, the next time you’re thinking about your company’s strategy and framework, don’t forget about the importance of valuing your values.

In conclusion, for the modern employer - values are a critical component of any successful organization. It’s a way to align your employees with a larger purpose that engages them through task identity. By valuing your values, you can create a culture where employees are motivated, customers are loyal, and the community is positively impacted. It all starts with storytelling, then linking values to outcomes, and embedding them into the HR architecture of the organisation.

So, the next time you’re thinking about your company’s HR strategy and framework, don’t forget about the importance of valuing your values.

The writer is the Group Chief Human Resources Officer of Galadari Brothers . He is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and a graduate of the Wharton CHRO programme. His work on organisational transformation has been showcased by the CIPD in their digital learning series and presented at the CIPD London Festival of Work. In 2023 he was listed in the top 50 most Influential HR leaders in the MENA by the Economic Times.

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