Selecting hires on the basis of your values: reality or rationalisation?

16 May 2013

Barclays has made a big deal about their values of late, as they attempt to address the perceived excesses of the previous regime.  In true Barclays style, they have made giant glass installations of their values that currently adorn the foyer of their HQ in Canary Wharf.  But it does seem that this bravado is being supported by workshops and a programme of culture change to start to embed the values into the business.

Indeed, values are big business today.  But how much are they tick box?  How much do they drive the behaviour or the culture of organisations?  And how far do organisations go to hire talent that reflect their values?

The last question is one that is currently occupying two businesses that I am currently working for.  One is a UK business that recently developed a set of values, and has done little to communicate them.  The other is a global business with a long-held set of values, which are supported by senior management yet the rest of the organisation are fairly ambivalent about them.  Primarily because there has been no focus on ‘why it’s important to me’.

Both see the value of values.  Now they are trying to embed them into the selection and assessment process.  A tough ask because the competencies that a business looks for aren’t always aligned to the values they have.  The values are often devised by the leadership; and the competencies  defined by resourcing.  The values often characterise how an organisation wants to be perceived; the competencies focus on the reality of the skills and behaviours line managers actually want.

Of course, they shouldn’t be mutually exclusive; but they are so often devised as such.  The best organisations take their values and drive them through all parts of the organisation, and show how they really define the business and the decisions they take.  Including how they assess, select and hire new colleagues.

BankBarclaysCanary WharfCompany ValuesEmployee Value PropositionOrganizational culture
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