• Employers ‘failing to uphold business values’, warns CIPD

  • 5 Nov 2012
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Workers whose behaviour persistently runs counter to their organisation’s values are often left unpunished or even rewarded or promoted, according to new research from the CIPD.

This was the case reported by four in 10 respondents to the institute’s latest Employee Outlook survey.

Only one-third of those questioned said that individuals were reprimanded for consistent rule breaking, indicating that employers were not doing enough to ensure that their business values are being upheld, the CIPD warned.

Just over half (52 per cent) of the 2,000 employees canvassed agreed that their organisation’s values positively influenced their behaviour at work.

But of those who disagreed, the top reason cited among private-sector workers was the emphasis of profit over organisational values. The most cited explanation by employees in the public sector was the belief that there was "one rule for senior managers and one rule for everyone else".

The CIPD report also suggested that the communication of values was a major problem, with only 29 per cent of employees saying that they were fully aware of their organisation’s values.

The findings showed a current disconnect between what employees expected and the way that values were embedded and upheld by business leaders, said the institute, adding that HR professionals had a key role to play in ensuring that values personally resonated with employees.

Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, argued that organisational values should be at the forefront of business leaders’ minds, particularly in the wake of the banking crisis and other corporate scandals.

“At the heart of an organisation’s culture has to be a set of agreed values that resonate with employees at all levels from the board to the front-line in order to provide a template for the behaviours and standards expected,” he explained.

“Employers must also demonstrate that failure to act in accordance with the organisation’s defined values has real consequences,” Cheese added.

“Unless business leaders and HR are prepared to take a stand and ensure that their organisational values are seen to make a difference and are worth more than a passing reference in the company report or on the intranet, then they will lose the trust and confidence of staff.”

Other key findings also revealed by this autumn’s Employee Outlook survey included a continuing positive attitude towards line managers and an improving perception of business leaders.

Meanwhile, employee engagement levels were shown to have remained stable at 38 per cent, but the substantial number of employees who were neutral – neither engaged nor unengaged – increased slightly to 59 per cent.

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  • Totally agree first and most important is a clear communication with clear objectives & importance of organisation valuse should be communicated to all employees at all levels througout the organisation and act on those valuse to bring positive change rather than simply posting it on intranet which becomes only a paper to read.

  • The only way to truly address the issues raised in this survey and ensure organisational values have proper meaning and grit, is to make sure they are used constantly and consistently throughout the organisation as a "filter" through which all decisions and actions are taken.<br/><br/>In my experience this works in bringing organisational values to life and making sure they are more than simply management rhetoric.