What is your firm’s culture and values?

Share this Post

Written by our MD, Simon Roderick.

One of the FCA’s priorities for 2016/17 was to encourage firms to define and improve their culture and governance. They described a firm’s values as being ‘a set of shared values and norms that characterise a particular organisation – the mind-sets that drive the behaviour’s in the firm”. I suspect that initiatives like these are perhaps best implemented by larger firms, where there is more resource, budget, and expertise available to manage both the planning and subsequent roll out.

Company culture and values

However, the challenge for larger firms is probably how to roll out a consistent message, which can be measured, across such large teams. Therefore, whilst perhaps not always a priority for smaller firms, there’s an argument to say that they are better placed to implement these projects more efficiently and will see the benefits sooner.

Whatever the size of business, there are advantages to understanding and defining your corporate culture. The area we most see this in, and understand best, is when businesses are trying to recruit.

It’s our experience that firms who know who they are, and what they expect from employees, are usually the best at securing the talent they want. Their website will often state these values and unsuitable individuals simply often won’t even apply for a role at a firm whose culture they don’t like or understand. If their employees are bought into the culture they will be advocates for the business increasing referrals and helping the business attract more like minded people.

Where I find it most interesting is when a firm has a strong culture and it helps them retain staff, or reduce “bad hires”. Like any successful long-term relationship you need to share the same values, and often we advise candidates to withdraw from a process if they can’t get comfortable with firm’s culture, or better still we only shortlist those we feel we love a particular environment.

If employer and employee don’t share the same values the relationship will break down regardless of what you pay people. Please remember that according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development the average cost of a wrong hire is 2.5 times the annual salary of the employee.

Firm company values and culture

However, firms benefit it many ways by defining their culture and some of these include:

1. An improvement in how they treat customers and therefore, assuming the business is client centric, they will retain and attract customers easier
2. A well trained and engaged workforce that demonstrates the same behaviours as a quality management team, and implements their values, will be more successful, and therefore businesses will grow quicker. Relationships with customers and suppliers will flourish making the business more dynamic
3. By encouraging positive behaviours, and by feeling more engage, colleagues will communicate better and be more willing to share best practice

I often feel in meetings that some firms struggle to distinguish themselves from the peers, and it is often very difficult in service based industries, but something we should all regularly revisit and monitor.

Share this Post