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Values in the workplace: how they should be implemented

Values play a pivotal role in our professional lives: in extreme cases, clashes between values have been linked to burnout. Consider that we devote the majority of our waking hours to work, and it becomes clear how crucial it is to resonate with the values upheld by our workplace.

Values conflict undermines well-being at work

Issues regarding values can begin to surface when our roles require actions conflicting with our ethical or moral beliefs. This sets the stage for a conflict between professional demands and our personal value systems.

At times, this clash can emerge when work demands an overwhelming amount of time and energy, leaving little room for personal relationships or leisure activities. Balancing family and hobbies becomes a challenge when work consumes all available evenings and weekends.

Alternatively, conflict may arise when job responsibilities necessitate actions that contradict our principles or ethical standards. For instance, engaging with morally questionable clients or situations can trigger internal moral dilemmas and discord.

Values should guide the actions of companies and people

Each person has their own set of values, unique to them. Similarly, every company holds its own distinct values. However, these values might not always be apparent from a quick glance at their website. Sometimes, you need to dig deeper into how a company operates to truly understand its values.

If you want to know what a company’s values really are, talking to its employees can provide valuable insights. Pay attention to the words they use to describe the company and its activities. Do their descriptions match what you thought about the company?

If you’re in a position of leadership within the company, ensuring that the values you want to promote are actually practiced in day-to-day operations requires deliberate effort. What steps are you taking to make sure these values aren’t just slogans on the website, but integral parts of the company’s culture and actions?

Example of values at Sofokus

At Sofokus, our workplace culture, and consequently our management approach, revolves around the Better Monday® model. This model is founded on values that have been collectively identified with our team members. Better Monday serves as our commitment to our employees—a pledge to make their experience at Sofokus fulfilling and meaningful.

For six years, we’ve adhered to these values. However, recognizing the inevitability of change, especially in the dynamic realm of IT and business, we took a moment at the beginning of the year to revisit our values as we refreshed our strategy, mission, and vision.

While no major overhauls were made, our focus was on clarifying the aspects that hold significance for us in our work and business endeavors. Simultaneously, we ensured that our work practices, personnel, and processes remained in alignment with these values.

Our updated values now look like this:

We focus on…

  • People
  • Being professional
  • Reliability

The values we hold dear are not just words on paper; they shape every facet of our organization. Take, for example, how our employees rate us as an employer—the fact that our Quality of Work-life index stands strong at over 82% speaks volumes about our commitment to creating a supportive and fulfilling workplace. Moreover, our team’s collective expertise, with an average professional tenure exceeding 12 years, reflects the dedication and hard work that define our culture. Equally significant is the trust our customers place in us. Our NPS customer satisfaction score, exceeding 80%, underscores the reliability and quality of our services.

These values are not mere abstract concepts; they drive tangible actions and investments within our company. We prioritize our employees’ well-being by investing in coaching and health services, ensuring they have the support they need to thrive.

We also foster an environment of continuous learning and growth, providing ample opportunities for skill development. Transparency is paramount to us, and we make it a point to openly share company updates and information with our staff.

Additionally, our commitment to delivering real business value is evident in our interactions with customers. We aren’t afraid to say “no” when necessary, prioritizing opportunities that align with our values and contribute meaningfully to our clients’ success.

Regularly review and maintain your values

When was the last time you conducted an annual review of your values? Values are not static; they can evolve, particularly as our circumstances change. It’s essential to set aside time periodically to reflect on whether your existing values still resonate with you. If not, consider what adjustments may be necessary.

Food for thought:

What values do you identify with in your personal life? And how do these align with the values you encounter in your professional environment?

Reflect on whether your personal values harmonize with your current work situation. Are there any areas where adjustments may be needed to achieve alignment between your personal values and your professional life?

Milla Kallio

Chief Happiness Officer & Partner