Tomorrow, 21 October marks #worldvaluesday which is an annual campaign to increase the awareness and practice of values around the world, our values being the things that matter to us and the things that drive us.
The theme of the campaign this year is reconnecting which seems timely as we reconnect with people face to face in our workplaces and social lives. Connecting with people has long been a core value of byrne·dean’s and it is perhaps more important than ever now as we have had to grapple with remote working in an increasingly polarized world. But the idea of reconnecting on World Values Day ’21 also captures the fact that the disruption of the pandemic has given many of us an opportunity to reassess what is important to us and reconnect with the core values that we want to take forward both in our lives and in our work.
When we are busy and focusing on the competing demands immediately in front of us, it is sometimes easy to overlook and disconnect with our values. How many of us can quickly reel off our values? Similarly, how many people can recite their employers’ values (without cheating and looking them up on the website) and how many can honestly say that their own values and the ones of the company they work for are truly aligned? Does any of this matter?
According to a recent report by Forbes on the Big Resignation of '21 it does matter and balance between personal and professional values is a key criterion people are increasingly looking for in their work. When I felt a bit lost and questioned where I was heading a few years ago, a great coach suggested I write down my values. Surprisingly, it was not an easy exercise but it has been so valuable. It has helped me make decisions to steer my own course ever since, especially choosing an employer whose values and purpose are aligned with my own, especially the byrne·dean values of Making a difference and Doing what’s right.
At byrne·dean we run sessions on recruitment and, whether you are researching new roles or recruiting people, we talk about looking beyond the more obvious criteria and delving into values. Yes, of course, role/title/experience/salary are all important but, for both parties, knowing whether values are aligned is too important to leave to luck. That does not mean everyone has to have the same view on how to achieve or live them or even the detail of what they mean in practice (in fact quite the opposite), but knowing that you and the teams you are in are all pulling in the same direction and can speak up if you are going off course can really help.
Using the pandemic cliché of being in a boat in a turbulent sea, sometimes we all need to raise our heads up and reassess the course we are on when we have the opportunity to do so. Reconnecting and reflecting on values, whether that is personally or professionally or the interaction of the two, can be really beneficial to avoid working tirelessly hard in a direction you perhaps don’t want to be heading. Earlier this week at byrne·dean we reflected on just this and we all connected virtually – from new joiners to CEO and founders - to talk about our own and the business’s values: where they started out and how they are going. We had an honest and open discussion on our joint purpose and values in the current world and welcomed, shared and most importantly, learned from each other and heard different views and perspectives. We started the conversation and plan to keep it going.
On this World Values Day, perhaps we should all reconnect with our values and engage in ongoing conversations with others to help check we are on course, particularly as we enter new and changeable waters?