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This is the second in our series of blogs around Investors in People (IIP), and why you should get your organisation accredited by IIP. The first blog was a little while ago and talked about leading and inspiring people, which is the one of the three key indicators under the ‘leading’ heading in the organisation’s own standard.

For this piece, we’re going to look at the second key indicator, living the organisation’s values.

Here’s what IIP says this means:

‘People and leaders act in line with the organisation’s values at all times. They have the courage and support to challenge inconsistent behaviours.’

If you’re a regular reader of our blogs, you’ll know this is a subject we’re pretty fond of and have written about before. Even if IIP accreditation isn’t something you’re interested in, living your organisation’s values is still a behaviour you should adopt, and get everyone else to do the same.

What we’re not going to do in this blog is tell you what values your organisation should have. That’s for you to decide. It’s your organisation and it’s up to you how you want people to behave. We’re more concerned with some ways you can make sure you (and your people) are always aware of your values, and act in line with them no matter what.

Let’s assume you’ve got your values in place and everyone in your organisation knows what they are. This could be because they’re on display around your offices and when people log in to your intranet system, plus there’s loads of supporting information to explain exactly what they are (remember in the first IIP blog where we spoke about inspirational leaders being masters at letting people know what their organisational aims are? That’s what we mean here too).

So far so good.

However, the actual living of these values is often seen as tricky, although it’s not as difficult as you think. Acting in line with them involves relatively simple things like being transparent, acting with integrity and honesty, communicating clearly and regularly, and encouraging others to speak up.

For leaders, these are all really important. There’s nothing people in organisations dislike more than leaders who don’t do what they say they will.

These behaviours are important to people too, not just leaders. But it can sometimes be harder for them to come round to this way of thinking as they don’t always have as big an influence on what’s happening in the organisation.

To make people feel they’re valued, offer them help and support and encourage them to talk about things in a frank and open way. Employees like being able to have a voice and – more importantly – that this voice will be heard, particularly in times of change and uncertainty.

Recognition plays a big part in helping employees to live the organisation’s values too. Does your organisation reward people who go above-and-beyond in their day-to-day roles? Do people have the opportunity to recognise their peers, like managers and leaders can? Is there a fair bonus system available for everyone?

Reward and recognitions schemes like these are worth thinking about as it’s what IIP expect to be in place for any organisation serious about accreditation.

Living the organisation’s values is about behaving in a way you’d expect others to behave, not hiding things from your employees and keeping them involved in big decisions. A culture of openness where everyone can give their opinion without fear of reprisal is encouraged by IIP – and by us – as it shows you take your people seriously. Your workforce will be more productive too, which is always good news.