Many, many years ago I did some contract work for Churchill Insurance.
Upon entering their Bromley Head Office for the first time, I was presented with a massive sign that proudly set out Churchill’s company values.
Although we’re going back well over a decade, from memory, the first value was ‘Courage’.
The next was ‘Honesty’.
The next was ‘Urgency’.
The next might have been ‘Realism’.
Can’t remember the next one, but I’m certain it would have begun with a letter ‘C’.
Because the most memorable thing about the list of Churchill Company Values was that each of the initial letters spelled out the word: C.H.U.R.C.H.I.L.L.
So far, so contrived.
But in my short time at the company I learned something about how those values were embedded in the company culture that I have only very rarely seen anywhere else.
And that was this: when staff had their six-monthly appraisal, as a part of the review process they had to detail an example when they had behaved with ‘Courage’.
And also detail a different example of when they’d acted with ‘Honesty’.
And another of acting with…well, you get the gist.
Now having to evidence – what? – nine different instances when you’ve acted in compliance with nine different company values over a period of six months is quite an ask for any staff member.
I have no idea whether Churchill appraisals still work this way: maybe it all got a little too complicated?
But the concept of embedding the company values in the company appraisal process made a lot of sense to me.
To my mind, if a firm is going to proscribe that its staff align to a series of company values, then asking them to formally evidence they’re doing it is a not unreasonable way to get them to live those values.
Otherwise, why have the values in the first place?
These days I work for myself, but I am curious to know how other companies embed their values in their staff.
Does anyone embed their values in their appraisal process it like Churchill?
Do companies coach their staff in how to behave in line with the company values?
Does anyone do it really effectively?
Or are most company values – like most brand values – a well-meaning if anodyne wish list dreamt up by someone in an ivory tower, with absolutely no grounding in what goes on in the real world, or with any meaningful attempt to embed them?
Curious to know your stories.
All feedback is a gift.