3 Signs You Need To Review Your Family Business Values

Core values are the foundation on which a business is built. They help define the company’s identity and govern its actions and decisions. Every business has unique core values that set it apart from other companies. They play an important role in shaping the company’s vision and guiding its day-to-day operations.

There are many different types of values in business that companies can encompass. These family business values can range from personal behaviours to environmental influences and philanthropy. Some companies hire employees based on clearly defined values, such as behavioural expectations, sales practices, dress codes, or even morning prayers. Others simply respect and admire the values that potential employees bring to the table. Ultimately, these values help the company fulfil its mission.

So how do you know when it’s time to go back to the drawing board and redefine where your family business wants to be now and in the future? Look out for these signs:

You can’t retain staff

Culture plays a critical role in employee retention. In our post-pandemic era, employee expectations have changed and will continue to do so. This has been the cause for many posts being abandoned – a phenomenon referred to as the Great Resignation. How to stem the tide? Business leaders and HR need to look hard at their corporate culture to ensure they are living up to their values – or rethinking those values in order to put people first.

Employee well-being has become increasingly important in the wake of the pandemic. If employees feel that too much has been demanded of them, they may seek other employment. A 2021 Deloitte study showed that 28 percent of UK employees left or planned to leave their jobs, with over 60 percent of those citing poor mental health as a major factor for their resignations.

Chances are, a 40-hour work week is the way things have always been done in your family business. If you are spending too much time (and money) looking for new talent, invest in creating a culture that puts employee well-being first. This could include offering more flexibility, supporting financial well-being, talking to employees about their future with the company, and encouraging their development.

There is no diversity in your leadership

A diverse and inclusive workforce is essential to succeed in today’s business environment. A broad range of perspectives and backgrounds helps create a balance of voices and ideas, which leads to a more successful business.

According to a 2020 report by Pipeline, companies with more female leaders tend to achieve better results. Research has shown that these companies are ten times more profitable than companies without women in executive roles. A McKinsey study found that ethnically diverse leadership teams are 36 percent more likely to be profitable.

The same McKinsey report showed that companies in the fourth quartile for both gender and ethnic diversity are 27 percent more likely to underperform in terms of profitability when compared to others in the data set. These findings demonstrate that any investment in diversity is likely to lead to positive business outcomes.

So how can you make the change? If you want to create a more inclusive culture in your workplace, start by getting buy-in from senior leadership. Then, draft an update to your core values that reflects that commitment. To get the most out of this exercise, solicit suggestions and feedback from employees across the organisation. This way, you can ensure that your leadership and HR teams consider a diverse range of perspectives.

There are many ways to ensure that everyone’s needs are accommodated in the workplace, regardless of their circumstances. Some steps include implementing flexible work arrangements for young parents and other caregivers or hiring and training new employees with the skills and expertise families have identified as being needed in the future. By taking active steps to remove barriers to participation, we can create a more inclusive workplace for all.

You probably need to rethink your recruitment strategies, too. To find a more diverse pool of applicants, you need to know where to look and make your open positions more visible.

You don’t have recycling bins

It may seem arbitrary, but the fact that the “reuse, recycle” message has not penetrated your workspace means sustainability is probably not considered part of your business strategy.

PWC believes that family businesses are uniquely positioned to lead the way. With their long-term investment goals and commitment to values, family businesses can affect real change in the world. By addressing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues, they can have a positive impact across sectors and countries.

The key to making a difference, if you are working for a family business, is to think of sustainability as something you support or are engaged in and as something you influence through your supply chains.

According to the IFB Research Foundation, families who want to make a difference should: keep a clear sense of long-term vision for their organisation; balance long-term objectives and short-term performance; engage publicly in sustainability issues and leverage their position to influence supply chains; develop people capital; and focus on resource efficiency to avoid its depletion and ensure materials security.

Changing family business values – just get going

As your business grows and changes, your values should evolve with it. What was important to you when you first started out may not be so important now. Establishing clear, concise values helps everyone in the company focus on what’s essential and align their behaviour accordingly. And if you need to change your values, don’t be afraid to do so – it may be precisely what your company needs.

These are the steps you should take:

  • Review your core values
  • Establish your culture goals
  • Evaluate your existing culture
  • Design your plan
  • Analyse your progress

Culture change only happens when people take action. So if you want to bring about a change in your family business culture and values, you must first take action yourself. While it’s important to have clear goals that may require changes to company structures, these objectives are more likely to succeed if you first show people what changes you’re seeking.