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Corporate values should be clear, measured and adhered to

24 Aug, 2016

When I worked for large companies any mention of corporate values meant a collective sign of exasperation in the knowledge that all us worker bees were going to be subjected to lofty prose from the senior management followed by a resumption of the monotonous grind that was office life.

I always found it extremely depressing that the Boards of big companies honestly thought that their businesses espoused their stated values, but yet did nothing to ensure that this was the case, other than ask the executive team, who would obviously reassure the Board that the values of the business were indeed embraced and cherished by everyone in the company.

Having now evolved myself from the primordial soup of the hard-working wage-slaves that drive big companies into the world of senior management, I now find the boot firmly on the other foot and needing, as a member of company Boards, to ensure that there are values to which the company adheres and that these are measured and reported on, publicly and transparently.

When putting together the initial thoughts of how we would shape Finance for Guernsey as a company, one of the first things that I put into the first presentation was the company’s values. This may seem to be slightly putting the cart before the horse, given that we are yet to have a long term business plan, but I disagree. If you start with stated values then any stakeholder who does become involved in the business knows what it stands for, and is not expecting anything different. Employees and shareholders know what sort of business that they are committing to; business partners, regulators and Government know what sort of company that they will be dealing with; and service providers know what to expect when engaging with the company.

We have two sets of values, one for the company and one for its employees. They all feed into the same themes, but it is important to ensure that everyone feels included that they are directly addressed, not just given broad brushed corporate ideals.

For Finance For Guernsey our core values are:

  • Treat all stakeholders fairly and all investors equally;
  • Embrace and engage with regulation and regulators;
  • Manage conflicts of interests openly, transparently and fairly;
  • Maintain diversity in employment and in management;
  • Minimise impact on the environment;
  • Be supportive of the community and its goals; and
  • Be open and transparent in monitoring and reporting in all of these areas.

When it comes to our people they should be:

  • Given the opportunity to create value;
  • Treated with respect at all times;
  • Never forced to put work above family;
  • Offered training to further careers;
  • Fairly rewarded, with all employees owning shares in the company; and
  • Kept informed.

If we are to be successful I believe that these core values will be a central part of that success, because unless a company adheres to a value matrix it becomes nothing but a consumer of hope, expectation, dreams and ambition; producing nothing but fear, greed, enmity and avarice. Such a company may on the face of it claim success but such a business in my view should always be regarded as a failure.

Finance For Guernsey will seek to measure our success in sticking to our values and will report to our stakeholders regularly on how we are performing. This should keep the business true to its founding principles and cognisant of any drift away from those values.

In terms of the values themselves, we will be putting some flesh on the bones in the comings weeks as to what they mean in practice

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