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Great values: the beating heart of charity

CFG’s HR Manager, Laura Millar, talks about the work CFG is doing to understand the charity’s values and how these can drive the charity’s impact, culture and wellbeing.

Core values are the principles and beliefs that form the bedrock of an organisation’s culture. They are an agreed set of words or statements that we all strive to work by, and they help us to understand what behaviours lead to success.

It starts with our values

For us at CFG, our values shape identity, culture and brand. And they help us to understand not only what the charity wants to achieve, but how we set out to achieve it.

As we headed into the 2021/22 financial year, we realised that our values needed to be dusted off and shared once again with the whole team, not only for those who were new to CFG – and there were many new faces! – but for those longer serving team members who had seen rapid change due to the pandemic and CFG’s 2020 restructure.

But what were our values? Had they remained the same as those we had set out in 2018? Or were they different? And how should we start articulating them?

These were the questions we put to staff, with the help of an external consultant already familiar with CFG. This work presented a rare but important opportunity to come together as a whole team, to think about our core values and how they drive our behaviours and, ultimately, lead not to CFG’s success, but the successes of our members, partners and the wider sector.

We soon learned that the process of determining our values was, in itself, really important for the team. Not only did it give everyone the chance to talk about what they believed our organisational values to be; it gave us time to connect in ways we wouldn’t have normally. For an organisation that was still working remotely in 2021, these were important and valuable interactions.

Over the course of several online workshops and follow-up conversations, we managed to tease out which values bind us and how they relate to the way we do things on a day-to-day basis.

It takes time and thought

This work wasn’t easy. It demonstrated that words mean many different things to different people, and it showed us all that words matter. Perhaps the most difficult part of this exercise was boiling down all our conversations to just three values and words, whilst trying not to lose their meaning.

For our values to have true meaning we need to go further than simply agreeing them and understanding where they came from. For our values to retain their meaning, they need to connect with our daily working lives and the work that we do. They must be a rallying point for employees.

We’re excited to share this work with you. We believe our values underpin who we are and who we aspire to be. Our values are the foundation of everything we do, ensuring that the way we SUPPORT our members and other stakeholders is driven by DYNAMISM and has INTEGRITY at its core.

This article was first published in CFG's Trustees' Annual Report 2021/22. Take a look at our latest Annual Report to find out more about CFG and our work.


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