Participants in a recent culture-change initiative at BlueShore Financial propose that the B.C. full-service financial institution is now well on the path “from good to great.” This is obviously a promising outcome and begs the question: How did a short-term project effect this?

Danae Johnson and Charles Holmes are two consultants and facilitators who worked with the institution through its culture-change journey. They have produced a report outlining how they invigorated a company-wide focus on the organization’s values as a means of strengthening an already robust culture and realizing even higher levels of organizational achievement.

An integral element to this initiative’s success was the engagement of employees in identifying the company’s new corporate values.

Though there was a risk in opening up this conversation, the credit union’s leadership recognized the greater reward in giving employees full voice.

“Our values say in a few words what is important to us, not just the executive, so ensuring all staff had a voice in the process was critical,” says Marni Johnson, vice-president human resources and communications.

When BlueShore Financial moved into their new head office in October 2014, a team of volunteer employee ambassadors acted as champions and guides. Their role reinforced the credit union’s values during a time of significant change.

When BlueShore Financial moved into their new head office in October 2014, a team of volunteer employee ambassadors acted as champions and guides. Their role reinforced the credit union’s values during a time of significant change.

The proposition that success can be garnered through an organization’s commitment to a set of values has been upheld by other organizations. For instance, former CEO and current executive chairwoman of the U.S.-based Dwyer Group of brands, Dina Dwyer-Owens, has repeatedly cited its commitment to a code of values as integral to its success. Dina has been a passionate advocate of this code, which includes respect, integrity, customer focus and having fun.

“By following our code of values and the franchise system, we have grown to more than 1,600 locations around the world, and the expansion continues,” Dina says in a recent news article.

While BlueShore Financial recognizes there is always more work to be done, “the impact of (the credit union’s) commitment to placing values at the core of their organizational culture can be seen in both their performance record and levels of employee satisfaction,” Danae and Charles write in their study on BlueShore.

“The values process was extremely beneficial for our organization,” Marni says. “We have learned a lot about the importance of aligning personal values with corporate values and how this contributes to a highly engaged and productive work environment. We highly recommend this process to other organizations.”

Both Charles and Danae played an integral role in ensuring the initiative was more than just a rote exercise, Marni adds. “They were very effective at pushing back and really asking the tough questions, to make sure that we were getting at the heart of the matter.”

BlueShore has since garnered a number of accolades and awards for this culture-change effort, including the HRMA Innovation Award Finalist, 2014.

“The organization’s performance record and high levels of employee engagement illustrate the enduring power of a healthy organizational culture,” Charles and Danae write. “They also underline the importance of change as a healthy part of creating a sustainable organization – change that is anchored in the indelible waters of culture rather than the ephemeral tides of trends.

“Can values help an organization re-brand from the inside out, and make that shift from good to great? As witnessed at BlueShore Financial, the answer is a resounding ‘Yes’,” they conclude.

BCHRMA HR Voice has published the case study, A Values-based Culture Takes Company from Good to Great. Click here to read it.

Writer: Michelle Strutzenberger

Editor’s Note: Click here to read about Axiom News’ partnership with Charles Holmes Consulting and the intent of the stories in this series.