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Values in Action for World Values Day

Category: Achievements, Leadership, representation, sage, organisations, World Values Day, Values-driven, Always Listening survey, Black Lives Matter movement, Government funding, Culture workshops, Sage Colleague Success Awards, Strong foundations



Every October is World Values Day. What I love about that day, and what makes me optimistic for the future, is that the idea of being ‘values-driven’ as a company is no longer just a concern for the HR Team.

Over the last 2 years values have been centre stage, and rightly so. Organisations have faced tough decisions and in doing so revealed their true character and the values at their core.

In a crisis, we go to what matters most to us. Our people remember how we show up as a business and as leaders when the going gets tough. It’s why this year’s theme, Values in Action, strongly resonates with me. Being values driven has got to be more than words. If they don’t drive every interaction, every decision, and every action - they aren’t really values.

To demonstrate this, I wanted to share three stories from Sage which have helped us embed our values. Let me start by sharing our values at Sage:

  • We do the right thing
  • Start with the customer
  • Together we succeed Innovate to win

So, what did we do?

1. Ask, listen, take action. Then go again.

At Sage, we know that to succeed, we must support and respect each other by always doing what we say we will. To turn that into action, we consistently listen to colleagues and act on their insight.

That’s why we launched our Always Listening survey, in part due to Covid-19. Just by asking a simple question ‘what’s on your mind?’, colleagues can tell us exactly that, as many times as they like. By evolving questions that reflect sentiment across the business, reporting back through our communications channels and then acting on it, we live our values, create transparency and build trust.  

Likewise, as part of our response to the Black Lives Matter movement, we listened to our Black and People of Colour colleagues to understand their experiences, reflect on what needed to change, and act on it. Almost 800 colleagues in North America took part in listening sessions and we are now running these in the UK as part of Black History Month.

These are just two reasons why 78% of Sage colleagues said they had a sense of belonging in our latest engagement (Pulse) survey. Looking ahead, we will be working hard to create an environment where every voice counts, and everybody can thrive, not just the usual and comfortable voices. A priority will be to ensure our leaders are vigilant in their listening and actions. 

2 . Bring your values to life. Show don’t tell.

The unprecedented events of 2020 in many ways embedded our culture quicker, and with more meaningful results. Our values guided our decision to get all of our colleagues quickly working from home, our actions to ensure everyone was safe and their voices heard in our new working environment and important decisions such as not accessing government funding in any of our geographies.

Colleagues told us they understood the role everyone played in doing the right thing – our core value which drives everything we do.   

However, we wanted to share more examples our culture brought to life. So, we filmed colleagues and leaders sharing their personal take on it. This content was used by managers in team meetings, culture workshops, Pulse survey action plan sessions, and during annual reviews. Whatever the forum, it all helped put our values into action and started a powerful discussion.

Have a watch for yourself

3. Celebrate colleagues who are putting values into action

Building further on the ‘show, don’t tell’ approach, we’ve found a great way to embed values is to celebrate those who are doing it brilliantly and letting colleagues lead the conversation. That is why we launched the Sage Colleague Success Awards; a celebration of achievements – big or small – that were guided by our values.

Globally, we had a staggering 6,730 nominations (more than half of our colleagues). I was blown away by the response. This week at our Kick-off events to launch our new financial year, we celebrated the 42 regional winners. I want to send my congratulations and thanks to the inspiring teams and individuals who won.

Watching colleagues share their nominations and the heartfelt messages that took over my – and I think all Sage colleagues’ - social feeds, was inspirational. Most importantly, by simply making a nomination, every single colleague was shaping a common understanding of what living the values looks like at Sage.





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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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