Creating our new Wilmington values

Head of employee relations and development Jane Grace describes the process Wilmington went through to create new values that colleagues could live by.

How can Wilmington create company values that are in tune with our strategy?

That was something our CEO Pedro Ros asked me to consider in early 2015. We soon agreed that that it was important to secure buy-in from colleagues throughout the company if the new strategy was to succeed. We needed our culture to be aligned with business objectives, for people to share a common vision throughout Wilmington.

Equally importantly, we needed the company’s orientation to be customer-facing. Starting with the People Working with Pedro and senior colleagues, we introduced the Wilmington Values Program, inviting people from every part of Wilmington to volunteer for the initiative. Shared values lead to shared success, and the Executive Committee (ExeCo) wanted to involve as many people as possible in defining the key characteristics of ‘Team Wilmington’. Eighty-two employees, from 15 different Wilmington businesses, attended one of nine half-day workshops – there was also an international session run electronically in English, Spanish and French. These were fast-paced, interactive workshops that encouraged everyone to participate. Focusing on “what we like about Wilmington” and sharing real-life examples of positive behaviour, people identified the underlying values that drove these behaviours.

Each group selected three or four themes that emerged during the workshop, and one person from each session attended a final meeting to extract four key values from the various themes. Elected members of the project team then shared feedback from the program with the Execo – identifying ‘Enabling’, ‘Enhancing’, ‘Collaborating’ and ‘Innovating’ as the values that characterise the Wilmington work ethic. Innovating - Anticipating opportunities and encouraging creativity in the way we provide information, education and networking. Enabling - Empowering our colleagues and clients with the knowledge, resources or authority needed to achieve goals. Enhancing - Continually improving the quality and value of everything we do.

Collaborating - Making valuable partnerships with colleagues and clients to achieve more than we can individually. Building Wilmington’s Value-Driven Future Pedro took time to introduce the Wilmington Values to colleagues across the company, using his regular weekly email to focus on one value at a time over a four-week period. This was followed by a formal launch at our annual Wilmington Conference where videos featuring colleagues around the company were used to bring the values to life. A live webinar for all employees was delivered by Pedro the following day to ensure the whole organisation is included. If the enthusiastic reception is a reliable indicator, the program is well on its way to cementing employee alignment throughout Wilmington. Our in-house video production team created a great video featuring colleagues talk about what the values mean to them. And, on a lighter note, our colleagues at CLT International in the Risk & Compliance Division created a game, “How Wilmington Are You?” that allows colleagues to explore the behaviours behind the values. Looking ahead, Wilmington has created a steering committee to take the Values Programme forward.

The ExeCo invited workshop participants to become “Values Ambassadors” and to provide continuing support for the project. Ambassadors will visit different parts of Wilmington to introduce the project, and to ensure that the company’s shared values are embedded in recruitment and development processes across the company. Over the coming months, Pedro and his colleagues will show clients, shareholders, colleagues and potential colleagues how Wilmington’s values deliver increased returns for them.

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