Studies show that companies with strong values perform better financially, grow faster, and experience higher customer and employee satisfaction. Plenty of corporations have strong values on paper but fail to live up to them in practice. Enron is a great example of why there’s value in talking about company values.
On paper, Enron’s values were “Communication. Respect. Integrity. Excellence.” However, around 2001, this energy and commodities company committed fraud by overstating earnings, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy, battled a class-action lawsuit by investors, and lost several executives, including the CEO, to significant prison sentences.
As illustrated by this example, defining strong company values is only the first step. Maintaining and proving those values are the key to building an ethical and sustainable business.
At BRIGHT, we carefully and intentionally defined our values to center around building strong and healthy relationships. We also like alliteration.
- Trust: We act in a responsible, moral, ethical, and sustainable way to support our mission, our team, and our clients. Relationships are built on trust, and we attempt to gain trust through characteristics like reliability, honesty, and good will.
- Tenacity: We are passionate about clinical research and persistent in helping our clients succeed. Determination and diligence are important qualities as we move our clients’ projects and our employees’ careers forward.
- Transparency: We build strong relationships through honesty, authenticity, and clear communication. We believe in being open and candid, sharing the good and bad news.
This concise list of values is articulated in our employee handbook and on our website, but more importantly, it lives in our daily work with each other and with our clients, clinical site collaborators, and business partners.
As illustrated by Enron’s example, it’s one thing to articulate values, and a whole different thing to maintain them. At BRIGHT, it’s a top priority to hire the right talent; one of our most sought-after requirements is cultural fit. We invest time in coffee meetings, networking events, and attending industry conferences to seek out individuals who align with our values.
We are not box checkers with a lengthy list of job requirements; rather, we believe that people with the right attitude and aptitude can be taught “the BRIGHT way” and excel with our company. In some cases, we’ve hired employees with little idea of exactly what their role would be within the organization, we just knew that they would be a good fit. As a result of this approach, we’ve assembled a high performing team. While that’s an important first step, we also work hard to retain our talented employees and to foster a sense of fulfillment in our workspace.
Our leadership team has a big responsibility to demonstrate our values in day-to-day interactions with clients, vendors, and employees. We also strive to recognize our team members when we see our values in action. This helps set the right expectations and shows the team that we’re paying attention. In the end, we all can take comfort in the fact that we have strong values that provide guidance and checkpoints for the many decisions we make while running our business.
While internal buy-in is great, it’s even more important that our core values ring true for those outside of BRIGHT. That’s why we periodically survey our clients and specifically ask them about their experiences with how BRIGHT builds trust, communicates transparently, and demonstrates tenacity. In addition to the formal surveys, we’re big believers in real-time conversations. We connect regularly with our clients to ensure the BRIGHT team is meeting their expectations and living up to our values.
It’s been our experience that strong values really do help us perform better financially, grow faster, and have higher client and employee satisfaction. We feel that we’re on the right track at BRIGHT as we deliver high quality clinical research built upon our core values of trust, tenacity, and transparency. If you deeply resonate with our values and our efforts to maintain and proof them, we’d love to talk with you about opportunities to collaborate as an employee, client, or business partner.