How Company Values Underpin Company Purpose at Veolia UK

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In one of our recent podcasts, we spoke to Lee Edwards, Head of Human Resources Strategy for Veolia - the UK’s leading resource management firm.

With over 14,000 employees in the UK and Ireland, an HR team of 120 have their hands full in ensuring that the people who comprise the organisation are involved, nurtured, and working in union toward the company’s end goals.

In the podcast, Lee points out how HR, in general, has evolved into a more people-centric role than ever before. According to Lee, HR has been elevated to a more commercial and strategic function, with a focus on developing people, identifying talent and setting people up for the future.

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For the people at Veolia, this meant re-defining the company values to unite a massive workforce, which was a journey that Lee and the HR team launched in early 2020. In the podcast, he shares insights on how Veolia’s values were defined through involvement from over 40 managerial staff and their teams, how the final values were launched, and how they continue to embed those values at all levels. He elaborates on how these values, underpinned by certain behaviours, become a measurable quality by including them in performance reviews.

Lee points out that Veolia is a purpose-led organisation with a strong focus on the company’s “Why”. Going hand-in-hand with this, and in fact of mutual consequence, Veolia’s values are seen as the company’s “How” – How the workforce collectively works to achieve the organisation’s Why. Values at Veolia are perceived with as much importance as purpose, which is a defining quality of the progressive company.

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Veolia’s company values are simple, largely self-explanatory, and strongly linked to employee behaviour:

  1. Respect
  2. Responsibility
  3. Customer focus
  4. Innovation
  5. Community spirit

The success of Veolia’s company values structure is tangible and measurable, as seen in a recent internal survey. An astounding 78% of employees responded to the survey, with significant results:

  • More than 80% felt that values were effectively in place
  • 93% felt that their work contribution was valuable and connected to the company purpose

Lee discloses valuable advice with organisations embarking on establishing, re-defining or implementing clearer, more impactful values. Then, drawing our conversation to a close, he shares, “The only way to start is to get started. No matter where you are in your journey, know that there are people around you who will want to form part of the process.”

Listen to the full podcast to hear more from Lee Edwards and ILM host Anna Sheard – access the recording here!

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