Case Study: Glasgow Caledonian University 


Key lessons from the GCU Value Project

  • Organisational values provide a strong foundation for building engagement
  • Securing and demonstrating top leadership commitment is key to engaging others in the activity
  • Actively involve everyone in the process (staff, students, managers, unions)
  • Identifying values is easy, embedding them takes time and commitment
  • Managers and individuals need practical tools if values are to be embedded
  • Focus on the positive, build on what works (appreciative enquiry approach)
  • Recognise that identification and communication of corporate values and behaviours is only the first and easiest step in a long process and plan resources and expectations appropriately


Since the start of the Values project:

  • Nine out of ten staff say that they believe that the new GCU Values and value statements provide a good guide to behaviour
  • Measurable increase in management participation in communication and cascade events
  • Management workshop focused on the Behaviours Framework generated statistically significant increase in confidence in using it for a wide range of management activities
  • Use of Values and Organisational level behavior statements within team focused activities generated measurable increase in:
    • perceived link between own work and organisational values
    • belief in the value of the team’s contribution
    • belief in the value of the university’s contribution
    • sense of pride in own and colleagues contributions
  • Over 70% staff felt that Points of Pride exhibition was in sharing the great things that staff at GCU do
  • Over 400 staff (largest for any recent university event) attended the final Values celebration event in 2016 and 9/10 rated it positively
  • GCU Values and Behaviors are now embedded in a range of university procedures including recruitment, induction, appraisal and promotion, management training, 360 degree management review and the policy review process
  • New leavers survey introduced showing >80% of staff positive about experience and recommending GCU
  • Productivity gain proxy of c£7.5m on a £70m pay budget.
  • The GCU People Services team were shortlisted for their outstanding Human Resources activities in the 2016 Times Higher Education Awards for Leadership & Management (THELMA) and won the prestigious Excellence in HR award at the Universities Human Resources Awards in 2017.


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