The importance of company values

Company values are the leading principles of an organization, that reflect the organization’s brand and culture. They determine an organization’s internal and external standards, which is represented in the culture and approach. These ideals are the binding factor between the organization and its employees.

The importance of company values

Developing company values

When developing company values, it is important to determine your ideals, what your employees expect, and what would satisfy (potential) clients. Start by asking yourself: why did you start the company? Follow it up with: what do you want your company to represent? What impression do you want leave?

Once you have your answers, consult with your employees and clients or target demographic. Do not be afraid to ask for feedback, just make sure to create a safe space to do so. Ask them to fill in a survey or, if possible, make it more personal through a face-to-face meeting. Make sure to leverage the knowledge of your most experienced employees and clients: they may have hands-on experience with competitors or likeminded businesses that you can benefit from.

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Do not forget to study your competitors yourself. Try to find out what you can learn from them: what do they do well? What mistakes have they made that you can avoid? What policies do they have that you do not? Which of them can you adopt into your company values? What impression have they left on people? What can you learn from that?

And, most importantly, do not be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are how we learn, especially if you are willing to continuously grow. The world changes on a daily basis and some of these changes can affect your company’s brand, service or products. Try to figure out how you can benefit from certain changes to your values to ensure continuous employee and client retention. At the end of the day, employees carry your company brand. They are the embodiment of your values. If the experience is negative, they are more likely to share it. But, if it is positive, they will recommend the company to family and friends.

All in all, your company values can help you outline a brand, an expectation, and guidelines for how you want to be remembered and represented. These ideals can help determine procedures, processes, and workflows that will eventually effect both your employees‘ and clients‘ experiences.

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Company values ​​examples

There are many examples of company values that may or may not be applicable to your business. However, it does not take away the fact that some values are equally appreciated across the board. Below are a few examples of values that may be important to a company:

Inclusion 
It is important that you are willing to employ people of every gender, race, culture, religion, sexual identity, sexuality, ethnicity, age, and/or ability so long as they meet the requirements, experience, and the company culture.

Equal opportunities 
Through inclusion you are also willing to provide equal opportunities to all your employees based on their experience, not their gender, race, culture, religion, sexual identity, sexuality, ethnicity, age, and/or ability.

Ownership/Integrity 
All employees of your company will perform as a representative of the company’s brand and therefore will carry out their duties and responsibilities with integrity, while taking full ownership.

Trust 
Building trust between employees and clients

Transparency 
The choice to adopt a transparent communication policy, which in turn can help build trust.

Authenticity 
Provide the opportunity and/or safe space for employees and clients to be their authentic selves without facing any judgement, preferential treatment, and/or discrimination. Leaving room for authenticity can boost motivation, values personal experience, and can make your company stand out.

Constructive feedback 
Welcoming constructive feedback from your employees and clients can help the company grow, improve, and learn from any mistakes. This can be done by providing ample opportunities without facing any consequences.

Honesty 
Having an honest policy set up in your company values sets up the expectation but also carries out the image that your company appreciates honesty without having to fear any consequences.

Respect 
This goes without saying, but naturally employees and clients are all to be treated equally and respectfully.

Environmental and economical awareness 
With the current issues we face surrounding economical and environmental issues, it is important for companies to implement a separate value that outlines their mission on how they will contribute to the (local) economy and environment. For instance, adhering to recycling policies, donating leftover food, collaborating and promoting with local charities, going green as much as possible, etc.

Core values

This is not an exhaustive list of values as there are many more. But, at the end of the day, it is important to determine which values represent you the most, by continuously asking yourself why you started the company in the first place. This can help you pick the core values that best represent your brand.

The list above might be overwhelming. They are all values that almost every company represents or wants to represent nowadays. However, it is recommended to incorporate approximately 3-5 core values, which can always be adapted to contemporary situations, if necessary. Implementing too many values can become overwhelming or too constricting in the long run. It may even make your company blend into the crowd instead of stand out.

Free webinar January 14th: Martin Barner - Build a Human Centric Culture

Martin Barner is Head People & Organization Global @ Sandoz International GmbH. He will speak about How to Build a Human Centric Culture inside organizations.

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