What are company values?
Company values are not just a collection of random words that you think potential customers would like, they represent the essence of your business. Company values are the beliefs, philosophies, and principles that drive your business. They impact the employee experience you deliver as well as the relationship you develop with your customers, partners, and shareholders.
Company values can be divided into 4 categories
- Core values are the deeply ingrained principles that guide all of a company’s actions; they serve as its cultural cornerstones. Collins and Porras succinctly define core values as being inherent and sacrosanct; they can never be compromised, either for convenience or short-term economic gain. Core values often reflect the values of the company’s founders—Hewlett-Packard’s celebrated “HP Way” is an example. They are the source of a company’s distinctiveness and must be maintained at all costs.
- Aspirational values are those that a company needs to succeed in the future but currently lacks. A company may need to develop a new value to support a new strategy, for example, or to meet the requirements of a changing market or industry.
- Permission-to-play values simply reflect the minimum behavioural and social standards required of any employee. They tend not to vary much across companies, particularly those working in the same region or industry, which means that, by definition, they never really help distinguish a company from its competitors.
- Accidental values arise spontaneously without being cultivated by leadership and take hold over time. They usually reflect the common interests or personalities of the organization’s employees. Accidental values can be good for a company, such as when they create an atmosphere of inclusivity. But they can also be negative forces, foreclosing new opportunities.
Having Core Company values can help you ensure each of your employees, from top leadership to entry-level, are working towards the same common goal, and share a bigger purpose. Core company values shape your company culture and impact your business strategy. They help you create a purpose, improve team cohesion, and create a sense of commitment in the workplace. Ultimately, core values are critical if you want to create a long-lasting, successful, and motivating place to work.
Importance of company values
- Your company values help your employees make the right decisions
- They help you improve your employee communications
- They have a direct impact on employee motivation and engagement
- They help your clients understand what your company stands for
- They help you attract and retain top talent
- They help you attract customers that share the same values
- They make your marketing and internal communications teams' lives easier
Interesting company value statistics
- More than 50% of CEOs and CFOs say corporate culture influences productivity, creativity, profitability, firm value and growth rates (Forbes)
- 80% of HR leaders say their organization currently has an employee recognition program (Businesswire)
- 88% of employees believe a strong company culture is key to business success (Bultin)
- 47% of active job seekers cite company culture as their driving reason for looking for work (Pivotal Advisors)
- 76% of employees believe that well-defined business goals help cultivate a positive work culture (Bultin)
- 15% of job seekers turned down a job offer because of the company's culture (Jobvite)
- Just 23% of U.S. employees strongly agree that they can apply their organization's values to their work every day (Gallup)
- Employees who positively view their work-life balance are 10% more likely to stay in their current role (Bultin)
- 35% of U.S. workers say they would pass on the perfect job if they felt the company culture wasn't a good fit (Robert Half)
- Employees who don't like their company's culture are 24% more likely to quit their jobs (TINYpulse)
- 38% of U.S. employees want a job that aligns with their interests and passions (Bultin)
- 93% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers (LinkedIn)
- 37% of employees consider recognition the most important thing a manager or a company could do to help them be more successful at what they do (Smarp)
- 89% of HR leaders believe peer feedback and regular check-ins enhance their organizational culture (Businesswire)
- Actively disengaged employees cause U.S. companies between $450 – $550 billion in lost productivity per year (Zippia)
Examples of values from some of the best companies in the world
- Focus on impact
- Move fast
- Be bold
- Be open
- Build social value
- Leadership: The courage to shape a better future
- Collaboration: Leverage collective genius
- Integrity: Be real
- Accountability: If it is to be, it’s up to me
- Passion: Committed in heart and mind
- Diversity: As inclusive as our brands
- Quality: What we do, we do well
- Performance: Sport is the foundation for all we do and executional excellence is a core value of our Group.
- Passion: Passion is at the heart of our company. We are continuously moving forward, innovating, and improving.
- Integrity: We are honest, open, ethical, and fair. People trust us to adhere to our word.
- Diversity: We know it takes people with different ideas, strengths, interests, and cultural backgrounds to make our company succeed. We encourage healthy debate and differences of opinion.
- Focus on the user and all else will follow.
- It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
- Fast is better than slow.
- Democracy on the web works.
- You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
- You can make money without doing evil.
- There’s always more information out there.
- The need for information crosses all borders.
- You can be serious without a suit.
- Great just isn’t good enough.
- It is our nature to innovate.
- Nike is a company.
- Nike is a brand.
- Simplify and go.
- The consumer decides.
- Be a sponge.
- Evolve immediately.
- Do the right thing.
- Master the fundamentals.
- We are on the offense – always.
- Remember the man. (The late Bill Bowerman, Nike co-founder)”
- Starbucks Coffee
- Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.
- Acting with courage, challenging the status quo and finding new ways to grow our company and each other.
- Being present, connecting with transparency, dignity and respect.
- Delivering our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results.
- Grow our business in a way that makes us proud.
- Recognize that passion and personality matter.
- Communicate fearlessly to build trust.
- Defend and respect the user’s voice.
- Reach every person on the planet.
- Innovate through experimentation.
- Seek diverse perspectives.
- Be rigorous. Get it right.
- Ship it.
- Virgin Airlines
- We think customer
- We lead the way
- We do the right thing
- We are determined to deliver
- Together we make the difference
- Customer Fixation
- We lead by example
- We work together
- We respect the individual
- We seek the facts and provide insight
- We are open and honest in our communication
- We are committed to our communities
- Above all, we act with integrity
- Entrepreneurial spirit
- Quest for Excellence
- Be A Host – Care for others and make them feel like they belong. Encourage others to participate to their fullest/ Listen, communicate openly and set clear expectations.
- Champion The Mission – Prioritise work that advances the mission and positively impacts the community. Build with the long-term in mind. Actively participate in the community and culture.
- Be A Cereal Entrepreneur – Be bold and apply original thinking. Imagine the ideal outcome. Be resourceful to make the outcome a reality
- Embrace The Adventure – Be curious, ask for help, and demonstrate an ability to grow. Own and learn from mistakes. Bring joy and optimism to work.
- Judgment – You identify root causes, and get beyond treating symptoms. You think strategically and can articulate what you are, and are not, trying to do. You are good at using data to inform your intuition.
- Courage – You say what you think, when it’s in the best interest of Netflix, even if it is uncomfortable. You are willing to be critical of the status quo. You question actions inconsistent with our values.
- Selflessness – You seek what is best for Netflix, rather than what is best for yourself or your group. You are open-minded in search of the best ideas. You make time to help colleagues.
- Inclusion – You collaborate effectively with people of diverse backgrounds and cultures. You nurture and embrace differing perspectives to make better decisions. You intervene if someone else is being marginalised.
Company values are vital to the overall success of building a business. Companies need to take ownership and define their company values. Company values need to be constantly reinforced and reviewed as they are important to the long-term growth and value of your company.
Your business certainly should not do is to just lift a more established business’ core values and take them for your own. Let these brands set an example for yours when updating or creating your own core values. It might be exactly what you need to take your brand to the next level.
Fadzai Danha is a consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm. Phone +263 4 481946-48/481950 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants.com