Have you ever visited a business where you intuitively understood what the company stood for and why it was in business? Perhaps you could immediately feel that the company cared deeply about its customers or employees. Or maybe the business had a clear and obvious mission to improve the world in a meaningful way.
You may have even worked at a business that was very intentional in how it treated its employees, customers, and community.
It’s not a coincidence when a business makes a clear and obvious impact. In many cases, it’s the result of a very deliberate process to define the philosophies and ideals that form the foundation of the business.
Those philosophies and ideals are known as the company’s values. Whether you’ve defined them or not, your company has values. Those values shape the company’s culture, reputation, and even its relationship with employees, customers, and other stakeholders.
What are company values for your business? Have you defined them? Have you shared them with your employees and customers? If not, you may be missing an opportunity to influence your company culture and even win customers and retain key employees. Below is a guide with everything you need to know to get started on creating your company’s values.
Company values defined
Your business values are the foundational philosophies that guide your company and your employees. They’re the ideals on which you operate. They can reflect how you treat each other, how you treat customers, or even some change or improvement you want to make in the community or the world. There are two main types of company values:
Core company values. Core company values are values that are deeply ingrained in your business and your employees. It’s important to note that you have core company values whether or not you’ve defined them. Often in companies that have not defined their values, core company values evolve naturally through employee interactions and behavior.
Core values of a company can be positive or negative. One of Google’s core values is to “Focus on the customer and all else will follow.” That’s a positive core value.
However, let’s say you’ve never defined or communicated core values to your employees. They may have developed a culture of indifference or even animosity towards customer issues. That’s a negative value that has developed on its own.
If you don’t define your core values, your business and employees will develop them naturally, and they may not be the core values that you want.
Aspirational values. These are values that may not exist yet in your business, but nonetheless are values you hope to foster and develop.
For example, Whole Foods has a value to practice win-win partnerships with suppliers. This is a value that was not fully in practice when the value was defined. Rather, Whole Foods decided to make it a value and revamp their supplier practices going forward.
Your aspirational values could be in how you recruit and retain employees or give back to the community or even hit sustainability goals. They can be anything you and your team feel is important, just be sure that they align with your employees ideals. You need employee buy-in to turn an aspirational value into a core value.
The importance of company values
At first glance, company values may seem like they’re just words written on paper. However, when the full organization buys into the values and puts them into action, your values can have a real impact on your organization and your bottom line.
How important are company values to a brand and a business? The results of one Deloitte survey tell us that 94% of executives believe that a strong workplace culture is important when it comes to business success. But that’s not the only statistic that reinforces the importance of business values.