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Jul 04, 2019

Approx. 9 min. read

Company Values: Definition, Importance and Examples

Company values help employees make informed decisions and unify the company culture. Decisions should be made with these values in mind.

Company values help employees make informed decisions and unify the company culture. Decisions should be made with these values in mind.

What Are Company Values

Company values provide a guideline for making decisions and help hold ourselves accountable for those decisions by asking the simple question: does this decision reflect our values?

As the image below shows, company values help boost employee motivation, morale, employee advocacy and help give employees guidance for their work. 

what-are-company-values

💡 Check out our Definite Guide for Employee Advocacy

The Importance of Setting Company Values

During the first three years of Smarp’s existence, we did not have any written company values. To be honest, we did not really see the benefit at the time - we saw them as something big companies have for creating a positive image of themselves, without adding any real value.

We were a small team, sitting in one room, day to day, working on getting our next client, improving our product and gathering feedback from existing clients on what we could improve. 

What we did not realize at the time was that we actually did have company values, just not on paper. The values were the result of our work together and the way our thoughts met during our informal discussions. This made us work effectively together by enabling each of us to make aligned decisions independently.

7 Reasons to Set Company Values

Even though there are companies that neglect defining company values, here are some companies that have managed define values that reflect their culture. Here are the main reasons why you should do define core company values:

1. Help employees make better decisions

Having a clear set of value can help your employees understand what do you stand for. In addition, values give them guidance for their work and a sense of security. 

Employees who understand your mission, vision and values are better in making decisions to achieve company's vision and goals. In contrary, when employees don’t have a sense of their or company's purpose, they’ll find it difficult to make future decisions.

Having a set of well defined company values provides a moral direction to guide employees in difficult times. In a volatile environment of rapid technological, environmental, and societal changes, it’s a much-needed constant.

As Simon Sinek explained in his book Start With Why, in order to define your company values, it is important to understand why does your company exist. 

2. Improve employee communication

Employee communication is extremely important for better company culture, employee satisfaction, motivation and engagement. 

Employer that don't know what their company values are have inconsistent and unclear communication with their employees. This often causes confusion and insecurity

With clear company values, you can significantly improve employee communications and help employee live by those values. 

3. Improve employee motivation and engagement

Better communication boosts employee motivation and engagement. If you know what your values are and are communicating them properly, your employees will know what their goals are and will work harder towards achieving them. 

More engaged employees are the ones that have a clear guidance for achieving their and company's goals. Therefore, if you want more engaged employees, you need to define your company values and communicate them properly. 

Here are the top 15 tips to motivate your employees!

4. Help your clients understand what your company stands for

Besides helping your employees live by your company values, it is important for your clients to understand them. 

Core company values help educate clients and potential customers about what the company is about and clarify the identity of the company. Having a set of specific and unique core values can be a competitive advantage.

For example, if one of your main company values is accountability, you can attract new customers who appreciate accountability from their vendors. 

5. Attract and retain talent at your company

Company values are extremely important for talent attraction and retention. Companies who have well defined company values benefit from hiring talent who fit their company culture. As a consequence, they have much lower employee turnover rates. 

Before applying to jobs, candidates research about your company's brand and core values in order to choose their next employer of choice. Therefore, it is extremely important to define and communicate your core values on your company's career site in order to attract the right talent

6. Attract new clients who have similar company values

In addition to candidates, potential new clients also care about what your company stands for. When a company finds out that your values are similar to their, you could have a much bigger chance of being chosen over someone else

For that reason, it is important to understand who your current customers are and what their values are. 

7. Make your Marketing and Internal Comms teams' lives easier

In order for Marketing and Internal Communications teams need to clearly communicate to the inside and outside world, they need to understand their company values. 

Communication towards the employees and prospects needs to be consistent and credible. Companies that don't have set company values have poor internal communications and employee relations which can result in poor employee engagement. 

Furthermore, Marketing teams that are sure about what your company stands for are much more successful in attracting new leads and customers. 

Common Company Values

There are no two companies that have the exact same set of company values. However, there are some company values we see more often than the others. 

30 most common company values

common company values

  1. Integrity
  2. Boldness
  3. Honesty
  4. Fairness
  5. Trustworthiness
  6. Accountability
  7. Learning
  8. Customer Experience
  9. Passion
  10. Balance
  11. Fun
  12. Discipline
  13. Humility
  14. Ownership
  15. Result oriented
  16. Constant Improvement
  17. Leadership
  18. Hard work
  19. Diversity
  20. Employee Development
  21. Innovation
  22. Quality
  23. Teamwork
  24. Simplicity
  25. Collaboration and Partnership
  26. Idealism
  27. Courage
  28. Unselfishness
  29. Self-Discipline
  30. Self-Respect

7 Examples of Core Company Values

There are companies that have put a lot of effort and resources into defining and effectively communicating their company values. Here are the 7 examples of companies with excellent company values

Intercom

Company values example- Intercom

Slack

Company values example- Slack

Airbnb

Company values example- Airbnb

Spotify

Company values example- Spotify

Google

cpmpany-values-google

Starbucks

Company values example- Starbucks

Zappos

Company values example- Zappos

How Did We Set Company Values at Smarp

Like with most fast-growing companies, we have experienced some growth pains. When we were working on creating a new category, we had no direct benchmark to compare ourselves to.

While our core “employees first” value is still the underlying reason for having values in the first place, we knew we had to be more specific in order to help our team make decisions in their everyday work.

Setting values is never easy, as they should reflect the behaviour and decisions of the whole team (and future hires). They are also the unifying core of the company culture - especially in a highly diverse company like ours, where our team consists of 20 different nationalities.

After much thought, we set the following values:

1. Take initiative and ownership #GSD
2. Be ambitious and create your own opportunities #FOMO
3. Work smart, work hard #BESMARP
4. Be a team player, collaborate, have fun #COLLABORATE
5. Get out of your comfort zone #NOPAINNOGAIN
6. Be part of the solution #SOLVER

While many of these may seem straightforward, they have implications that need to be accepted before they can have any benefit. For example, fearing missing out more than fearing failure means that we need to accept that not all things we do will succeed.

company-culture-quote

One example of this was our e-learning product we launched back in 2012, which after two years of development, did not gain enough market traction to be a sustainable business.

It hurt admitting that we had worked tirelessly and put everything we had into something that did not deliver, but in hindsight, the experience made us stronger as a team. If we had not been willing to give up on the product and focus exclusively on employee advocacy and communication, we would not be where we are today.

Empowering Employees With Company Values

Company values should help employees be successful by empowering them to make their own decisions. While at first, we did not see a need for written values, today they are the very thing that makes us who we are. After all, everything we have accomplished thus far has been thanks to our extraordinary team and ability to work effectively together in creating a whole new category!

As we keep growing rapidly, we are always looking for more people who want to share our values and join our team! Check out our open positions here.

To find out more about us and our values, check out our guide to Smarp way of working: 

Open the guide

 

Written by

Roope Heinilä

Roope Heinilä

Smarp

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