What are company values and why they are important

Company values (or core values) are the fundamental beliefs your team holds. They are your guiding principles that help your team work better together towards common goals.

In this article, we'll explore why company values are important, how to define them, and see some examples.

Why are company values important?

Almost every successful organization has a strong company values that are shared and lived by most of the team. Study after study shows that companies with strong company values have better financial performance, customer and employee satisfaction, and grow faster.

Moreover, employees want to work with the organizations that they align with, value-wise. Mission-driven organizations are on the rise. And values play an essential role here.

Below are the 5 most important reasons to set company values.

1. Help team make decisions
Good values help your employees guide every decision in the organization. Each project or activity should stand the values test. In other words, when asked, "Do we live by our values by making these actions (or avoiding these decisions)?".

Having clear values helps your team members know what do you stand for, what is the organizational "WHY." What actions are encouraged and what should be avoided. This is especially true in difficult times. In the VUCA world, with a lot of environmental, social, technological, privacy challenges, constant guidance is vital.

2. Align your team
It's easier to communicate the bigger purpose with shared values. It increases team alignment, reduces waste and ineffective decisions, and thus improves the performance.

Teams without shared company values have inconsistent communication, which causes confusion and insecurity. Define clear company values, be consistent in the communication, and align your team.

3. Improve motivation
Teams with explicit values and mission are more engaged and motivated. When you know what your values are, you know which behavior is encouraged. Then it's easier for you to understand what is required of you. You feel more secure and motivated to work towards common goals in the environment of psychological safety.

4. Communicate principles to customers
Customers chose companies that share their values. Core values help educate customers and help them understand what your organization stands for. In that case, they will associate themselves not just with your company, but with the higher purpose you translate. Such customers are much more loyal and will spread the word about you and your cause.

5. Hire the right people
Clear values help make sure new people will be a good organizational fit. Core values play an essential role in attracting, recruiting, and retaining talented professionals.

Remote and distribute work make it easier than ever to work from any place in the world. So candidates compare your company with the global players, not only local. And core values are one of the crucial methods to communicate your brand and attract the right people.

Note: In any way, we don't want to say that having company values will make your organization successful. It's by far not the only factor, but one of many important ones.

Examples of the company values

Here are some cases of the company values form the most successful organizations. Use the illustrations for inspiration and guidance, but never copy them blindly, cos you won't get any benefits when copying.

Airbnb

  1. Champion the Mission — We're united with our community to create a world where anyone can belong anywhere.
  2. Be a Host — We're caring, open, and encouraging to everyone we work with.
  3. Embrace the Adventure — We're driven by curiosity, optimism, and the belief that every person can grow.
  4. Be a Cereal Entrepreneur — We're determined and creating in transforming our bold ambitions into reality.

"Guided by our four core values, we'll meet the challenges creatively and with the support of our global community." (source)

Salesforce

  1. Trust — Nothing is more important than the trusted relationships we have with everyone.
  2. Customer Success — Our growth is based on mutual success.
  3. Innovation — Thinking differently is in our DNA.
  4. Equality — We respect and value people of all backgrounds.

"We inspire each other and the industry through our values. These are the values we expect everyone in our Ohana to uphold." (source)

Netflix

  1. Judgment — You make wise decisions despite ambiguity.
  2. Communication — You are concise and articulate in speech and writing.
  3. Curiosity — You learn rapidly and eagerly.
  4. Courage — You say what you think, when it's in the best interest of Netflix, even if it is uncomfortable.
  5. Passion — You inspire others with your thirst for excellence.
  6. Selflessness — You seek what is best for Netflix, rather than what is best for yourself or your group.
  7. Innovation — You create new ideas that prove useful.
  8. Inclusion — You collaborate effectively with people of diverse backgrounds and cultures.
  9. Integrity — You are known for candor, authenticity, transparency, and being non-political.
  10. Impact — You accomplish amazing amounts of important work.

"It's easy to write admirable values; it's harder to live them. We want everyone to help each other live the values and hold each other responsible for being role models." (source)

Zappos

  1. Deliver WOW Through Service.
  2. Embrace and Drive Change.
  3. Create Fun and A Little Weirdness.
  4. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded.
  5. Pursue Growth and Learning.
  6. Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication.
  7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit.
  8. Do More With Less.
  9. Be Passionate and Determined.
  10. Be Humble.

"At Zappos our 10 Core Values are more than just words, they're a way of life. We know that companies with a strong culture and a higher purpose perform better in the long run." (source)

Google

  1. Focus on the user and all else will follow.
  2. It's best to do one thing really, really well.
  3. Fast is better than slow.
  4. Democracy on the web works.
  5. You don't need to be at your desk to need an answer.
  6. You can make money without doing evil.
  7. There's always more information out there.
  8. The need for information crosses all borders.
  9. You can be serious without a suit.
  10. Great just isn't good enough.

"We first wrote these "10 things" when Google was just a few years old. From time to time we revisit this list to see if it still holds true. We hope it does—and you can hold us to that." (source)

Starbucks

  1. Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.
  2. Acting with courage, challenging the status quo and finding new ways to grow our company and each other.
  3. Being present, connecting with transparency, dignity and respect.
  4. Delivering our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results.

"With our partners, our coffee and our customers at our core, we live our values". (source)

Summary

Values are essential to build a strong company culture, align your team, and help them make the right decisions. However, execution is even more critical here. No matter how great your company values sound, first of all, live by them lead with an example, put them before profit, and never compromise.

Don't forget to recognize your team members for embracing the company values. Other team members will follow, and you'll create a robust and long-lasting organization.

Are you looking for a simple solution to strengthen your company values? Check out a great tool to live your company values - Plai.