How to define your company values.

Take These 6 Steps When Defining Your Company Values

Posted June 24, 2016 by Justworks in Running a Business 101
The process of defining your company's core values can be daunting. Start with these six steps.

Great company culture starts with great company values. People often use the two phrases interchangeably, but it's vital to know the distinction.

Company culture is a mix of business practices and interactions that create the work environment. It's the energy and rapport you notice in your day to day.

Company values set the tone for a company's culture and vision. By focusing on core values from the start, you'll also encourage a stronger, more diverse workforce.

Companies that take the time to define their company values are also prioritizing the growth of their organization.

But not many companies are defining their core values. In fact, only 54% of people said their company has a clearly defined company culture.

The process of defining company values can take many forms, from surveying employees to working with an external consultant.

We've detailed six suggestions below.

Look to the Leader of the Company

The leader is the driving force of the organization, its values, and its culture. Values are shaped mostly by how the leaders act, so make sure the leadership team embodies the type of company you strive to be.

Start With the 'Why'

Ask why your company does what it does and your mission is what it is. Doing so will remind you of the bigger picture. You'll learn a lot about the motivation, purpose, and values of the organization. Having an actionable corporate value statement is a must.

Ask Your Team

Survey employees to help you identify your company values and en- sure they are meaningful to your company. Pay attention to both the employees who you think best exemplify what you want the core values of the company to be, as well as those who don’t. Those who do not fit in as well may clue you into areas for improvement.

Some sample questions include:

  • What values matter the most to you? To the company?
  • How do you define the company culture
  • What you do like about the company culture?
  • What would you like to change about the culture?

Common themes will start to emerge that will help you pinpoint your company’s key values.

Want pro tips on how to hire for company values?

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Present Your Values to the Company for Feedback

Employees must understand your culture and why it’s important. Your employees are your best cultural ambassadors, and should be able to communicate your values and culture to others, both internally and externally. To ensure continuous progress, reward employees who help advance the company culture and values.

Spread the Word

Be sure to post your values internally as well as externally, so there’s no misunderstanding about what the company values the most. We love how WeWork clearly displays it on their website, and we do it too.

Live Up To Your Word

Values are more than just words on a wall or screen. The culture should reinforce them. Your leaders, managers and employees all need to display those values in their day-to-day interactions. Continuously engage employees in the process so you can keep up-to-date on how culture is being perceived. And review company policies to ensure they are in sync, too.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.