Values guide a business, define its mission, inform how employees behave and dictate how others view it. Read our advice on why values are important and how to create them for your business.
What are business values?
Core values are the fundamental beliefs and standards that guide your company. They are the principles that you stand for and contribute towards your long-term mission.
Values inform your day-to-day company culture. They communicate how people in the organisation should behave towards each other as well as towards customers, investors and others. They educate your audience on what your organisation stands for.
Values inform the design and development of your products or services and help you remain focused on what’s important to you as the business grows.
Values are particularly important at the start of a business and contribute to developing a strong startup culture.
Examples of values include:
The importance of company values
Developing strong values gives a business many advantages over those who don’t. Benefits include:
Recruitment and retention
The values of a business are a key consideration for many individuals looking for a new job.
A survey by Glassdoor found that 89% of UK adults believe it is important for an employer to have a clear mission and purpose, and 77% would consider the mission and purpose before applying for a job there. Another 69% said they would not apply to a company unless its values align with their own personal values.
Communicating your values clearly is something you should prioritise in job advertisements and other recruitment activity. Finding the people who are the right fit for your business is crucial. If you employ people who have the same values, you are likely to retain them for longer. Recruit those who aren’t aligned with your values and you are likely to experience higher staff turnover.
In the Glassdoor survey, 60% of UK adults said the company’s mission is one of the main reasons they stay in their job, and 70% admitted they would look for a job elsewhere if their current company’s culture deteriorated.
2. Helps decision making
Strong values help with good decision-making. If everyone in the business understands the values, they will know how to act (or how not to act) in certain situations. For every business activity, the question ‘does this align with our values?’, should be asked.
3. Employee motivation
Teams that are aligned on the same mission and values are much more likely to be engaged and motivated. It will encourage them to do their best possible work in their own job and the service that they provide to customers.
Linking employee performance to values will help to reinforce their importance and ensure employees understand what is expected of them.
Setting up reward schemes based on values can help to achieve this. Plus X has a quarterly ‘Outstanding Performer Award’ with members of the team nominated for behaviours directly linked to our values.
4. Acquiring customers
Customers are becoming increasingly interested in the ethics and social behaviour of businesses. Communicating strong values will help you stand out from competitors and attract more sales. Customers that find a business that perfectly aligns with what they personally are much more loyal and likely to promote the business to others.
Make it easy for customers to find your values and communicate them in your marketing activity.
How to define your values
1. Involve your employees
Your employees must be on board with your values so get them involved. Set up a meeting and brainstorm. Let them openly share what they think the business stands for or what they’d like it to stand for. Look out for common themes and suggestions.
If you have a big team it might be tricky to invite them all to a meeting so select a representative group.
Once you’ve come with your statement of values, present it back to the team for feedback.
2. Ask your customers
Customers are vital to your values too. Think about their challenges, problems or needs and how your product or service helps. Why do they buy from you and what is it that appeals about your business compared to your competitors?
You can directly ask them too in a survey using tools like Survey Monkey and Typeform.
3. Be inspired by others
Look to other businesses’ values for inspiration. Some examples are below. Click on the links for more details.
- We think big bold and brave
- We give a damn
- We are empowered
- We believe wellbeing powers our performance
- We learn quickly and evolve
- We have a business mindset
- We’ve innovative
- We’re collaborative
- We’re sincere
- We’re passionate
- We’re playful
The Body Shop:
- Empowering women and girls
- Hard-working, natural ingredients
- Growing partnerships and supporting communities
- Champion sustainability
- Vegetarian and vegan friendly
- We believe in being open, honest and transparent in all our business transactions
- We believe in treating our clients, our customers, our partners, and our people with respect and integrity
- We believe in creating and maintaining an ethical business which respects the environment and has sustainability at its heart
- We believe in promoting and educating people about these values throughout our business journey and beyond
- We believe in doing business right and doing right in business
- Go get it
- Trip obsessed
- Build with heart
- Stand for safety
- See the forest and the trees
- One Uber
- Great minds don’t think alike
- Do the right thing
4. Make them unique and actionable
Be inspired by other companies’ values but don’t just copy them. Your values must be specific to your business and your mission.
Avoid adopting a vision just because it’s a buzzword or it seems like lots of other businesses are using it. Think about your business’s ‘why’ and the reasons why you do what you do.
Your values should also be actionable so they can be applied by anyone in the organisation for any situation. You might use single words but if so, you should expand on them with statements so they are very clear.
5. Monitor your values as the business grows
You should regularly monitor your values as you might need to adapt them as your business grows or your priorities change.
Developments such as growth of your workforce, the introduction of new products or services and entering new markets might require you to refine your values.
Many businesses place innovation at the heart of their values and Plus X is there to help. We create inspiring workspace that unlocks potential, driving business growth and innovation, global collaboration and positive local impact. Find out more.