How to create company values

Staff sitting at desks in front of company values displayed on wall.

Company values are guiding principles that help a group of people function together and work towards a common business goal. They can also be referred to as core values, corporate values, or corporate principles. Whatever you choose to call them, in essence, they should be used to make sure all employees are united on common goals. We’ve put together a guide on how to create company values.

Why set company values?

Company values can be really useful in aligning with employee values, which in turn creates a sense of purpose. Where employees are involved in shaping company values this should lead to increased motivation and engagement levels. Creating a set of company values can be beneficial in small businesses and start-ups to help establish a vision and culture as the business scales.

1. Lead with your vision statement

Your values should support this vision. Choose visions that drive the achievement of this statement. For example, Bespoke HR’s vision is “To be the best HR outsourcing provider for SMEs. Achieving outstanding customer feedback and offering a rewarding and truly engaging place to work.”

2. Keep your company values authentic

If your business is all about making a profit then be honest about it! If it’s to be the biggest player in its field, choose that. Remember, company values are great to use when recruiting new team members. If they don’t like your values then the chances are they won’t be a good fit for your business.

Involve your team in the creation of your company values. If staff have been involved in the planning they will feel more aligned and inclined to work towards them. Learn how our client Platypus Digital created a company culture based on its values by involving staff.

3. Keep them simple

All employees should be able to recall the values and recite them easily! Decide how many values you want; 5-10 are recommended.

  • Keep them punchy!
  • Use single words backed up by an explanation
  • Use shorter sentences that are easier to recall.
  • Pick the same format for all your values.

For example, the Bespoke HR company values are:

  • Pragmatic – We offer pragmatic solutions to our clients, identifying the pros and cons of each option and being a trusted advisor to aid decision-making. 
  • Responsive – We pride ourselves on being highly responsive to your queries, offering a variety of reliable solutions to fit your business needs. 
  • Transparent – We are very approachable and proud to be transparent with our advice and pricing. This ensures we can deliver a competitive and affordable service. 
  • Knowledgeable – Our team works collaboratively and between us have broad experience in a range of industry sectors, meaning we can offer expertise on all HR matters to any type of client.
  • Passionate – We strive to be an integral part of your team and we are passionate about helping businesses and people succeed.

It’s a good idea to look at your competitors or other businesses for inspiration on how to set your company values. We like these four values from Breathe HR which are simple yet effective:

  1. People First –  As a team, we put People First by treating others with respect and ‘walking a mile in their shoes’.
  2. Strive for impact – We make a difference. With every action we maximise our impact on our customers and on our business.
  3. Seek out efficiency – We relentlessly seek out ways to efficiently grow, scale & accelerate our business without waste.
  4. Be better tomorrow – At the individual, team and company level we demand of ourselves every day to know more, learn more, and be more.

4. Allow them to evolve over time

As your business grows/changes then your values will probably change too. Let your values settle in, but reflect on them annually with feedback from the team. Remember that values do not have to be set in stone and will need to evolve with the business.

Create a culture around your company values

Once you’ve set your values, it’s important to build a culture around them. Include them in your company handbook, onboarding materials and in your job descriptions and adverts to ensure consistency.

We can deliver a workshop on how to set your company values, get in touch to find out more.