All businesses, big or small, should have a set of values and principles it stands for. When the ethics, morals, and standards of a company are embodied through the efforts of its employees, it creates trust and respect from its customers or clients. This also creates a foundation for long-lasting success.
In this article, we will discuss value statements (not to be confused with statement of values): what they are, examples, and how you can create one for your business.
What is a Values Statement?
A values statement is a statement that reflects the core, guiding principles of the company, organization, or team it represents. These principles embody the priorities the business stands for, allowing both your customers and staff to understand what is most important. Ideally, a values statement should work as a guideline for business operations, as well as help market to your customer.
The values statement shouldn’t be confused with a mission statement or a vision statement. While a values statement focuses on HOW to conduct business, a mission statement focuses on WHY the company exists and the vision statement focuses on WHAT it wants to achieve.
MAIN BENEFITS OF A VALUES STATEMENT
Sitting down and getting clear on company principles and core beliefs may seem like a quick 15-minute meeting. But we think that taking the time to assess what your business is about will make all the difference. Carefully defining these core principles through a values statement allows you to:
- Informs employees of company expectations: A copy of company principles and core beliefs should be given to new employees you are onboarding. This allows the employee to understand what guidelines to follow to meet their job’s expected roles. This helps shape and unify the company culture, as well as further encourage the principles you are seeking to come forth.
- Draws employees with similar visions: When you are open and clear about your organization’s values, this helps draw in those that share your vision. All of us want to work at a job whose vision we believe in. Therefore, broadcasting and living by these principles will attract those prospective employees who will strengthen your vision due to similar goals.
- Increases customer trust: When your business embodies its values statement, this will not only attract customers, but it will grow their trust. Matching words with actions means that we are likely to fulfill the promises we make to our customers. This can set you apart from your competition, and build long-lasting customer relationships. And ultimately, your bottom line will benefit as a result.
- Can guide the business through challenges: When you run into roadblocks (and you will), it can leave you and your employees confused and scrambling if you don’t have a value statement. But referring back to your guiding principles when a difficult decision comes along will help get you back on the right path. As in life, when in touch with your ethics, morals, and principles, you will benefit from better decision-making.
VALUE STATEMENT EXAMPLES
Before you start writing out your value statement, it can help to be inspired by some real-life value statement examples. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Be bold
- Focus on impact
- Move fast
- Be open
- Build social value
- Daring to be different: We question old solutions and, if we have a better idea, we are willing to change.
- Togetherness and enthusiasm: Together, we have the power to solve seemingly unsolvable problems. We do it all the time.
- Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.
- Acting with courage, challenging the status quo, and finding new ways to grow our company and each other.
- Being present, connecting with transparency, dignity, and respect.
- Champion the mission: We’re united with our community to create a world where anyone can belong anywhere.
- Be a host: We’re caring, open, and encouraging to everyone we work with.
- Embrace the adventure: We’re driven by curiosity, optimism, and the belief that every person can grow.
- Be a cereal entrepreneur: We’re determined and creative in transforming our bold ambitions into reality.
Do you think these companies have lived up to their stated principles? If so, they have probably done a good job of embodying the ethical standards they set out to stand for. If not, you’ve probably lost trust in the company and may not feel the desire to shop with them or use their product.
As you can see, the value statement can make or break your opinion of the company. That is why it is important to be clear and realistic about your guiding beliefs from the beginning. With that, it is time to write your own values statement. Are you ready?
How to Write a Values Statement for Your Business
You will need to set aside some time for narrowing down your company’s core principles and guiding beliefs. If you are busy and scatterbrained, it is best to leave the task for a calmer day. This process requires deep thought and uninterrupted concentration.
That being said, here are the steps to writing a values statement for your business:
1. BRAINSTORM A LIST OF VALUES
Schedule a meeting with your company’s leadership team and decision-makers. You will want to create a huge list of the beliefs, ideas, and characteristics of what everyone values. Ask each member (including yourself) to list the values they prioritize when working in the business.
We all bring our core principles and guiding beliefs to our work, which can have a direct influence on the culture of the company. That’s why adding each team member’s values is important. To help get you started in the process, here are some common examples of workplace values:
- Socially responsible
2. IDENTIFY THE CORE, ASPIRATIONAL, AND ACCIDENTAL VALUES
Now sit back and reflect on the list you’ve gathered. To narrow it down, you and your team will want to identify the characteristics that most influence your work. Discuss which of these characteristics is most likely to help you reach your long-term goals.
The core principles you center around don’t only have to describe the current company values. They can be a mixture of:
- Core values: The principles or beliefs you and your team view as being of central importance. This includes examples such as honesty and integrity.
- Aspirational values: These are the principles or beliefs the team wants to live up to. Keep in mind aspirational values don’t necessarily have to be already achieved. Examples could be sustainability or diversity.
- Accidental values: Sometimes some principles just turn up accidentally and are molded over time through the experience of the business. These are accidental values the business wasn’t planned around but grew to adopt. For instance, if your hair salon originally was only meant to do female haircuts, but over time began to include male haircuts, this means you adopted an accidental value of inclusivity.
Try to come up with five or fewer. Although challenging, this will help you and your team get as specific as possible. Make sure these core beliefs and principles are clear and well-defined so that all team members understand and are unified in what the company stands for.
3. GET EMPLOYEE FEEDBACK
Once the first draft has been decided upon by the leadership team, you will want to get feedback from the rest of your employees. After all, your employees could have a completely different experience of the business. Make sure to create an atmosphere for honest feedback so employees feel comfortable voicing their opinions.
- For small businesses: Consider holding a meeting for all the employees to attend and discuss the guiding principles of the company.
- For large businesses: Since it is difficult to organize so many employees in one space, and to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard, try creating a survey or opening a suggestion box. This will make it easier to collect everyone’s opinion in an organized way.
Use the feedback to revise your list of values as you see fit.
4. PUT TOGETHER YOUR VALUES STATEMENT
Now that you’ve got your final list that everyone has agreed upon, it is time to write the statement. There are several ways you can structure your statement. You could describe what each value means to the business and how that value is integrated into your product or service.
You could also write it as an instruction to your employees, such as Google’s famous “Don’t be evil” value statement. Try to focus on what is important to the company, how the company operates, and how customers benefit from that value.
5. RELEASE YOUR VALUES STATEMENT
Once you’ve written your values statement, it is time to introduce it to your employees and/or the public.
- The employee release: You can release the statement to your employees in a few ways. You could post it on the wall throughout the business, or send it in a company-wide email. If you’d like to introduce it more formally, consider scheduling another meeting. During a meeting, you can go into further detail about why you chose the principles you did, and some suggestions on how they can be reflected in the work. Leave the floor open for any questions so employees can get more information on what is expected of them.
- The public release: Some businesses choose to only share their values statement with the employees to serve as an internal guide to company processes. But many other companies make their values statements public. It helps with marketing and educating customers on what kind of people they are doing business with. This establishes trust in the brand identity. Additionally, the statement can be published on the business website, printed in a press release, or introduced through social media marketing.
6. LIVE YOUR VALUES
Releasing your values statement to the public does no good if you don’t back it up. Take for example Uber, the famous rideshare platform. In 2017, after a series of scandals, resignations, and bad press, the company’s CEO decided to release a new “cultural norms” statement.
One of the “norms” was “We do the right thing. Period.” It might not come as a surprise that only 15 days after the release, it was found that the CEO had known about a data leak that customers didn’t know about for two months. Since this can be seen as dishonest and shady, the integrity of the company was damaged even more than before.
That is why we encourage you to be completely realistic with your values statement. The stake of your business is at risk if you break the trust of your customers. Live your values for the sake of the company, the employees, and the customers.
7. REVISE THE STATEMENT AS NEEDED
If you notice that your values statement is not being reflected in the business, you may want to make some revisions. This is a normal and necessary part of business growth. What matters most is that the statement is showing an honest reflection of your company’s current state.
You can make either minor or major changes if that is what it takes. Just as long as your value statement and the business activities are in alignment.
A Moral Compass Leading to Success
So, what is a value statement? A values statement is a set of agreed-upon principles that create a moral compass for the business and its employees. The moral compass allows company leaders to feel what is right for the company rather than project, overthink, or be too data-reliant.
The statement also sets the standard for which any action the business takes can be assessed. To create this moral compass, you must gather your employees and decide what principles unite you all. What do you believe in, and how is it reflected in your product or service?
With conscious awareness of your guiding principles, and actions to back them up, the business you create will be an unstoppable force.If You Like Please Share It: