For a company to not only survive but thrive in what it does, it needs to have a heart, a true sense of what it is, what it does and what it cares about.

What I am talking about here is Values.

A company’s values should be the reason employees want to work for you and why customers buy from you.

These guiding principles should run throughout your company and guide your actions.

They should impact every aspect of a company – how it does business, how it makes decisions, how it treats its employees and customers.

So why is it that so many organisations don’t have core values or if they do why aren’t they bought into or even in extreme cases they go against what a company is trying to achieve?

Organisational values help a company to;

Differentiate itself from competitors 

A company that truly understands who it is can show how it’s unique and therefore gain a substantial competitive advantage as both an employer and in the marketplace.

Values are extremely important when it comes to talent attraction and retention.

More and more people are now looking at what is at the heart of an organisation when choosing their employer.  

Guide its employees in their decision-making

Understanding a company’s principles can help make choices easier to make.

They provide a clear guide to employees as to how to act, what’s right and wrong and what the next steps need to be.

Inform its business strategy

Values provide guidance when it comes to the direction in which you want to go as a company.

They also help define your brand identity and mission.

Boost employee engagements and motivation

When a company really lives by its values and these values resonate with employees, people are more intrinsically motivated at work.

Align internal and external messaging

 Our values aren’t something that’s secret.

Our clients and customers should know what our employees know.

Doing so, helps customers understand what an organisation is about.

A company’s culture must align with its core values in order to create a shared, enduring, and positive environment for all parties.

We have all heard of Netflix, I will even go as far as to say that I bet you don’t know anyone who doesn’t have Netflix.

Keeping the world entertained isn’t the only thing they are good at.

In their quest to provide unlimited entertainment to the world they found that a positive work environment was key to them achieving their dream.

So they have chosen “People over process” and given their employees the best possible conditions to work in.

At the heart of this approach they have 10 core values that were built to encourage employees to be the best version of themselves.

They reinforce specific behaviours and skills they really care about including courage, innovation, integrity and inclusion.

These values mean that all employees work together as a “dream team”, enhancing flexibility, creativity and collaboration.

This approach has made them one of the most successful organisations in the world with a dedicated passionate team who deliver an exceptional service.

So bearing that all in mind how do we start defining and living by our values?

The first thing to do is ask yourself some important questions

  • What’s the purpose of your organisation?

Once you know your vision and mission it becomes easier to define your values that will help you achieve your goals.

  • How do you want the world to see you?

This comes down to what matters most to you as an organisation.

  • How are these values going to shape and be embedded in your organisations processes?

  • What behaviours will represent your values?

To make sure your core values come to life, it’s important to think about your values in terms of behaviours. Utilise your current workforce here by getting them to explain how they will demonstrate them.

  • How are you going to communicate your organisational values?

Once you have defined your values, you need to make sure you communicate them both internally and externally.

We need to make sure that they aren’t just empty words written down on paper.

Keep them short and easily relatable for everyone.

Having clarity in your values will help you organisation attract the right people (employees, customers, collaborators) and increase their loyalty, focus, trust and cooperation.

They play an important role in building a positive culture.

One thing, however, to remember is that values are constantly evolving, just like the environment in which your businesses operate.

Take time to regularly reflect on them and get feedback from your employees and stakeholders.

Ask yourself honestly, “Does your organisation have that important heartbeat or is something vital missing?”


Written by Alison Ibrahim - Senior Leadership and Management Trainer