How To Develop (or Sense-Check) Your Own Company Values

Lisa Ardill

Content Editor at Workvivo

5 Oct 2022

How do you craft company values your employees can be proud of? Why are my clothes always covered in hair? Read on to find out!

What are your company values? Are they working hard enough for you? An article by Forbes revealed in a study by Columbia Business School that 50% of CEOs and CFOs agreed that culture influences productivity, profitability, and growth.

If you’re here, it’s likely that you either agree with them, are at least curious to know more about how company values can contribute to a positive environment, or have gone down a procrastination-fueled rabbit hole and this is where you ended up.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to tell us which it is. (But if you do want to, this is a safe space for procrastinators everywhere.)

What are company values?

Company values should sum up what your company stands for in a clear and easy-to-understand way. These core values should ring through everything you do, from the hiring process to staff celebrations and your internal key messaging.


A company’s core values can give meaning to everything you do within your organization. If you’re thinking of implementing a new process, ask whether it aligns with your company values. If it doesn’t, question why not.

It’s much easier to ask your employees to do something when it has meaning and purpose and having core values can provide this meaning.

This is also true if you’re looking to grow the organization or change direction. Clear and robust core values help keep you focused throughout the process.

Developing your own company values

Core values should benefit everyone. A study conducted by recruiters Robert Half found that more than one-third of workers would pass on their perfect job if the culture was a poor fit.

Remember when we asked if your values are working hard or hardly working? Here’s how to catch them out!

Disclaimer: Please only try to catch out values if you suspect they’re hardly working, not people. Don’t be that guy. For more information, refer to this article’s section on ‘no asshole’ policies further down.

1. Make them easy to understand

Your company values are for everyone in the organization, from the CEO to the freelancer who only works with you occasionally. Not everyone will have the time to really think about what your values mean to them. Using jargon or riddles will make your values less memorable.

In other words, don’t go all Joey from Friends and use a thesaurus to build out your value statements. We all know how that turned out, and your humid, pre-possessing homosapiens with full-sized aortic pumps won’t thank you for it.

2. Ensure they’re for everyone

The best core values are the ones that resonate with everyone and align with the things that are important to your team.

Your retail team might not care about a value like ‘ensuring revenue is always above X amount’ but they might care about ‘positive customer interactions only’, as this could show that you want to make your customers happy and don’t stand for customers abusing your staff.


Take a leaf out of Hireology’s book (again, NOT thesaurus) and set a ‘no assholes policy’ as one of your core values. This rule is a great policy for any workplace, according to Robert I. Sutton’s book.

He writes: “As much as I believe in tolerance and fairness, I have never lost a wink of sleep about being unapologetically intolerant of anyone who refuses to show respect for those around them.”

He also writes: “Assholes tend to stick together, and once stuck are not easily separated.”

Someone get this guy a bigger soapbox, stat!

3. Cut the fluff

Your core values should be tangible and realistic. Something like “turning every customer into your new best friend” is a bit meaningless, and most of your staff don’t want this from their customers.

However, “turning every customer into an advocate” is far more achievable. It can be turned into an action easily by asking every member of retail to ensure their customers are greeted in a friendly way and complaints are taken seriously. It can be turned into real data by asking customers whether they would shop with you again or recommend you to a friend.

So keep this helpful tip in mind: if your values are as fluffy as my Golden Retriever Tupo’s coat in winter, break that trimmer out and get back to work.

(This is also me pre-emptively explaining why my clothes are covered in short blonde hairs in case we ever meet in person. Now you know and cannot judge me. Them’s the rules.)

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