Did you know that the defining factor of employee satisfaction is the company’s commitment to its values?
Nearly 80% of employees find it extremely important to work for an organization with a defined set of values. Yet, only 62% of employees surveyed work for an employer with a value statement. Moreover, only 39% of those employers publicly share their values.
A company’s value statement is more than a set of inspirational quotes. It’s the north star that not only aligns your team but also guides business practices and decisions.
In this guide, we’ll walk through how to build a value statement, why it’s important, and how your value statement can and should influence other important business decisions.
What is a value statement?
A value statement is a set of ideals that explain what your company believes in and how it operates. It informs employees, customers, and prospects about what principles guide your business.
Think of your value statement as the foundation of your workplace culture. What core beliefs and behaviors do you want your employees and managers to display? What guardrails should guide who you hire, how you grow, and what decisions you make?
Value statement vs. mission statement vs. vision statement
Your value statement is not about marketing or sales—it’s about your employees and company culture and what it means to work within your organization.
With that in mind, let’s look at how value statements compare to other essential parts of your branding and messaging — essentially your mission and vision statements.
Value statement vs. mission statement
A value statement and a mission statement are two of the most essential pieces of any business. Yet, despite their importance, they’re often confused with one another.
A value statement is a set of brief philosophies that guide your business and employees. They should be easy to remember and communicate. They should also capture the essence of your company’s culture and guiding principles. A good value statement will help you attract and retain top talent and inspire employee loyalty.
On the other hand, a mission statement is a more detailed description of your company’s purpose. It should answer why your company exists. Unlike a value statement, which is static, a mission statement can (and should) change as your business grows and changes.
A value statement represents your business all the time, while a mission statement can be used to make strategic planning decisions about where to take your business next.
Value statement vs. vision statement
Compared to a value statement, a vision statement is more abstract. It outlines the long-term goals and aspirations of your company. While a value statement is focused on how you work, a vision statement is focused on why you work—and where you plan to go.
Simply put, a value statement answers the question, “Regardless of what we’re working on, how do we work?”. In contrast, a company vision statement answers the question, “What is our ultimate goal as an organization—what are we working towards?”
Why is a value statement important?
A company’s core values are its foundation—they influence everything from the culture to how business is conducted. Here are a few key reasons why a value statement is so important.
Your value statement aligns your team
Your value statement is the foundation of your company culture and the cornerstone of your employer brand. When you develop a strong value statement, it will not only attract top talent, but it will also help to keep your employees aligned with your company’s business, culture, and goals.
Candidates who share your company’s values are more likely to want to work for you, and employees who feel they align with your values are less likely to leave.
Value statements also foster teamwork and collaboration. When everyone is working towards the same goal and operating under the same values, it can make it easier for team members to collaborate and support one another.
Your value statement sets you apart from competitors
In any given industry, there will always be a handful of companies that offer similar products or services. So, what makes a customer choose one company over another? In some cases, it comes down to price, but all else equal, customers will buy from brands they connect with. Recent studies show that 82% of shoppers want a brand’s values to align with their own.
A well-crafted value statement differentiates you from the competition by highlighting what your organization stands for and how it supports its customers and employees. For example, if you’re known for having the best customer service in your industry, then make sure that’s front and center in your value proposition.
Your value statement guides important business decisions
Think of your value statement as a north star that will guide business decisions like who you hire, who you work with, and how you choose to grow. It can also help you decide how you expand your business, field customer complaints, and spend your department budgets.
Value statements lay the foundation for other functions in your business. They guide your brand’s point-of-view and brand narrative, which drives your marketing messaging, campaigns, and channels. Your value statement also informs how your sales and customer success teams connect with prospects and customers.
What is included in a value statement?
Every organization is different, but some common values include integrity, respect, collaboration, sustainability, innovation, excellence, and customer service. These are just a few examples; each company should identify the professional and personal values most important to them based on their own mission and culture.
Here are a few key elements of successful value statements.
A good value statement articulates what makes your company unique. It emphasizes the company’s strengths and philosophies and demonstrates why your organization is different from the rest—an important callout when looking to hire unique talent and decrease turnover.
A good value statement evokes an emotional response from the reader. They should focus on the employee and customer experience and be written in a relatable, human way.
A good value statement is short—no more than one or two sentences—and easy to remember. It should get straight to the heart of what makes your organization special, without filler or fluff.
A good value statement is written in plain, inclusive language. It should be able to be understood by everyone, not just industry insiders. Avoid using jargon, acronyms, or abbreviations that require someone outside your industry to research to understand.
3 examples of thoughtful value statements
Let’s unpack a few well-crafted value statement examples.
Our very own value statement, displayed on the BetterUp ‘About Us’ page, is short and sweet. It’s memorable and unique—featuring phrases like ‘grit’ and ‘zest’ to playfully demonstrate the philosophies we value.
- Courage: Dare often and greatly.
- Craftspersonship: Find meaning in what we do through crafting excellence.
- Playfulness: Great ideas come from health and happiness.
- Grit: Perseverance driven by determination and passion.
- Empathy: Innovation starts with understanding.
- Zest: What sets you apart makes us unique.
Hotjar is a global SaaS company that serves over 180 companies with a team of 200+ fully-remote employees. Its value statement includes five brief sentences describing what they value and why.
- Put our customers at the heart of everything: Our top priority is delivering value to the people that rely on Hotjar to solve their day-to-day challenges.
- Be bold and move fast: We pursue big goals by prioritizing brilliantly, taking quick decisions, and delivering incremental change.
- Work with respect: We are honest, tolerant, and inclusive. And we measure success not by profits alone, but by contributions to all stakeholders.
- Build trust with transparency: We communicate with our team, customers, users, and end-users in a clear, timely, and open way.
- Challenge ourselves to grow: We celebrate results and we are always thinking about ways to grow and improve.
3. Omniscient Digital
Omniscient Digital is a content and growth marketing agency serving B2B companies worldwide. The brand’s principles guide short- and long-term decisions, including who they work with and how they work.
- Elevate the content marketing universe
- Cultivate superstars
- Action over perfection
- Every piece of content we produce should be the best thing in the world created on that topic
- Be intellectually honest and genuine, always
- Systems and processes should help us move faster
- Always be learning
- Play long-term games with long-term people
- Build leverage
- This should be fun
How to write an accurate and effective value statement
Every company is different, so it makes sense that every company has their own unique set of core values. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, you can follow some best practices to ensure your company value statement is effective. Here’s what you need to know about creating company values that engage and inspire your team.
1. Define what your company stands for
What are your core principles? What philosophies guide your decisions? What kind of culture do you want to create? If you’re unsure where to start, look at your company’s mission statement and consider how to turn that into a set of values.
Your company’s work values should be aligned with your business goals. That way, they can act as a North Star, guiding decision-makers toward choices that will help the business achieve its objectives.
For example, if one of your business goals is to become the market leader in your industry, then a company value like “innovation” would be significant. On the other hand, if your goal is to provide excellent customer service, then a value like “empathy” would be more important.
2. Get input from your team
To keep your value statement aligned with business goals, involve senior leaders in the process. (given they’re the ones who are ultimately responsible for achieving the business goals).
Lastly, give employees opportunities to share their suggestions for company values. After all, they’re the ones who live and breathe them every day. Hold a series of workshops or focus groups and solicit feedback on what they think should be included in the final list of values.
3. Make it relatable
When you’re crafting your final value statement, make sure they’re relatable and relevant to your team. No one wants to be inspired by a set of values they can’t see themselves living out daily. The more relatable they are, the more likely your team will adopt them as part of their everyday work lives.
Additionally, make sure that every value has a clear meaning. That way, there’s no room for interpretation, and everyone knows exactly what each value entails.
4. Communicate and bring them to life
Once you’ve finalized your values, it’s important to communicate them clearly to your team. This means more than just hanging a plaque in the break room; take the time to explain why these values are important and how they fit into the bigger picture of the company’s goals and mission. Publish them on your website and employee handbook, as prospective and new employees may want to see them.
Next, put them into action. The best way to do this is to create an action plan that outlines how you will bring each value to life within your organization. For example, if one of your core values is “innovation,” you might want to create a dedicated budget for research and development projects. Or, if your value is “empathy,” you might want to implement mandatory customer service training for all employees.
Whatever your value statement says, make sure there’s a concrete plan for bringing each value to life within your organization. Only then will they be able to truly make a difference among your team
5. Hold everyone accountable
Holding your team responsible means setting expectations around what behavior is aligned with your values and what isn’t. It also means providing positive and negative feedback when people exemplify or violate your value statement.
If you want your team to take your organization’s values seriously, encourage your management and leadership team to set the example.
6. Celebrate success
Last but not least, don’t forget to celebrate when team members embody your value statement. Publicly recognize their actions and choices so others know what kind of behavior is valued at your company.
Creating a company value statement is an important exercise for any business—but it’s only the first step. From there, you must communicate them clearly, hold everyone accountable, and revisit them periodically.
Closing thoughts around value statements
In today’s competitive business landscape, it’s more important than ever to have a strong value statement. A well-crafted value statement differentiates you from the competition and gives potential customers a clear idea of what they can expect from doing business with you.
Additionally, a good value proposition keeps your team aligned on goals and milestones and helps simplify your marketing efforts by giving you a clear roadmap.
Get started on your value statement today.