There’s never been a more crucial time to create or update your organization’s value statement. With more and more companies turning to remote work, this statement will help you ensure that your distributed team is aligned and engaged.
Whether you need to attract top talent, unite a geographically- or mentally-divided team, or simply give your organization some clear direction, a value statement is a powerful tool.
Continue reading to learn:
- What a value statement actually is — and why it matters
- How to write an effective value statement with a step-by-step guide
- Methods for implementing and onboarding your value statement
- What the top value statements have in common
What is a value statement?
Let’s start by looking at what a value statement is not. A value statement isn’t simply an inspirational quote or line of “fluff” that loosely relates to what your company stands for.
Instead, a value statement is an expression of the main priorities and values of your business. It acts as a moral foundation for your company to stand on and a reference point for all internal decisions.
Value statements are often confused with mission and vision statements, but there are subtle differences that set them apart. A mission statement succinctly defines the business’ purpose, while a vision statement expresses the long-term goals of the organization. While your values are inherently linked to your purpose and goals, they’re not one and the same.
The benefits of a value statement
Many businesses create a value statement simply because they think they need to have one. It’s important to approach the creation of your value statement as a key component of your organization — and one with many benefits. Some ways that a value statement can help your business include:
- Boosting camaraderie: A value statement gives your team members something tangible to unite over. As a set of guidelines, a value statement shapes company culture and helps your team members understand what the business stands for. It also tells them how to conduct themselves, and sets behavioural expectations within the company.
- Encouraging transparency: The honesty and vulnerability that comes with a clear value statement is very powerful. By telling your employees and customers exactly what you stand for, and why, you encourage a culture of open dialogue and sharing. And with a Glassdoor survey showing that 90 percent of job-seekers say it’s important to work for a company that embraces transparency, this is more important than ever.
- Attracting top talent: Speaking of job-seekers, a recent Accountemps survey found that a company’s culture is the third most important thing they consider when accepting a job (coming in only after salary and vacation time). Your value statement is a foundational part of your company’s culture. When it truly reflects your organization’s priorities, it will help you attract and keep talent.
- Increasing business: A clear and unique value statement helps set your company apart from competition, and shows your clients (and potential clients) what your business stands for. When you can attract and retain customers thanks to your value statement, you have the opportunity to create strong, long-lasting relationships based on shared principles and values.
How to write a value statement
Now that you know why a value statement is so beneficial for a business, it’s time to actually write one for your company.
Step 1: Brainstorm
Before you do anything, you need to brainstorm both individually and within a group setting. The first step in brainstorming? Look at examples of value statements from other businesses (we’ve shared some of our favorites below).
Once you’ve looked at some examples, take some time to sit down and consider everything that is important to how your business and its employees work.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What does the business stand for?
- Do the employees stand for the same thing? What’s important to them?
- And what is important to our shareholders and clients?
- What behaviours do we value? What behaviours do we deem unacceptable?
- How do we conduct ourselves in a business setting?
- How do we decide who we’ll do business with?
- What are some qualities we admire in other businesses? In other people?
- What impact do we want to have on the community?
Once you’ve had time to think about these questions on your own, gather select individuals from across different departments and our leadership team and run a group brainstorming session. As you conduct the brainstorming session, you will start to see certain themes and values repeat themselves. That’s how you know you’re on the right track.
Step 2: Narrow down the list
After you’ve gathered information and the results of your brainstorming session, it’s time to focus on a few core values. Firstly, decide how many values you want to include in your value statement. This is completely up to your organization, but most value statements contain between 3 and 10 key points.
When narrowing down your list, you’ll want to start with the values that came up multiple times during your brainstorming session. For example, perhaps five different team members came up with a value related to integrity.
Group together similar values until you have a manageable number. Then work with your executive and HR teams to decide on which values are most important to the success of the organization and its employees.
Step 3: Gather employee feedback
It wouldn’t make sense to introduce a new value statement without having employee buy-in. Set aside dedicated time to ask employees what they think about the list of values you’ve settled on for the value statement.
Depending on the size of your organization, this can be done through an anonymous survey, a task in your project management tool, an all-hands meeting, or in-person through focus groups. As something that will impact every single employee, it’s important to not skip this step.
Step 4: Finalize
After everyone has had a chance to chime in, it’s time to finalize the value statement. Take the time to get the wording, ordering, and presentation right. All of this will affect how memorable and impactful the statement is.
And no filler! Every item within your value statement should have equal importance and meaning.
Step 5: Think about how the value statement can be applied
Congrats! You’ve now created an official value statement for your company. However, the work doesn’t end here.
Before you roll it out to the rest of the organization, you need to be prepared to show everyone how each component of the value statement can be applied. For example, if one of the core values is based around “Responsibility,” the example could be something like “We take ownership in our work each and every day.” This helps everyone across the business understand exactly what the value statement looks like in action.
Step 6: Introduce it to the organization
Now you’re ready to roll it out to the entire organization. Since a value statement is an important part of the company culture, we recommend an official “launch party.” Instead of simply sending an email to your employees, dedicate a half day or so to getting everyone familiar with the new value statement.
This can be in-person or virtual, as long as everyone across the organization is involved.
First, show everyone the final value statement. Allow space for discussion and questions. Then, take the time to walk the organization through the examples you’ve prepared, and expectations around the implementation. What will this look like on a day to day basis for them? By clearing up any confusion from the get-go, you boost your chances of early adoption and success.
You will also need to consider how you want the value statement to be used within the organization. Will employee reviews take your values into consideration? Will you award recognition to individuals who exemplify your value statement? How will you introduce it to new employees during the onboarding process? These are all important considerations.
Value statement examples
Before you get started creating your value statement, take a look at some examples from other successful brands:
- 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 (Writer’s note: they spell it like that on purpose!)
- We’re determined and creative in transforming our bold ambitions into reality.
- Dreams & Curiosity
- Pioneer the future with dreams and curiosity.
- Pursue the creation of the very best by harnessing diversity and varying viewpoints.
- Integrity and sincerity
- Earn the trust for the Sony brand through ethical and responsible conduct.
- Fulfill our stakeholder responsibilities through disciplined business practices.
- At Glossier, we see everyone as humans — not merely coworkers. To us, inclusivity is not only a value but an active verb: it is a choice that we make every day.
- Devoted to the customer
- We are a people-powered beauty ecosystem; our community and customers are at the core of everything we do. We listen to their voices intently, and with each decision we make, we ask ourselves, “What’s best for the customer?”
- We believe that learning never stops, whether that means being inquisitive, listening without judgment, or asking for help.
- To us, courage is essential to getting work done. It’s about having conviction in your own ideas, communicating thoughtfully, and being open to dialogue. We nurture our courage each day by letting go of the familiar and embracing the new.
- When making a decision, we take the holistic approach. We are thoughtful about our cross-functional work, customer impact, and each unique touchpoint that goes into the journey of bringing every Glossier experience to life. The final product (no matter how big or small) is equally as important as the journey to get there.
- You make wise decisions despite ambiguity
- You identify root causes, and get beyond treating symptoms
- You think strategically, and can articulate what you are, and are not, trying to do
- You are good at using data to inform your intuition
- You make decisions based on the long term, not near term
- You are concise and articulate in speech and writing
- You listen well and seek to understand before reacting
- You maintain calm poise in stressful situations to draw out the clearest thinking
- You adapt your communication style to work well with people from around the world who may not share your native language
- You provide candid, helpful, timely feedback to colleagues
- You learn rapidly and eagerly
- You contribute effectively outside of your specialty
- You make connections that others miss
- You seek to understand our members around the world, and how we entertain them
- You seek alternate perspectives
- You say what you think, when it’s in the best interest of Netflix, even if it is uncomfortable
- You make tough decisions without agonizing
- You take smart risks and are open to possible failure
- You question actions inconsistent with our values
- You are able to be vulnerable, in search of truth
- You inspire others with your thirst for excellence
- You care intensely about our members and Netflix’s success
- You are tenacious and optimistic
- You are quietly confident and openly humble
- You seek what is best for Netflix, rather than what is best for yourself or your group
- You are open-minded in search of great ideas
- You make time to help colleagues
- You share information openly and proactively
- You create new ideas that prove useful
- You re-conceptualize issues to discover solutions to hard problems
- You challenge prevailing assumptions, and suggest better approaches
- You keep us nimble by minimizing complexity and finding time to simplify
- You thrive on change
- You collaborate effectively with people of diverse backgrounds and cultures
- You nurture and embrace differing perspectives to make better decisions
- You are curious about how our different backgrounds affect us at work, rather than pretending they don’t affect us
- You recognize we all have biases, and work to grow past them
- You intervene if someone else is being marginalized
- You are known for candor, authenticity, transparency, and being non-political
- You only say things about fellow employees that you say to their face
- You admit mistakes freely and openly
- You treat people with respect regardless of their status or disagreement with you
- You accomplish amazing amounts of important work
- You demonstrate consistently strong performance so colleagues can rely upon you
- You make your colleagues better
- You focus on results over process
As you can see, effective value statements come in all shapes and sizes. Just as every business is unique, every value statement can be customized to fit your organization’s specific culture, goals, and needs.