Company values are powerful and important statements about what you're trying to achieve as a business and how you go about it. They tell people a lot about the kind of business you are, and what you hold important.
Having clear values, well communicated, is crucial for employee satisfaction, talent acquisition, being aligned around your strategy and so much more. So it's important that you get them right, and they are an accurate reflection of you as a business.
But crafting and setting your values is often a daunting task! So, to help kick-start your thinking, why not take a look at what other people do. We’ve analysed hundreds of company values to understand what the most commonly used ones are.
Now, as we said, your values have to reflect your business and your beliefs..... we’re not saying that these common values are the wrong values to have, they’re clearly very good attributes to value, but if you’re thinking of adopting one of them, just make sure you make them unique to you. We’ll talk more about that a little later on, for now let’s take a look at the most common company values…
10: Leadership as a Company Value
Leadership is the 10th most common value accordingly to our research. It is most commonly associated with developing a culture where employees understand the direction and focus of the company - where everyone is aligned to the vision, mission and strategic objectives. Companies who listed Leadership as a value, are striving for each employee to know how they contribute and feel they can step-up and lead their contribution to the business.
So if a business declares Leadership as one of its core company values, what behaviours does that translate to? How does that impact culture and the actions of both the management and wider teams?
Behaviours that demonstrate Leadership as a value:
- Having a clear vision and direction for the business
- Good communication at all levels
- An inclusive environment where team members are nurtured and developed
- Always looking forward but learning from what's come before
9: Diversity as a Company Value
In as the ninth most popular company value is Diversity, which has become much more prevalent over the last few decades. Living by Diversity as a value can ensure you have a wide range of skills, opinions, views, experiences and talent within a business. This mix can move you forward quicker than businesses who do not focus on the opportunities brought about by diversity. For Diversity to be a true value, it has to operate at every level of your business.
Behaviours that demonstrate Diversity as a value:
- Having a wide range of backgrounds and cultures on the team
- A commitment to equality at all levels of the company
- An inclusive and fair approach to internal and external hiring
8: Accountability as a Company Value
Accountability is the 8th most popular company value. If accountability is missing in an organisation, strategic plans are sure to fail. Taking responsibility, ownership and having accountability is a good thing when you work as a team to support each other. It provides clarity and increases engagement but is not, and must not, be about blame or developing a blame culture. Accountability has arguably slipped in popularity over the years, and a large part of that is down to this fine line between Accountability and blame.
Behaviours that demonstrate Accountability as a value:
- Having clear ownership across strategic plans and day-to-day activities
- No confusion or ambiguity and tasks do not fall between people
- There’s a supportive and transparent culture to help people achieve their owned tasks or initiatives
7: Celebrate Success as a Company Value
In at number 7 is Celebrating Success. Even in hard times, celebrating success is a great way to boost morale and engage people from across the whole business. Work is usually hard, even if it’s enjoyable, so including a value that acknowledges the importance of taking a moment to notice the wins is really important. It might be a simple cultural trait to congratulate people, or it could be a more formal recognition system. Whatever it is, enjoy your progress and be proud of where you’re heading.
Behaviours that demonstrate Celebrate Success as a value:
- Small victories are celebrated at all levels of the company
- People acknowledge each other for big and small wins
- There’s formal recognition when success is had, e.g. bonuses or pizza nights
6: Innovation as a Company Value
Innovation just misses out on the top 5 most common company values. It’s ironically high given how many companies struggle to devote time, effort or resource to this area. The popularity can often be because Innovation is one of the ‘vanity values’, used to promote the company externally and harder to cultivate internally. Remember, Innovation as a value doesn’t have to only refer to radical changes and improvements - like complete diversification. It could mean innovating and improving internal processes which can transform your profit, for example.
Behaviours that demonstrate Innovation as a value:
- New ideas and suggestions are regularly made and adopted
- The team is seen as forward-thinking
- Change is embraced and the team are adaptive
5: Passion as a Company Value
Passion just about edges into the top 5 common values. Passion suggests a team who love their work, who are interested and excited about it, and actively engaged with the day-to-day difference they are making. Unfortunately, despite being emotive, Passion as a word is so common that, like many of these top 10, it somewhat loses it’s impact.
Behaviours that demonstrate Passion as a value:
- High levels of satisfaction across all teams
- Ideas and suggestions are regularly generated from motivated team members
- There's a consistently high quality of work and pride associated with it
4: Integrity as a Company Value
Like many of these values, Integrity is something you would hope is part of all companies. It stands for honesty, sound moral principles, being ethically driven and focusing on doing the right thing. If you have Integrity as a core value, your day-to-day interactions with suppliers, buyers and each other have trust and honesty as foundational pillars.
Behaviours that demonstrate Integrity as a value:
- Open, transparent and honest communication internally and externally
- A strong ethos of doing the right thing even if it’s not the most profitable action
- Excellent relationships
3: Respect as Company Value
Respect as a core value is all about treating everyone with dignity, valuing their contribution, understanding each other’s importance and developing a mutually trusted relationship. As a company value, Respect extends beyond the internal interactions. A company with Respect as a pillar must also treat their suppliers, buyers and partners with similar grace.
Behaviours that demonstrate Respect as a value:
- There remains respect even at times of disagreement
- Everyone is treated fairly and with dignity
- Nobody is taken for granted or hurt
2: Customer-Focused as a Company Value
A behaviour promoted in many successful companies is ensuring you're Customer-Focused. It’s a good value as it can significantly drive growth. In fact, Customer Intimacy is one of the three core competitive positions outlined in the Values Discipline Model. In this model, being Customer-Focused is heralded as one of the three core values a company must display if they are going to succeed. Having this value as a core driver suggests there’s real intent and focus on pleasing customers in every engagement they have with the business.
Behaviours that demonstrate Customer Centric values:
- A good knowledge of the customer landscape at all levels
- Very high customer satisfaction
- Excellent customer relationships
1: Teamwork as a Company Value
Drum roll 🥁 ... The number 1 most common value is Teamwork/Collaboration. Perhaps no surprise, as how would anything be successful without the concept of teamwork? With this value everyone knows how they contribute to the strategy, works hard to be successful and makes efforts to ensure others are equally successful. The wins from having this value are as a group – the team being greater than the one.
Behaviours that demonstrate Teamwork as a value:
- Clear roles that work well together
- Great staff relationships
- Consistent high output
Other Common Company Values
Just missing out on being in the top ten are these five values:
So, there we have it! The most common company values. They’re all excellent, why wouldn’t you want to have integrity or teamwork or innovation within your DNA?
But there’s a problem…
Values are meant to showcase what makes up your culture day-to-day, how you behave, and what you strive for. They’re a statement internally and externally. So you want them to be impactful, inspiring and engaging… and unfortunately, common words are often not.
When you’re developing your values, by all means take the essence of the above, but put your own spin on how you express them. Take a look at over 200 examples of company values to see how others have gone about them.
Values are important. Values are personal. Make them your own.