How do company values affect your employees?
Chris Anson Consultant, Marketing & PR

In this article we’ll be looking at the question “why should I care?” and covering what good and bad values look like.

So, why should you care?

Company values are important for the “indoctrination” of your workforce, so they can work and flourish in a cohesive way by adhering to core tenets, laid out by the company. They provide a framework to look to when an employee is unsure of how to act.

However, a lot of employees will forget or not engage with the company values because, frankly, they’re boring. They’re something in the background that every company has and they all seem the same to the average person. So how do you get values that employees actually care about?

In preparation for writing this article, I went through a raft of company websites to see what the general consensus on values is. Typically, companies have 6-10 values on their website that are in their “About Us” section. Having gone through 190 examples of company values, I noticed that “integrity” pops up maybe 30 or 40 times. Of those 30 or 40 times, only a handful genuinely stood out to me.

Why you ask?

They were fleshed out with a realistic reason.

Take a moment and ask yourself, why do you go to work?

Go on, give it a little thought at least!

OK, you might say you work to buy food, pay a mortgage and do fun things/hobbies. You work hard to get promoted, so you can buy more food/housing/fun.

You might say you love your job and just being there is what makes you happy, or, working might be a means to an end like Penny in The Big Bang Theory working at a cafe whilst she waits for her career break as an actress.

However, you wouldn’t answer with “Because people need to work” and leave it there, right?

The key message to take away from this is that you need to qualify your values with reasons that resonate with both your employees and your customers. That’s the “why should I care part” covered.

Now, to delve into what a good value statement looks like.

To help with this, the best number of values is 3-5 as this allows people to be focussed on core tenets and not become bogged down in trying to juggle many ideas at once.

My personal favourite value statement was Ben&Jerry’s ice cream – check these out:

“Our three-part Mission guides our decision making.

Our Product Mission drives us to make fantastic ice cream – for its own sake.

Our Economic Mission asks us to manage our Company for sustainable financial growth.

Our Social Mission compels us to use our Company in innovative ways to make the world a better place.”

Here’s my thoughts on what a killer set of values needs to have:

  1. Non-generic. Picking something like “integrity” or “hard working” is boring, all too common and shows that not much thought has gone into the value statement.
  2. Reasoning. All values need to have a bit of text next to them, explaining why they’re important.
  3. A bit of tongue in cheek attitude. Don’t make it too dry, add in some charity work like “we strive to increase profits so that we can make more charitable donations to the RSPCA, since badgers are cool animals”.
  4. Succinct. Between 3 and 5 values are ideal. Having anything more than that makes it’s hard for your team to juggle them all at once.
So what does a bad value look like?

Value communication is such a simple thing to get right but is often done poorly. I’ve got my own idea of what bad values look like from my internet trawling, but I want to see what *you* think is bad.

So, send in your worst values! Let’s leave the company names out of it so we don’t name and shame. Email them in at

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