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The Value in Defining Company Values

Every organization has a unique culture that consists of the underlying beliefs, assumptions, and values of their employees. This company culture is important to understand because it drives the way employees interact with each other. Teams often come to the table holding their individual values close to their hearts and approach their work with their values in mind. In order to prevent conflict and ensure that team members are all on the same page, it’s valuable to establish and define company values.

Who should establish company values?

Company values should be identified by the individuals working within the organization. This is because the values that are chosen should be representative of two things: what your employees care about most and your organization’s mission and vision.

Defining company values should also be a team effort. Why? Because it’s important that everyone on the team understands the values to mean the same thing. Working collaboratively to construct definitions allows employees to agree upon the exact meaning of each value as it relates to your organization’s people and work.

Where should you begin?

Knowing what values to choose from in the first place can be difficult because it can often feel like there’s an endless number of options. Fortunately, we’ve put together a List of Company Values that you can use to start your efforts.

In order to do the first round or two of narrowing down your options, it’s helpful to start by having employees individually narrow down the list to identify their top 20 values. Then have them individually reduce it to 15, then 10. Once each employee has their top 10 values chosen you can come together as a team to compare lists and work collaboratively to finalize your company’s values.

While there is no set number of values that a company should identify and define, it’s common for organizations to choose 4-6 values that most closely align with their mission and vision.

How should you define your values?

Now that you’ve chosen your values, you’re ready to start defining them. But where do you begin? How do you generate definitions that everyone can agree on?

Creating definitions for your chosen values can be approached in many ways. One of the most common approaches our clients have used is to start with a generic definition. Do a quick Google search and pull the dictionary definitions for the words. From there, teams can work together to customize the definitions to fit your organization.

Another way to approach defining your values is to have each employee write out their own definition for each value word. Then, work together to combine each employees’ definition into one, cohesive definition that will be recognized company-wide.

Ready to get started?

Download a FREE copy of our List of Company Values to get started with establishing your organization’s values today.

If you want additional guidance and support with this process, we’ve got you covered. Cause Capacity offers a half-day workshop in which we guide your team through the process of identifying and defining company values. Schedule a FREE Discovery Call today to learn more about this service.


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