Guide on creating your company values to shape your culture as a Founder

As a founder, creating the values of your company can be a challenge. It’s an important step towards shaping your company culture and therefore needs to be thought in dept.

Guide on creating your company values to shape your culture as a Founder
Photo by Austin Distel / Unsplash

As a founder, creating the values of your company can be a challenge. It’s an important step towards shaping your company culture and therefore needs to be thought in dept. In this guide, we will go through the process to create your company values and how to communicate them to the team.

What is a company value?

Sometimes called principles, your core values support the company’s vision and shape its culture. Every single business decision should be aligned with these values.

To give you examples and inspirations, here are the top 5 company values are Customer centric - 41%, Ownership - 32%, Bias for action - 25%, Growth mindset - 19%, Team cohesion - 15%. (See complete list of company values in our startup culture report 2024)

Not only the company values are a reference for the culture but also help shaping the company’s strategy and operations principles.

In conclusion, your company values are the beliefs, philosophies, and principles that drive your business.

What are the benefits of implementing company values?

Here are 5 benefits of implementing company values:

  • Improve employee retention and happiness
  • Foster a positive company culture
  • Ease decision-making processes
  • Boost brand attractiveness
  • Drive long-term business success

3 steps to build and implement your company values

One of the key question in this section is: How do you translate your company’s vision into of values that are authentic and practical?

There are basically 2 approaches, top-down or bottom-up. Depending on your company stage, you would chose one or the other.

When you are shaping your values for the first time, it’s usually a top-down approach that is chosen. This is when the founders define the first set of values.

Then, as the company evolves, the values need to evolve as well. It’s usually a good idea for everyone to participate at this point. After all, the values are only on paper, the real culture in your company are the people.

  1. Consult your core team members, create broad principles (use our company values directory for inspirations)
  2. Order them by importance and write usage examples
  3. Communicate values to the team (see our next section for that)

If you’re looking for examples of company values, we published a Startup culture report 2024 containing the list of the best company values used by major startups as well as their meaning and synonyms. We also published the data of the report so you can browse among the companies like Coinbase, Brex, or Airbnb.

How to communicate the company values to the team?

The first touch point for employees regarding company values is often during the onboarding. This is when the values are presented for the first time and this is the most important moment when you get to spend time explaining the vision and the mindset of the company.

Then, the difficult part begins because it’s often hard to keep communicating them on a regular basis for multiple reasons. First, when you’ve read them once, you feel like you know them enough, there is no reason to go and read that list again. Second, the rush of everyday’s schedule makes it hard to dedicate some time to review the company values. It’s hardly ever a priority. And third, If they’re too theoretical, reading them has no impact on your professional behavior.

Now, let’s see how to best communicate the company values to your team:

  1. Accessibility - Place them in a pinned document, easily accessible (use Slack pin features and attach them in the general channel)
  2. Examples - Give examples of behavior for each company value to make them operationnal
  3. Recognition - Setup a recognition program linked to company values (use a tool like Clappy Kudos for instance)
  4. Yearly update - Review and update your company values each year (and their examples). They usually need some kind of update, you can re-order them, add new examples and it’s also a good occasion to share them again to the team. Your values evolve with your business

Conclusion

In this article we’ve seen why it’s important to define your company value as a founder or as an HR in a company. We’ve seen what is a company value, why they are important, how to build and implement them and how to communicate them effectively to your team.

We deeply hope that this guide will be helpful for you 🙏