What Are Value Statements?

Value Statements, we’ve all seen them, typically posted on the walls of the reception area, and elsewhere around the office or plant. Why do companies do this? What purpose do they serve? A friend of mine calls them the “Rules of the Village.” I like this analogy. We define values as firmly held thoughts and beliefs. As our thoughts and beliefs are reflected in our behaviour, it is necessary to clarify our values with a list of behaviours.

Value statements are most helpful when written in a form that describes key behaviours and attitudes that you require from all employees as a condition of their employment. They are important because they help everyone understand how to “behave” on a day to day basis under any circumstances and changing situations. Once these rules are clearly understood and supported throughout the company, all employees have a reference point to make independent decisions.

As your company evolves, these values influence the culture of the company and add to your overall brand. Unfortunately, most of these Values documents are written in terms that are vague, unclear, and open to wide interpretation, which is not at all helpful to your employees, and mean nothing to your customers. At best they are simply ignored or seen as irrelevant. At worst they can lead to conflict within your company, as each employee may have a different interpretation of what is expected of them.

The key to building a widely understood set of values is being crystal clear what they mean. I also suggest you start with a few, maybe three, that really matter to you, and add as needed over time. The “Values” section of Plan Genie will help you do this.

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