Are your company culture and values at odds with your policies? Do your employees even know what your company culture and values are?

Value-driven policies are the best way to build a culture where both your people and the business thrive. 

Let’s start with a few key questions. 

Do you have clear company values?  

Do they form part of your policies?  

Do they align with the company culture?  

Do you have a strong sense of culture?  

Would your employees agree?  


Culture is the character and personality of your organisation. It’s much, MUCH more than just policies, it’s the entire employee experience. A healthy workplace culture boosts morale and increases employees’ productivity and wellbeing. It creates an inclusive community that goes onto benefit your organisation’s reputation and positively affects recruitment and retention too.  

A strong sense of culture and clear values are super-important for a successful business. Without them, organisations cannot truly meet their business objectives because they won’t have a cohesive team working towards shared goals.  

A strong company culture + clear values = happy employees + thriving business 

But you know what?  It doesn’t just happen, culture needs to be built and then maintained. 

How can you create a positive workplace culture? 

Focus on some of the most important elements: 

  • Communication  
  • Strong employee relationships
  • Transparent policies  
  • Recognition 
  • Belonging 
  • Good leadership 

And of course … people promoting workplace values!  

One of the key ways to create and maintain a good culture is to ensure your organisation’s values are visible, known, understood and respected.  


Values are a set of principles that should help drive policies and inform the overall culture of the organisation. Values can be based on virtues or be goal-oriented, but they give everyone direction and help to define how your people interact with each other, and with your clients or customers.  

A quick Google search will show you some great examples of real companies and their published values – some are single words, some are statements, there’s a huge variety. Check out some big brand names like Disney or Apple, or ethical brands like Patagonia. You can find values for all sorts of successful businesses and they make fascinating reading. They might inspire you when coming up with your own ones, or updating those you already have. Could they do with a refresh?  

Why are values important?  


  • guide decision-making  
  • create collective goals  
  • help you find the best new staff  
  • improve employee engagement and retention 
  • shape the business strategy  
  • align you with your customers’ values  
  • differentiate your company from the competition 

How to identify your values 

If you don’t already have clearly defined values, here are three tips to get you started.  

Ask your team! There is no point in creating a set of values that don’t align with your people. When you start looking, you’ll likely discover that your employees already have similarities and shared behaviours which will help you develop a defined set of values to feed into your company culture. Perhaps share a few of the lists you find online to kickstart the process.  

What do they like? One word wonders, or proper sentences? Which ones would they be happy to hang their hat on? Which ones make that organisation sound like a great place to work? 

Think about your company. What was your vision when it started, or when you joined the senior team? What is it now? How has it changed, and why? Whatever the answer, use it to inform your values.  

Think about your customers. How do they perceive you? Are you happy with that perception? If you are, consider this as you create your set of values. If not, why not? Perhaps a new set of values will help your people understand how to change your customers’ perception.  

How to build values into culture  

What we say is what we do.  

Company values must be reflected in the actual organisational culture:  

So how? 

  • Write them down: Publish them, include them in employee handbooks and display them in the office. There’s no point in having them if your employees don’t know them or can’t remind themselves what they are! 
  • Lead by example: Use them to guide decision-making and behaviour at all levels. Values won’t be taken seriously if your staff feel it’s one rule for them and one rule for someone else – especially if that someone else is in management!  
  • Review operations: Do day-to-day behaviours match the values? If not, what can be done to change this? And why is it happening?  
  • Put on workshops: Spend time with your teams making sure everyone is clear on what the values mean and how they should be implemented. 
  • Recruit purposefully: Hire based on values. 
  • Focus on recognition: Tell employees when they are representing the company’s values well.  
  • Communicate – clearly and regularly 

The important bit! Building values into your policies. 

If you really want to develop strong values and embed them fully into your culture, include them in your policies. This helps them become an integral part of the business and workplace culture. Additionally, it serves to formalise them, highlighting to all how important they are, company-wide, from top to bottom.  

By weaving them into your policies, you can and deliberately recruit people you believe align with these values and your overall company culture. But it also demonstrates to existing staff that they’re to be taken seriously, they aren’t ‘lip service’ or just some new-fangled idea or a box-ticking exercise – you want everyone to embody them, for the air to buzz with them, for the walls to seep with them, a choir of angels to be singing them in harmony. Ok, maybe that’s going a bit too far … but ultimately your employees will be more successfully engaged and that can have the most positive effect on your business’s success.   

Note: Writing your values into policies is important, but remember that writing alone isn’t enough. The doing has to follow!! 

Keep your values fresh and current. Reflect on them frequently, seek honest feedback, evaluate their impact. Are your employees happier? Has productivity been boosted? Mean what you say, and encourage people to champion your values and contribute to the positive work culture. It’s a TEAM EFFORT and everyone will reap the benefits. 

At vivoHR we can review your policies (or create new ones) to ensure they are value-driven and purposeful – we are here to help. Contact us on 01252 757359 or drop us an email at  

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