Business Development

Company values – how we did it

To start defining company values we need to know why we are doing it!

Deloitte survey: “73 percent of employees who say they work at a “purpose-driven” company are truly engaged, compared to just 23 percent of those who don’t”.

This survey results from Deloitte are showing a share of the expected staff numbers to be aligned with the company on their way to vision through mission. On the other hand, any numbers are simply indicators on top of the base we either have as a constant or have as a subjective point of view. With this in mind we have to rule our own numbers to understand the surveyed object.

In the above particular example we have a good rate of employees aligned with the company’s vision and values assuming values are clearly being communicated. With communication of the values it is important to find the proper way to communicate values because not all businesses are based on the same principles and are in the same industry thus, the employer – employee communication differs. If these values are clearly communicated these can serve as the guiding light for the majority of employees. This guide defines the scope of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour as well as what virtues company will value the most.

From our own experience, and from our own learning curve, we can confirm that most of the cultural problems or issues arise from ineffective communication. This is especially true for small companies just starting out and coping with time to set up proper structure.

The ultimate goal in the process of defining the company values is to understand your purpose!


To be sure we are on the same page let’s through in some terminology :

Vision: The vise one says the vision is the place we as a company want to be. In which industry, revenue model, purpose model,…

Mission: AKA the vehicle we’ll be riding to the goal, or vision. What is the way we are fulfilling our purpose and making to the vision we had for our company.

Values: Basic beliefs on which the path to vision as a goal is based and mission strongly depends on. 

Principles: Set of rules and regulations that are helping shape the global guidelines that define what is acceptable and how we decide certain actions in the company.

This process helped us set and polish what we know about ourselves and how we want to get to what we want to be. Our model focuses on client-employee relationships, our actions are all owned by all individuals participating in decisions making. We believe a simple solution is the best solution. We strive towards daily improvements of ourselves as well as of the environment and our employees. Learning is king!


When designing this process iit is good to have some examples of others doing it. As outlined above, the goals we’ve set for ourselves had been brought by and shaped by the process we are describing in this article. On the other hand, there are many others you can look up to and find yourself by their view of the path ahead of them:

Google “10 things”

Amazon “Leadership principles”

Atlassian values

The Container Store

Real world process steps – example

As our HR manager, Ivana Djokic, who organized our latest shape shifting from a small operation focused on hiring to a company focused on employees and clients as puzzles of a bigger picture. Below are steps we’ve taken to reach our maturity, so to speak 🙂

  • Management brainstorming – workshop
  • Define/Shape/Format
  • Include anyone in the company who’d bring value to the process
  • Promotion – office, slack or other public communication channels, social networks with focus on culture and events in the company
  • Implementation of everyday life in the company
    • Recruitment and selection
    • Employee performance reviews
    • Onboarding
  • Brainstorm any activity that can help spread the idea throughout the company. Empower ownership and make it visible to everyone so that same behaviour is inspired.


Process wouldn’t be as efficient as it should be unless there are guidelines in how the very process is led. Every fact that is said and used in forming the values must be true and what management believes as well. It must be as realistic as possible formatting patterns to follow the real image of the team, company and management.

On the other hand, management needs to define values that are important for them and what are the values they look for into employees. 

Values must be short, yet clear and concise so that everyone understands them and align themselves with them easily. All values are connected in a logical image of the company itself. A paint of the company, if you will.

We should be careful with not going above five items of values list. If executed properly not more than that is enough to paint the whole picture in full colours.

Last but, not least, management must behave in accordance with company values in order to deliver a role model image to employees. Something slightly related to this topic is raising children, kids aren’t going to simply obey because you tell them to; they need to see you doing what you preach 🙂


And now let’s practice through workshop:

  1. Why is it unique to work here?
  2. How would you describe this organization?
  3. What are you proud the most of in this organization?
  4. Describe ideas/ideals that led to found the organization
  5. What values/principles are fundamental and distinctive since the company was founded?
  6. What differs this organization from competition?
  7. What is the focus of this organization?
  8. In order to reach the goals/strategy, what are the principles that should carry us through our work?
  9. What are the key values and principles that, if we follow them, will help in further development of the organization?

At the end of the workshop you should be able to find out more about your company goals and values should be clearly defined. Important to note is that values can be changed throughout company lifetime because it is perfectly natural for a company to pivot, change goals and mission. With that in mind you can set up periodic revisit of the values, mission and vision to keep your organization healthy.

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