What Is a Values Statement for a Company?

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Management typically makes sure corporate strategies and practices are in line with the beliefs and practices expressed in the company's values statement.
Management typically makes sure corporate strategies and practices are in line with the beliefs and practices expressed in the company's values statement. (Image: Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

A values statement defines a company's guiding principles, beliefs, traits and behavioral norms. The document also guides the company's pursuit of its vision, mission, strategy, ways of operating and the attitude of its employees. If management finds that the company has strayed away from its core values, new strategies are typically crafted to realign company operations with the beliefs and principles listed in the values statement.

Beliefs and Principles

Identifying beliefs and principles lets customers know the qualities the company abides by. These may include integrity, fair treatment, innovation, ethical behavior, teamwork, superior quality, social responsibility and excellent customer service. Kodak, for example, lists its core beliefs and principles as: "respect for the dignity of the individual, uncompromising integrity, trust, credibility, continuous improvement and personal renewal and recognition and celebration."

Traits and Practices

Many companies build their value statements around four to eight traits that mirror the company's beliefs and practices. Employees are expected to display these traits and qualities, especially when dealing with customers, as a way of conveying company values. Ever wonder why the barista at your local Starbucks is so friendly and resourceful that it's hard not to strike up a conversation with her? That's because relationship-building is part of Starbucks core values. According to Starbucks' mission and values statement, "When we are fully engaged, we connect with, laugh with, and uplift the lives of our customers – even if just for a few moments."

Relevance

If a company strays away from the core beliefs and principles listed in its values statement, its customers are usually the first to notice. When that happens, dissatisfaction grows and sales may drop as customers flock around the company's main competitor. To avoid this, many companies have its managers review their current methods of operation to make sure the company practices what it preaches.

Example: Heinz

Best known for its ketchup, Heinz lists five core values that it abides by on its corporate website: "team building and collaboration, innovation, vision, results, and integrity." In its values statement, the company explains that the beliefs and principles behind its products embrace diversity, work toward the creation of a sustainable future and are based on high ethical standards to ensure that its products are of the highest quality.

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