Company values: examples and benefits

29/06/2023 | Santander Universidades

Do you think an employee is going to do their best for a company whose mission they don't believe in? Or that a user is going to buy a product from a brand that goes against their principles? Or is a business angel going to take a chance on your idea if they don't share the values that underpin it? 

The importance of corporate culture has been growing for several decades now. Certain authoritarian and unethical models have been left behind to make way for company values hinged on respect, trust, and mutual benefit. Building a corporate identity, vision, and mission to boost the well-being of all parties is definitely part of the path to business success in the 21st century.

Horacio Andrade, in his book The definition of organizational values, describes the values of a company as “those shared ideas about what is important and therefore desirable, which, when accepted by the members of an organisation, influence their behaviour and guide their decisions", in other words, a set of guidelines that steer behaviour and an understanding of the business activity, in order to fulfill the organisation's vision and mission. 

Concepts such as transparency, sustainability, innovation, and teamwork might seem too intangible or abstract to have a genuine impact on your company, but in actual fact, company values are examples of the business's personality and project an image to consumers, staff, investors, and suppliers that helps you to stand out from the competition. 

Do you know what values guide the activity and decision-making at your company? Below are some company values, examples showcasing businesses that know how to define and present their corporate values, as well as the benefits of sharing such values with consumers. 

ECOALF: sustainability in fashion

ECOALF, founded and directed by Javier Goyeneche, is a sustainable fashion brand whose garments are made from recycled materials. In this case, sustainability and innovation are their main company values. 

On one hand, sustainability is a basic pillar of ECOALF, because the company was created as an answer to pollution and the depletion of the planet's natural resources. Its purpose is to market 100% recycled clothes for the new generations, who increasingly take an interest in the environment. 

On the other hand, innovation is an example of a company value that is applied daily to transform waste into high-quality clothing. At present, they collaborate with 2,500 fishermen in Spain who save the waste they collect in their nets and deliver it to ECOALF, who turns it into thread. Likewise, faithful to its principles, this firm is committed to timeless designs that ignore the concept of fast fashion, allowing customers to wear and enjoy their clothes for a long time, regardless of ever-changing trends.

Apple: disruptive innovation

If there's one word that best defines the technology firm Apple, it's innovation. In fact, the company founded by Steve Jobs is always thinking about how to address its users' needs, including ones consumers don't realize they have. 

Innovations focus on offering high-quality products and services, such as customer care, technical support, or even internal company policies. Its organizational culture meshes with its Think Different motto, offering a high degree of job flexibility to its employees, encouraging them to develop their ideas, and seeking to train its professionals to ensure they are up-to-date with any new developments in the sector. 

Walmart: the customer-centric approach

Walmart is the world's largest American retail company, a milestone it has achieved thanks to certain company values, for example, customer service

This supermarket chain focuses its entire strategy on delivering a good shopping experience for its consumers. So, for example, in the field of marketing, it uses big data to personalize offers for each user and thus give them exactly what they're looking for. The Sales department, meanwhile, has set up a home delivery service as well as a click-and-collect service so that users can make their purchases over the Internet and then pick these up at automated kiosks. As for After-Sales, Walmart offers every client the option to return any products that don't meet their expectations, without the need to provide any explanations. 


The benefits of sharing company values  

Walmart, Apple, and ECOALF, among many others, are examples of organizations with company values that understand the benefits of sharing solid and consistent values with their customers. Specifically, an organizational culture with a well-defined purpose, vision, and mission has a positive impact on companies in several ways: 

  • You get a highly engaged workforce. When workers understand the company values and above all, engage with these, they will be far more motivated. That's the reason why many people give up their own free time to work as volunteers for charities. 
  • You better attract and retain talent. A company's values act like a magnet for talent, attracting the best candidates and retaining professionals. In fact, according to the report 2020 Global Marketing Trends, by Deloitte Insights, corporate values can increase a company's staff retention by up to 40%. This has a greater impact on the new generations, such as Gen Z, who prioritize corporate purpose over salary, as indicated by another study from WeSpire.
  • Stakeholder loyalty. This bond with the company spreads, in turn, to other stakeholders such as investors, suppliers, and consumers. For example, some 78% of Gen Z investors either support or would only finance socially responsible companies, according to the survey Money Meets Moral by Swell Investing. 
  • Enhanced brand image. Company values are reflected in the corporate reputation when you have happy staff and customers who act as brand ambassadors.  Specifically, according to the report From me to we: The rise of the purpose-led brand, by Accenture, half of all consumers openly complain about brands whose actions they feel disappointed with, while 47% stop buying their products or services altogether. 
  • The ability to adapt. In the event of crises or times of uncertainty, having properly defined examples of company values helps when it comes to adapting and overcoming any setbacks. As the Deloitte study mentioned above shows, examples of firms built on company values report 30% higher levels of innovation.
  • Higher profits. With a well-trained and engaged team and a loyal customer base, company values lead to better financial results. In this regard, the study Kantar Purpose 2020 reveals that companies with a strong organizational culture have boosted their brand value by 175%, twice as much as the average.

As you can see, it's vital to build corporate values that define your company from the very start, because all of the other activity that makes your business stand out from the crowd will be based around these.

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