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75+ examples of company values and how to create your own in 2024
When Hotjar was founded in 2014, our co-founders intuitively embraced values like agility, lean operations, and ownership. As Hotjar grew, however, we realized that shaping these priorities into a transparent set of core values was key to aligning business objectives with the real-world challenges we faced.
Well-crafted values foster team unity, shape your customer’s brand perception, and steer decision-making. But how do you translate your company’s vision into a handful of values that are authentic and practical?
Last updated27 Nov 2023
Reading time11 min
This article examines the importance of establishing company values, revealing Hotjar’s own process and providing guidance on how you can develop your own values to positively shape the future of your business. Here’s what we’ll cover:
🔥 5 steps for designing and implementing your company values: follow these steps—from initial team consultation to putting values into action—to ensure your company values are more than just words
🔥 4 critical elements to consider when building core company values: understand how clarity, differentiation, actionability, and authenticity are crucial for building high-impact business values
Examples of company values from 20 of the world’s most dynamic and successful organizations
Let’s take a closer look at the different guiding values that drive 20 successful organizations, organized into five subcategories.
Caveat: while values often overlap, dividing them into distinct subcategories provides a useful framework for a broader analysis of your company, laying the groundwork for more detailed value development.
Businesses that prioritize customer-centric values
Businesses with customer-first values place the user experience at the heart of everything they do, prioritizing customer satisfaction, service excellence, and user relationships.
This commitment to understanding—and exceeding—customer expectations empowers them to continuously develop products and services that resonate deeply with their target audience and foster a lasting emotional connection.
Hotjar (that’s us 👋) is an example of a company with customer-centric values:
Put our customers at the heart of everything: we’re driven by empathy, leveraging qualitative and quantitative insights to delight and excite our customers
Be bold and move fast: we care about delivering value quickly, choosing incremental progress over perfection
Work with respect: we define success beyond profit, emphasizing respect for our team, customers, and community through inclusivity, diversity, and integrity
Build trust with transparency: we communicate with our team and users in a clear, timely, and open manner
Challenge ourselves to grow: we embrace bravery, curiosity, and ambition—and view mistakes as learning opportunities, not setbacks
More examples of companies with customer-centric values
Amazon: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, long-term thinking
LinkedIn: members first, honesty, trust, collaboration, diversity and inclusion, dream big
Spotahome: live for the customer, act as a team, trust, innovation, decisiveness, simplicity, mission-oriented, more is less
📖 Read: how Spotahome used Hotjar to learn more about their customers and test new features to improve customer retention and satisfaction.
2. Businesses that prioritize innovation-driven values
Companies that champion innovation are leaders in disruptive thinking, taking bold risks, and continuously redefining what’s possible.
Often recognized as pioneers in their fields, their commitment to challenging the status quo helps them anticipate customer expectations and needs, cultivating a devoted fan base that eagerly spreads their obsession through word of mouth.
An example of a company with innovation-driven values is Atlassian:
Open company with no bullshit: communicate your ideas and opinions clearly while also being considerate
Build with heart and balance: infuse passion and urgency into everything you do, while carefully weighing your options to make wise decisions
Don’t #@!% the customer: prioritize the customer’s perspective, knowing that without happy customers, you’re ‘doomed’
Teamwork: be serious, without taking yourself too seriously, and strive to put what’s right for the team first
Continuous learning: have the courage and resourcefulness to spark change to improve the product and company
More examples of companies with innovation-driven values
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Optimize the user experience: identify new areas for improvement to continually elevate the customer journey
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3. Businesses that prioritize social responsibility values
Companies that focus on social responsibility initiatives strive to make a positive impact on the world by supporting efforts like environmental stewardship, community involvement, and ethical practices.
Their dedication to the ‘greater good’ lets them cultivate a brand known outside of their industry or product, instilling deep customer loyalty amongst those with similar values or belief systems.
An example of a company with social responsibility values is Patagonia:
Quality: build the best product, provide the best service, and constantly improve
Integrity: examine company practices openly and honestly, learn from mistakes, and meet commitments
Environmentalism: protect our home planet. We’re all part of nature, and every decision you make is in the context of the environmental crisis challenging humanity.
Justice: be just, equitable, and antiracist as a company and in the community
Not bound by convention: do it your way. Success—and much of the fun—lies in developing new ways to do things.
More examples of companies with social responsibility-oriented values
4. Businesses that prioritize employee-centric values
Companies that emphasize workforce well-being, professional growth, and teamwork recognize that satisfied and engaged employees directly contribute to the overall success of the business.
Investing in the employee experience also builds loyal and committed teams, driving innovation and customer satisfaction through a company culture that values the consistency, respect, and trust of its people.
An example of a company with employee-centric values is Miro:
Play as a team to win the world: work, learn, and celebrate in collaboration, rather than alone
Focus on impact and make it happen: dream big, prioritize outcomes that matter the most, and own your commitments
Practice empathy to gain insight: look from the perspective of customers, users, and each other, to deepen your understanding of their experience
Learn, grow, and drive change: reflect openly on successes and failures, and apply your learnings to improve the product and team
More examples of companies with employee-centric values
Netflix: encourage decision-making by employees, share information openly, communicate candidly, keep only our highly effective people, avoid rules
American Express: deliver for our customers, make it great, do what’s right, respect people and different views, work as a team, care about our community
Virgin Atlantic: heartfelt service, insatiable curiosity, smart disruption, red-hot relevance, straight up, delightfully surprising
5. Businesses that prioritize inclusivity-based values
Inclusivity-oriented business values celebrate diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences, which deeply influence the company’s culture, product development, and branding strategies.
By embracing representation and product accessibility, companies enrich the customer experience with products and services that resonate with a global audience, fostering a sense of community and trust among their consumers.
An example of a company with inclusivity-based values is TomboyX:
Accountability: show up fully, hold yourself accountable, and lead with your most authentic self
Fearlessness: be brave, curious, and willing to experiment and make mistakes
Diversity: champion diversity and inclusion; everyone is welcome and appreciated
Trust: be honest, open-minded, and listen actively. Foster radical candor and clarity as kindness.
Unity: aim to build a more equal and progressive world
More examples of companies with inclusivity and diversity-focused values
Savage x Fenty: fearlessness, confidence, inclusivity
Universal Standard: revolutionary inclusivity, quality defined, advanced engineering, fit liberty, give back, customer-centric
Jobwell: representation matters, execute with excellence, embrace responsibility, be respectful, defend with data, challenge convention
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5 steps to build and implement your company values
If you’re thinking about defining—or updating—your business values, consider these five essential steps for designing values that are both impactful and meaningful:
1. Consult your core team members
Begin identifying ideas for initial company values by proactively seeking input from your company’s leadership and executive team. This foundational step ensures your early ideas are aligned with the company's mission and big-picture stakeholder perspectives.
💡 How Hotjar consulted their team for input
During Hotjar’s first year, David Darmanin scheduled informal discussions with his fellow co-founders to dig into their opinions and goals for the company. In particular, he wanted to ensure the values they chose would seamlessly support Hotjar’s early mission statement of “changing the way the web is built by democratizing analytics and feedback.”
David was also intentional about scheduling one-to-one conversations—and not a group discussion—so that everyone’s opinion was equally represented, regardless of who the more dominant or convincing speakers were.
2. Conduct research
Once you’ve identified some fundamental values with your team, seek out fresh perspectives and inspiration by researching how other companies have framed and implemented their own values. Just be sure to filter these ideas through the lens of your company's unique circumstances, so you’re continuously aligned with your brand’s mission and objectives.
💡 How Hotjar sought out inspiration
After David met with his co-founders, he identified tech companies that were also ‘breaking the rules’ at the time, like Basecamp, MailChimp, Atlassian, and InVision.
Many of these companies were either bootstrapped, capital-efficient, or remote, so he knew they had something in common—and therefore something he could learn from.
But David had to continuously remind himself that Hotjar wasn’t a large company (yet) and therefore required tailored values that would resonate with a more intimate team, which was how Hotjar’s first core values (eight in total) came to life.
It’s a big mistake I’ve seen before: small companies get carried away with inspiration and then end up with these fluffy, amazing-sounding values that mean nothing to the team.
3. Collect, review, and implement feedback
After sifting through and prioritizing your ideas, share your refined list of values with the broader team for feedback to ensure that the values resonate with the larger group—and not just a select few.
This inclusive step validates your selection process, offers opportunities to course-correct, and further refines your list of values, while also cultivating a positive company culture of shared ownership and purpose.
💡 How Hotjar collected and implemented feedback
Based on the feedback, the list was narrowed down to five key values. David then presented the results during a company Zoom call, where he welcomed live questions and additional feedback, using these insights to further iterate and solidify the company’s vision into a set of five values.
4. Put your words into action
Once you’ve implemented feedback, it’s time to translate your business values from text to action by integrating them into your company’s culture and day-to-day operations.
Practical application of your values does more than just uphold your company’s core principles; it actively shapes a work environment where values are deeply ingrained in your business strategy and employee engagement.
💡 How Hotjar put their values into action
After the core values were finalized, David handed them over to the rest of the Hotjar team, where they were then embedded into the company’s processes, like being added to Hotjar’s public team manual.
The company values were also woven into internal workflows like the hiring process, to ensure that even the operational aspects of the company resonated with these foundational principles.
5. Evolve your values with your business
Company values should be dynamic and adaptable. Regularly updating them to align with your company’s growth and industry changes ensures your values consistently inspire your team, direct your organizational goals, and resonate with your customers' changing expectations.
💡 How Hotjar evolves its company values
Hotjar reviews core company values as a team when necessary, ensuring they reflect the current user base and align with the team’s growth. This process prompted an update in values in 2019, and another in 2021.
"Re-examine company values as your team grows,” David advises, “and seek team feedback from existing employees to help guide this evolution.”
4 essential elements for crafting impactful company values
If you’re still finding it challenging to build or refine your company values, concentrate on these four crucial elements to dig in deeper:
✅ Clarity: pick values that are easy to understand, enabling employees to effortlessly integrate them into their daily routines. A short, bullet-point list of simple, single-sentence values is sufficient.
✅ Differentiation: choose unique values to sharpen your brand identity and improve your competitive advantage. While it may be tempting to mirror what bigger, more successful businesses are doing, lean into what sets you apart.
✅ Actionable: avoid abstract ideas or theoretical concepts, which can be confusing and lead to misinterpretation. Instead, choose values that translate into specific behaviors and drive effective leadership.
✅ Authenticity: leverage values that genuinely reflect your company’s culture, to empower teams to rally behind a shared vision and purpose, while also fostering a sense of belonging and commitment
Strong company values → happy customers, motivated employees, and a successful business
Company values are the backbone of a thriving business environment, leading to loyal customers, an improved employee experience, and successful business outcomes. By investing the time and effort to develop, implement, and evolve your company values today, you lay the groundwork for a resilient and prosperous business future.
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