Workplace Values


Published: 15 August 2016

Are you part of a great team? Or, perhaps you aren't?

Working in harmony can depend on a number of variables. A great place to start when looking at promoting harmony amongst your colleagues is by establishing a set of values.

Set workplace values provide a uniform road-map for work groups to conduct their everyday tasks with a common goal in mind. This clearly stated standard of behaviour is established in discussion with each other, and must be agreed upon by everyone for maximum impact.

To promote a positive response, it is imperative that workplace values are developed to be meaningful to the employee. Each workgroup develops their own values and decides how they are expressed or lived to promote a sense of ownership and accountability over their goals.

According to Bob and Gregg Vanourek (2014):

"For a team, shared values are their moral and operational compasses. Shared values are the core beliefs that guide the behaviours of a group. These values are not just words posted on the website; they are actively used to make decisions, especially the toughest ones where difficult tradeoffs are involved."

There are three values that are almost universally included in organisations' value statements: respect, integrity and accountability. These usually refer to the management and governance of the organisation. Value statements should be applied as a guide to informing each member on what behaviour is accepted and encouraged, and what behaviour is unacceptable and discouraged.

workplace values all hands in

Great team culture demands respect, integrity and accountability. Consider these suggestions when deciding what these values could mean in your workplace:


  • Treating colleagues with kindness;
  • Accepting of cultural diversity in the workplace;
  • Accepting of a multigenerational workplace;
  • Accepting of individuals' different styles of working; and
  • Allowing colleagues to express their opinions.


  • Being trustworthy;
  • Refraining from being negative about your colleagues;
  • Refraining from being negative about your workplace;
  • Keeping confidences;
  • Avoiding gossip;
  • 'Walking your talk'; and
  • Holding yourself to a high standard of behaviour


  • Taking responsibility for the quality of your workplace relationships;
  • Seeking solutions to conflict to ensure that both sides have acceptable outcomes;
  • Seeking to understand the part you play in any conflict situation; and
  • Choosing attitudes and behaviours that promote workplace harmony.

Your values guide your thinking and actions. They set the standard for your behaviour and performance in the work place, and that of your team's. They are the basis of what you believe to be good or bad, right or wrong.

The workplace is often multigenerational, ethnically diverse and composed of people of different genders and sexual orientations. For workplaces to be harmonious, developing a value statement and talking about how those values will be expressed within the work team is a great way to build team cohesion and workplace harmony.