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Why do Workplace Values Matter?

At The Happiness Index we talk about workplace values all the time. We have a whole pre-built survey dedicated to them! But what are they, and why should you care? Let’s find out…

Hands up who loves workplace values? it's us!

What Are Workplace Values?

Your workplace values shape the attitudes, behaviours and direction of your organisation. They are the qualities, standards and practices that matter most to your team. Defining your workplace values will help you communicate with your team more clearly and give your whole organisation a broader sense of purpose. 

Why Should You Care About Values In The Workplace?

1. Give Your Workplace a Direction

Your values are the guiding star for your organisation, it gives your organisation a direction. By isolating your values and being able to share these with your team, you’ll be able to communicate clearly what your organisation’s meaning and purpose is. This means you’ll be able to refer to your values when considering any big, complex decision.

2. Solid Cultural Foundation

By building your culture based on your core organisational values, you’ll be able to ensure that you have a recognisable reasoning behind your strategy. When creating your culture you’ll find you can’t please everyone all the time. This is why having a solid foundation in the form of values will help you build something you’re proud of and works for your organisation.

3. Encourage Positive Behaviours

By being able to communicate your values to your team will help you to encourage the behaviours you want to see within your organisation. Whether that’s teamwork, putting the customer first, assuming positive intentions (something that’s a value for our Quokkas.)

4. Cultural Unity Without Homogeneity

It’s almost impossible to create one single culture across all teams, departments and locations within an organisation. Particularly in today’s global organisations. However, by having the same values, you’ll see unity, even without making everyone conform. 

5. Build Engagement Naturally

Neuroscience shows us that meaning and purpose is one of the key themes that builds engagement. Values are one of the main aspects of meaning and purpose. This means that it’s a great way to build engagement among your people. Let’s look at this neuroscience in more detail…

The Neuroscience of Workplace Values

Although values sit within the meaning and purpose key theme within our neuroscience model, there are a couple more topics to dig into too. Let’s dive right in…

Meaning & Purpose

As discussed, values sits within the meaning and purpose neuroscience theme which aligns with the engagement side of our neuroscience model. If your team understands and respects your value, you’ll be able to ensure that yours and your people’s meaning and purpose is aligned. 

This is important from a neuroscience perspective because it centres around the reflective brain type, which is associated with the pre-frontal cortex. Instinctively we know that our values are linked to our personality, but the science bares this out. The pre-frontal cortex is where important higher-order thought processes occur. And it’s highly associated with our personalities. 


Another neuroscience area values can really help you with is clarity. That’s because information flow is very important when it comes to clarity within the workplace. If you’re able to align your communications with your values, you will be able to create consistent messaging which will resonate with your team. 

Your people will also be able to see how their behaviours, actions, and work impact on the organisation as a whole, and how this builds towards both their personal but also your organisational meaning and purpose. 


Lastly, it may not seem like it, but being clear on your workplace values will give your team a greater sense of freedom. This is because they will be able to behave autonomously within the values described and feel sure that the decisions they are making are aligned with the overall values and direction of your organisation. 

Examples of Values in The Workplace

We’ve already discussed some examples of values within the workplace. It’s important to remember that values which resonate with some members of your team might not resonate with everyone. Similarly values that work for one organisation would be terrible for others. 

A great example of this might be competition, or aggression. Some people love to work in highly competitive or aggressive workplaces, others would find such an environment toxic or detrimental to their mental health. That doesn’t mean it’s a good or bad value to have, it just means you need to think carefully about how you apply it, and talk to your team about where they stand. 

Similarly, assuming positive intent works well for us. As Quokkas we all tend to be value driven, and we love working for an organisation that’s working towards a better workplace for everyone. However, this might not work for every organisation or every situation. That’s why workplace values are so individual to each organisation and the humans that make them. 

How Can The Happiness Index Help You With Your Workplace Values?

Our specially designed Values Index pre-built survey was created by our neuroscience and HR experts to help you to understand how well your team understand and feel aligned to your values. This will give you a great place to start when it comes to defining and articulating exactly what those values are. 

Brain character

Linked to ENGAGEMENT in our neuroscience model

Values Index Survey

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Elle Whitehead-Smith

"Elle is happiest when given plenty of puddings, popular novels and, particularly, perfect grammar."


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