Defining company values is the backbone of your business. They will not only guide your internal actions, but will also be the criteria by which your brand will be measured externally. So, it’s a task to be taken seriously. However, making the perfect list of company values that resonates with your mission, team, and customers can be overwhelming. Besides, an even more challenging task is implementing core business values effectively.
That’s why we created a practical guide with company values examples to help you identify your own values and choose the right strategies to implement them effectively.
What are core company values?
Core company values are the fundamental beliefs that guide your organization’s actions, unite employees, and help distinguish it. By definition, these values are not just fancy words you put together for marketing materials—they embody your organization identity. For example, if “innovation” is among your business core values, it should be reflected in your products, communication, and most importantly, company culture.
Why are company values important?
When evaluating the success of your organization, traditional metrics like profitability, market share, or customer satisfaction are not enough. These quantifiable aspects should always be complemented by core company values that are the foundation of a long-term success for any effective organization. Here are several aspects influenced by them:
- Employee retention. Skilled and professional employees always have plenty of work opportunities. While salary might be an important factor, it’s the alignment with the core values of a company that often convinces them to stay. When an employee identifies with your core values, they are more likely to perform better, be more engaged, and show more loyalty.
- Client relations. Core values often influence how your company interacts with its customer base. As most customers are not merely interested in purchasing a product; they are also concerned with what a company stands for. Clearly defined core values help you establish more meaningful connections with your audience. If they resonate with your customers, you’re offering a unique selling proposition that goes beyond price or quality.
- Operational efficiency. Well-defined values serve as guidance for decision-making at all levels of your company. When you have an important strategic decision or everyday problem, referring to your core company values can speed up the process and make it easier to resolve.
- Risk mitigation. We live in times when one wrong company move can lead to irreversible damage to your brand reputation. Here, core values of a company can guide the behavior of your company and help you ensure that its leaders and employees act responsibly and ethically at all times.
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What are some core company values examples?
1. Integrity — Google
Google’s code of conduct famously begins with the phrase “Don’t be evil,” and reflects its core value of integrity. It guides Google’s decision-making, especially in questions connected to protecting user privacy or ethical AI development. For Google, integrity is not just a word. It’s a commitment to a higher standard of business operations.
2. Customer-centricity — Amazon
Amazon’s customer obsession is well-documented and serves as an example for companies looking to prioritize consumer needs. Amazon believes in “starting with the customer and working backward,” which is evident in its customer-focused initiatives, such as an easy return policy or personalized shopping experiences.
3. Innovation — Apple
Apple’s continued success is a testament to its commitment to innovation, one of its top core company values. By making innovation a core value, Apple doesn’t just follow market trends—it sets them. The company maintains a culture of continuous improvement, attracting the best talents to work on them.
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4. Sustainability — Patagonia
Patagonia puts sustainability at the forefront of its business model. This core value is an integral part to how the company designs its products, sources materials, and engages with its community. By aligning business practices with the principles of environmental responsibility, Patagonia has managed to build not just a brand, but a movement.
5. Community — Nike
Nike’s brand business values revolve around bringing inspiration to the community of athletes in the world. This value is evident in their community outreach initiatives and engagement with customer stories on social media. And Nike is very effective in maintaining this community of like-minded people who share a passion for sports.
6. Agility — Spotify
Agility can be a critical asset, and Spotify understands this well. With one of their business values being agility, the company has created a workplace culture that embraces change, continually adapts to market shifts, and remains a leader in a very competitive industry. This focus on agility also allows Spotify to innovate and meet the demands of its audience.
7. Empowerment — Microsoft
Microsoft aims to empower every person and organization to achieve more, either by its range of productivity software, philanthropic initiatives or commitment to democratizing technology. The company’s investment in this core business value has resulted in numerous benefits for both employee and customer satisfaction.
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What are the elements of good core company values?
- Authenticity. First and foremost, good company values must be authentic. They should resonate with your company’s identity and not just include trendy buzzwords. Authentic values are born from a genuine understanding of your organization’s mission and culture.
- Clarity. Ambiguity is the enemy of effective company values. It doesn’t matter if you’re crafting your create them for the first time or revisiting your existing ones, ensure that they are clear and unambiguous. Employees should understand what each value means and how it applies to their work.
- Relevance. Values should be relevant to the problems and challenges your company faces. For example, if you’re in a fast-paced industry, agility might be an essential value; or if your business is built on long-term client relationships, you might find that trust is one of the most important company values for you.
- Actionability. Core business values of your company should be guiding principles that influence behavior and decision-making within your organization. If a value doesn’t guide action, it isn’t a real value. Each value should be turned into practices and policies that you can observe and measure.
- Inclusivity. Your company values should reflect the diversity of your workforce and your customer base. They should appeal to a wide range of stakeholders and foster an inclusive environment where everyone feels represented and respected.
- Flexibility. While business values should serve as constant touchstones, they should also have enough flexibility to adapt as your company grows or as market conditions change. Rigid values that can’t withstand changes in business models or cultural shifts will become obsolete.
- Longevity. Good company values have longevity; they aren’t tied to short-term goals or temporary market conditions. Whether you’re a startup aiming for rapid growth or a century-old enterprise, they should have the staying power to remain relevant over the long haul.
- Alignment. Your values should be in alignment with other elements of your organizational strategy, because misalignment can create confusion and weaken their the impact.
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How do you determine your company values?
1. Take a collaborative approach
The first step in identifying your company values is ensuring that the process is collaborative. Engage stakeholders at all levels—from executives to entry-level employees. The goal is to capture different perspectives that can enrich the list of company values you create. Online surveys, workshops, and brainstorming sessions can be effective ways to implement this collaborative approach.
2. Examine your mission and vision
Your mission and vision statements are invaluable starting points in determining your company values. Ask yourself questions like:
- What are we trying to achieve?
- Who are we trying to sell?
- How do we want to be perceived on the market?
- The answers to these questions can offer initial insights into what your business values should be.
3. Study your corporate culture
A look at your existing corporate culture can provide hints as to what your core values in business should be. Observe how your team interacts, solves problems, and approaches work. Identifying common behaviors and attitudes can help you naturally identify the values that your company shares.
4. Assess market and customer expectations
Internal factors are critical, but it’s also essential to think about what your customers expect from your company or like about it. Use customer feedback and market research data to identify important values that resonate with your target audience.
5. Validate through real-world scenarios
Before finalizing your list of company values, test them against your past business decisions and potential future scenarios. Would they guide you toward your desired outcomes? If they appear ineffective, then they likely need re-evaluation.
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How do you implement company values?
1. Leadership alignment
One of the most important things to do in implementing your company values is to start at the top. Leadership must not only endorse these them, but also be an example of embodying them in day-to-day actions and decisions. If leadership embodies the values, they set a precedent for the entire company to follow.
2. Integration with employees
Introduce your core values to employees as early as the onboarding process. Make sure that new employees understand the tasks they’ll be doing, but also the values that should guide how they do those tasks. Early involvement reinforces the importance of these principles. Encourage employees to be vocal advocates of your company values, because it can be a potent tool for disseminating them to a broader audience, including potential employees and customers.
3. Regular communication
Frequent discussion of core values keeps them top of mind. Mention them in company meetings, newsletters, or casual conversations, regularly repeating the importance of these values. Share success stories and examples of company values being put into practice to highlight their significance. To measure adherence to your company’s core values, include value-related KPIs in employee evaluations. Implement a reward system to celebrate individuals who exemplify your company values. Publicly recognizing such behaviors not only motivates, but also sets an example for others.
4. Align internal processes
Your internal processes should be designed to reflect your company values. If sustainability is a core value, your policies should prioritize eco-friendly practices: renewable energy sources, waste management, or preference to suppliers who are aligned with green initiatives. This can ensure that your company’s strategies align with core values, showing a balance between them and actions.
5. Incorporation into customer experience
Your values should not be inward-facing alone; they should also be reflected in your customer interactions. For instance, if one of your core values is transparency, this should manifest in clear pricing and open communication with your customers. When customers see that a company’s core values align with their interactions, it builds a deeper trust and fosters brand loyalty.
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To wrap up
Core company values are the guiding principles for any organization, directly influencing its culture, decision-making, and brand perception. If you implement them effectively, they can increase both employee and customer loyalty and ensure your company’s long-term success. By following this article, you’re likely to develop a list of company values with true meaning.
What are good values for a company?
Good company values are those that authentically represent the core and purpose of the organization. They should be clear, actionable, and relevant to the internal culture, market, and audience. Elements such as authenticity, flexibility, and longevity are crucial when determining what makes a good value for a company.
How many core values should a company have?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but a common range is between three and seven core values. A small number or even one main value can help in ensuring focus—having too many can weaken impact and make your list of company values harder to remember. The key is to choose a number that allows you to comprehensively represent your company’s essence without overwhelming your team and customers.
What formal declaration contains the values and goals of a company?
The formal declaration that contains the values and goals of a company is generally termed the “mission statement” and “vision statement.” While the mission statement outlines the company’s fundamental purpose and core values, the vision statement focuses on the company’s goals for the future. These statements are often publicly available and are used for both internal decision-making and in shaping external brand perception.
Why are company values important to employees?
Company values play a significant role in shaping the organizational culture that affects employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention. They show what is considered acceptable behavior in the organization and how decision-making happens in it. Values also provide direction for employees, increasing their engagement and commitment. When employees find that their personal values align with company values, it often leads to increased job satisfaction and loyalty.
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