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Creating a culture where employees feel a sense of purpose can set your business apart from the competition and drive greater productivity and motivation.
Creating effective core values that shape each employee’s work experience is one of the easiest ways to give work more purpose for everyone. In this post, we’ll go over everything you need to know about choosing, developing, and communicating core values. We’ll also share some inspiring examples!
Why Are Core Values Important?
A company’s core values are foundational to the organization and its culture. These values define who the company is and lay expectations for employee behavior. They can never be compromised or ignored, or they lose their effectiveness.
Core values can give employees more purpose and help attract the best talent for your organization, with 75% of employees wanting to work at a company with strong core values.
Strong company values can also drive more sales, with 65% of consumers deciding where to purchase items based on the values and actions of the company.
These benefits only happen if your core values are specific and impactful in your company.
How to Choose the Best Core Values
The most important step for discovering your own company’s core values is to ask yourself and your leaders these two questions:
- “What do we stand for as a company? What is most important to us”
- “What is unique about working here?”
Get answers from executives and leaders and whoever else is in your brainstorming group. Organize these answers into groups that feature similar ideas—for example, if one person wrote down friendliness, one person wrote down collaboration, and one person wrote down teamwork, group those together.
After you have a few groups, choose a keyword or concept that briefly summarizes the ideas in each group. These keywords will be your core values, weighted by the fact that they encompass everyone’s ideas.
How to Make Core Values a Part of the Employee Experience
Whether you have brand new core values or values that sit forgotten on a wall somewhere, they only become effective when employees believe in them and let the concepts shape how they perform and interact at work.
Here are some strategies to make your core values more of a centerpiece for your organization.
Communicate Your Values to Everyone
Put your values up on your website, include them in any job listing, talk about each one specifically in a company newsletter, or mention them at the beginning of each company meeting. Find ways to keep your values top-of-mind for employees often without being annoying.
Lead By Example
Leadership HAS to be the best examples of your core values at all times. If not, employees will automatically call the company out as hypocritical or two-faced. If one of your core values is communication, everyone from executives to managers must be open with decisions, goals, etc.
Use Recognition to Reinforce
Employee recognition is a great way to reinforce value-driven behaviors. For example, when a leader recognizes an employee for helping out a struggling teammate, citing the core value of “Teamwork,” you’ll show that leaders notice and value these types of behaviors. This, in turn, causes more employees to act in value-driven ways. It’s a beautiful cycle.
Make Them Really Mean Something
Words like “Integrity,” “Excellence,” and “Respect” all sound pretty good, right? But without action, these values are next to meaningless. A one-time launch of your values, if they’re not authentic and woven into everything you do, will not have any staying power. Create actionable values that are specific and distinct instead of bland, cookie-cutter buzzwords that everyone has.
7 Great Examples of Company Core Values
Google needs no introduction, and they’re values are on every list…for good reason. Their values provide great examples to inspire. Here are just a few:
- Focus on the user and all else will follow
- It’s best to do one thing really, really well
- Fast is better than slow
- You can make money without doing evil
- There’s always more information out there
- You can be serious without a suit
- Great just isn’t good enough
These values are specific, fun, and shape how employees experience work.
Patagonia has always valued nature, and they’ve found a way to show that, and other values, with their core values:
- Build the best product and constantly improve
- Examine our practices openly and learn from our mistakes
- Protect our home planet
- Not bound by convention
These values show Patagonia’s dedication to both quality and sustainability, which can affect every employee.
Values don’t have to be a work or two—they can be whole sentences for more description, just like FirstUp:
- Every employee is an owner with responsibility and credit for our progress
- Leadership is in our build, and we see change as a catalyst for improvement
- We win as a team, committed to helping our coworkers and customers thrive
The first value is a great example of helping employees understand that they and their work matters.
Qualtrics takes their core values in a fun, memorable ways, using an acronym to help employees remember them—TACOS:
- All in
- Customer obsessed
- One team
While these aren’t as descriptive, the acronym is a great way to help employees keep them in mind. And with a short description after each value, you can add more specificity.
As the home of homemade crafts, Etsy needed to create values that drive creativity while serving their diverse base of merchants and customers:
- We commit to our craft
- We minimize waste
- We embrace differences
- We dig deeper
- We lead with optimism
These values are great for pushing collaboration, sustainability, diversity, and positivity.
Hubspot says that their employees are full of HEART (Humble, Empathetic, Adaptable, Remarkable, Transparent), and they’ve used that idea to form their values:
- We solve for the customer
- We work to be remarkably transparent
- We favor autonomy and accountability
- We believe our best perk is amazing peers
- We lean toward long-term impact
These are specific values that connect to specific behaviors, such as honesty, trust, and teamwork.
- In trust we trust
- When our customers succeed, we succeed
- Sparking change with innovation
- Equality for all
- Net zero, now
With an emphasis on trust, customer service, teamwork, and diversity, Salesforce has created a culture where employees love to work.
Create Values That Give Work More Purpose
Core values are the cornerstone for your company culture, and they should shape how everyone, from executives to new hires, act while at work. Hopefully, this post will help you create good company values and learn how to tie them into your daily work.
To learn more about creating value-driven recognition programs, schedule a demo today.