How to Choose the Best Company Core Values

Company core values are at the center of a business and its success. To find the right ones, you have to know what you believe as a company and how those values will drive you toward your corporate goals.

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teammates celebrating company core values

Company core values have become the cornerstone of modern businesses. They’re guiding principles central to business culture and practices, both internally among staff and externally among your customers, clients, and potential hires.

One of the top indicators of employee satisfaction is the culture and values of an organization. Over 75% of employees consider it “very important” to work for a company with defined core values.

In this article, we’ll guide you through building your own core values and show you examples of the best company core values so you can create a strong culture and achieve business success.

Why core values are important to businesses

Leaders and managers can lean on the values of the organization to drive performance, especially during transition. An organization’s values should be the foundation of why the company exists and should define behavioral norms and company culture. The core values should simplify how decisions are made to accomplish goals and achieve the vision.

Corporate core values will help educate customers about who the company is and what they can expect when interacting with your business. Consumers who resonate with a company’s core values are more likely to be customers. About 63% of consumers say they want to buy products and services from companies that have a purpose that resonates with their personal values and belief systems.

Corporate culture is built on a foundation of shared core beliefs. These corporate values will provide the framework for the present company culture and work environment. They also help you attract the right people when it comes time to hire new talent. One of the best ways to find the right fit (aside from hiring for hard and soft skills), is looking for a candidate who resonates with the core company values. That way, they’ll seamlessly fit in, and the table is set for mutual success. It will also help them achieve professional growth if they commit to continuous learning at the company with those fundamental beliefs at the core.

About 63% of consumers say they want to buy products and services from companies that have a purpose that resonates with their personal values and belief systems.

How do I choose my company’s core values?

It may seem daunting when faced with the task of identifying core values. These fundamental beliefs may already be at the company core. Then, it’s just a matter of putting them into words and sticking to the status quo.

Company core values must be authentic and somewhat specific. That way, they resonate with the team and customers. When working to identify your company’s core values, less is more. Aim for 4 to 6 core values and don’t exceed 12. It’s crucial that these values actually represent  your company and its work. They won’t mean much if they’re contradictory or convoluted.

Many companies have a disconnect between the “proclaimed” or “aspirational values” in their corporate values statements and their “behavioral” values. As a result, the core company values can become a liability and foster mistrust. To avoid this, keep in mind that values are only helpful when they’re expressed in everyday behavior.

When identifying your values, think about what matters most to you when hiring or speaking to a customer. Is teamwork essential? What about accountability and responsibility? Transparency? Write them down!

Examples of good core values

If you’re unsure of where to start, here are some common core values expressed in Fortune 500 companies’ values statements:

  • Anthem: Leadership. Community. Integrity. Agility. Diversity.
  • Sysco: Integrity. Excellence. Teamwork. Inclusiveness. Responsibility.
  • Delta Airlines: Honesty, integrity, respect, perseverance, and servant leadership.
  • CocaCola: Leadership. Collaboration. Integrity. Accountability. Passion. Diversity. Quality.
  • USAA: Service, loyalty, honesty and integrity.

You might notice that “integrity” appears in each list. Many top companies focus on fostering trust between executives, employees, customers, and anyone interacting with their brand. Keep that in mind when choosing and implementing your company values.

The best company core values: A how-to guide

You might begin by perusing lists of other companies’ core values and taking stock of inspirational core value statements. Here’s how to establish core values of your own:

  1. Start with examining your mission statement. If you’re looking for help developing your mission statement, start with these pro tips! Then turn your core mission into individual values.
  2. Concisely capture your core values in writing. Once you distill your core values down to a handful of clear and concrete sentiments, you’ll want to get them in writing. For maximum clarity, use accessible language that’s easy to understand. People should be able to read your core values and have no questions about what they mean.
  3. Make them available. Most businesses share their core values on their website to make them available to potential job candidates and customers. Internally, it’s common practice to have core values listed in your employee handbook or other places where they are visible and evident.
  4. Lead by example. Core values can be a tricky thing to enforce, but remember that the worst thing you can do is create values that leadership doesn’t adhere to. At that point you have negative core values. It’s important that whatever you identify as a core value, everyone is held to the same standard in following them — from execs to interns. If employees see their core values actualized across the board, chances are you won’t have too much trouble getting them to follow along.

The best company core values are more than a slogan. They reflect what the people behind the business believe and how they want customers, business partners, and the wider world to see the team. If you all stick to them, they can point you toward long-term success.

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