These days it’s pretty easy to figure out the company core values behind any given organization. Just a glimpse at their website will likely show you a section dedicated to the company’s core values.
However, just because core values have become a necessity doesn’t mean the construction behind them is easy. Values can sometimes seem like an arbitrary list that doesn’t affect revenue, but if that’s your mindset, you’re missing a massive opportunity.
Core values are central to business culture and practices, both internally among staff and externally among your customers, clients, and potential hires. We’ll guide you through building your values and show you some examples of the best company core values out there.
Why core values are important to businesses
There’s a reason core values shouldn’t be arbitrarily chosen. Core to your company, they need to be something you prioritize above all else. In other words, they can’t be taken lightly. When you claim a core belief, and fail to live up to it, that is immediately visible to your customers as well as your employees.
Your company’s core values determine who applies for jobs that you post, especially when it comes to millennials. Forbes reports that company culture and values are so important to millennials (who will make up roughly half of the working population by 2020), that core values are becoming a central tenant in attracting and retaining young talent.
Internally, core values are the foundation of your business. They’re the touchstone that should shape the decisions that your employees make.
What to consider when choosing your company’s core values
When working to identify your company’s core values, remember that less is more. Aim for something like four to six core values but definitely don’t exceed a dozen. It’s important that these values actually relate back to your company and the work it does—they won’t mean much if they’re contradictory or convoluted.
Think about what matters most to you when hiring or speaking to a customer. Is teamwork essential? What about accountability and responsibility? Transparency? Write ‘em down.
The best company core values: A how-to
After perusing lists of companies with the best company core values and taking stock of inspirational core value statements, the work of creating yours is still ahead. Here’s how to make core values of your very own:
- 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. Don’t worry about making them actionable—values are the sentiments that are behind value statements.
- Concisely capture your core values in writing. Once your core values have been distilled down to a handful of clear and concrete sentiments, you’ll want to get them in writing. Use accessible language that’s easy to understand for maximum clarity—people should be able to read your core values and have no questions about what they mean.
- Make them available. Most businesses choose to share their core values on their website in order to make them available to potential candidates and customers. Internally, it’s common practice to have core values listed in your employee handbook or another place where they are visible and evident.
- 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. 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 others to follow them as well.
The best company core values are more than a slogan. They’re not synonymous with a mission statement, they’re a reflection of what you believe in behind the business, and how you want your customers, business partners, and the wider world to see you and your team.