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Why core values matter

Do you really like your job? It’s a simple question that elicits very complicated answers. Some people like their jobs, but not the company. Others may say the company and job are both fine, nothing to get excited about—a means to an end. But most people who can clearly answer yes to this question work for companies with strong company core values that align with their own.

What are core values?

Core values are exactly what they sound like. They are the beliefs and principles that you live by every day. They can also define the reason why a company exists in the first place. A solid set of values provides purpose for everyone, from entry-level employees to the CEO. Company core values must drive everything the company does if you want them to shine.

At first glance, many people see them as an attempt at public relations. It’s a tagline that makes the company look good. Although having a set of ethics for your company sounds nice, if the company doesn’t put them into practice, their power is quickly lost. What are core values of a company really worth if the company doesn’t back them up?

Examples of core values

Although there could be numerous values that your company holds sacred, below are five simple pillars that tend to be at the foundation of every business. These are: 

  • Integrity – Integrity is the power to stand behind your words and beliefs. As C. S. Lewis said, “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.”  In the face of challenging situations, having a solid foundation allows for confidence in decision-making.
  • Discipline –  Know what you want, and make it happen. Discipline comes down to having goals and managing your time and energy in ways that help you achieve those goals. Making changes in your own life is the only way to change the lives of others.
  • Perseverance – Almost nothing worth doing comes easy. If you really want to reach your personal and professional goals, your drive must match your desire, especially as you encounter adversity.
  • Diligence – If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right. Showing care and attention to the things we do ensure they achieve the greatest impact. Diligent work contributes to the clarity of mind and increased understanding.
  • Accountability – Accountability is an incredibly important aspect in creating a culture where employees feel empowered to make decisions based on the best available information. This is because their expectations are clear. When something works, recognize it. If something fails, learn from it. When someone is held accountable, they show up for their colleagues and themselves. They live up to their expectations.

If you are looking for the best core values company to get you inspired to make your own foundations, the examples are numerous. Our personal favorites include Starbucks, Adidas, and Google. If you think there is no place for you in that hall of fame, we are here to convince you otherwise!

Why are values important to an organization?

We’ve touched a little bit on the fact that a company’s values have tremendous power when they are put into practice. But what is that power? Why are they such an important piece of developing a team that functions as a family? The answer comes down to who we are deep down. The things that really mean something to us.

The importance of company core values lies in the fact that they turn a company from an organization trying to flip a few bucks into a force for good in their communities. They are what set established, successful companies apart from fly-by-night businesses.

In short, company core values are the reason a business does what it does, the reason people want to work for them, and the reason clients and customers want to do work with them.

How do you identify your company’s core values?

By now, you’ve undoubtedly figured out that you can vastly enrich your company culture by documenting and practicing a moral code. So, how do you decide on the best company core values for you? Not only that, but how many core values should a company have? It all depends on the culture you’re trying to create.

Learn what others are doing

While you don’t want to simply grab some lines that sound good straight off another company’s website, learning what principles are important to other organizations is a great way to get started on a list of your own. You can find a whole host of excellent company core values examples this way. 

You should also see how those companies put them into practice. Since this part may be even more crucial than simply jotting down what you want your business to look like, it can be beneficial to see how other companies have succeeded in creating the culture you are after.

Decide which values are most important to you

After going through list after list of core values, some examples will stand out above the rest. If something continually garners your attention, there’s a good chance that you feel strongly about it, whether you knew it or not. Maybe you already knew this was the direction you wanted to go, but needed a little validation to show you were on the right track. Let this confirmation bias steer your decision. 

If you’ve gone so far as to start a company, logic has it that you are likely passionate about your business. Those who are in the market for your product or service likely feel some of the same. If you share a lot of the same ethics with your customer base or those drawn to your product or service, why not start there?

Define the moral principles you want in your staff

Most business owners would say they like to hire people they see as a good fit with the company. Makes sense. But the idea of a “good fit” is pretty broad and generic. We are looking for members who share many of the same moral principles as the rest of the team. What do you want those morals to look like? What do you see as the most important part of providing value to your team, customers, and community?

How do we foster values in the workplace?

Many of us would take a job that paid a little less if we liked the company. Why is that? The part of us that would gladly trade working on the weekends for hanging out with our friends for free is a big part of what drives this phenomenon. We like to associate with like-minded people. It makes us feel comfortable.

By fostering the things that drew employees in the first place, we end up with a team that shares and lives with them every day. When a good deal of your employees have the same priorities, they are likely to get along much better than those with opposing views on what’s important. The key to achieving this is to actively incorporate your company core values into daily routines. Want to know how to do it? Here are a few key points to get you started.

Put it in writing

One of the simplest ways to show your workforce that you’re serious about your company core values is to put them in writing. When you put something in writing, you are held more accountable for it. You are taking the time to elaborate on what those values mean to the company. This goes a long way toward earning the trust and support of your staff. The more visible your priorities are, the more likely your employees will make decisions with them in mind.

Communicate core values effectively

The most important part of getting the team on the same page in any endeavor is communication, sending your message. If the team doesn’t know what’s expected of them, you shouldn’t expect anything specific. Why would you? Communicating and reinforcing your beliefs through new hire orientations and team training ensures everyone understands their importance.

Make the training fun

Your values are inherently good things, so make sure the training is seen as a positive thing as well. Turning your training into team building and bonding sessions builds trust and camaraderie among members. The benefits of a unified team have a positive impact on every aspect of business and life.

Recognize those who exemplify core values

People love recognition. Even the most humble of us get a little flush when people take the time to express their gratitude. Those words of affirmation. It’s a love language. When you recognize people for living up to the principles so central to the company’s culture, you reinforce all the good behind them. Doing good is its own reward, but that little bit of recognition drives us to do good more often. It also underscores the importance of core values in the workplace.

Benefits of focusing on company core values

Once you identify the important things and put together a plan to get the team on the same page, you can expect to see some of the benefits pretty quickly. The more your company can exhibit examples of core values in the workplace, the more benefits you are likely to see.

Talent retention and acquisition

When your priorities are laid out from the start, employees can feel good about choosing to work for you. They know that important things to them are also vital to the company they work for. That’s a big deal. Many people leave their jobs each year to go to a company whose culture aligns more with their own. Be one of the companies that grows your talent pool, not one that shrinks it.

Employee engagement

A continuing focus on company core values through training and acknowledgment will keep your employees happy and engaged. We all do better when we know we are working toward the same goal. We also do better when we know what is expected of us and our natural responses are the correct ones. We feel comfortable doing our jobs, as we know the rest of the team has our backs.

Give clients a reason to want to do business with you

Think about why you are loyal to certain brands or why you like to frequent certain establishments. It probably has to do with a certain level of quality you expect from them. But why would you choose one quality product over another? At that level, it often comes down to what your company stands for. We like to support businesses we believe in. By making your business one that people can get behind, you set yourself apart from the competition.