Core values are critical to your company’s success. They affect your operations, how you recruit and retain your talent, how you market your product and services, as well as how you treat your customers. Like a compass, they guide the direction of your business and everyday decision-making of your team.
So core values must be more than just words on the wall. They need to define WHO you are, WHY you do what you do, and HOW you act in good times, and especially in bad times. Not only should your employees be able to articulate them, they should be able see it consistently in action – whether that’s how employees are promoted and recognized, how your supply chain is managed, or how customer issues are resolved.
The 4 DOs in Defining your Company’s Core Values
Whether you are establishing your company’s core values for the first time or refreshing your existing core values to better align with your growing and changing business. Here are four must-DOs:
- Invite all or a diverse representation of your team to share their ideas. Brainstorm and write down all ideas without judgment.
- Group the ideas into common themes and have your leadership team think about which ones resonate most with them.
- When you have too many on your list, ask the question “Which of these couldn’t you live without?”
- Language matters. Use simple, human, action-oriented words – especially verbs.
To help you jumpstart this process, here are 79 powerful examples of company core values to inspire you to create your own.
79 Powerful Examples of Core Values
- Warrior Spirit
- Servant’s Heart
- Fun-LUVing Attitude
- Low Costs
- Safety and Reliability
- Friendly Customer Service
- Quality: Pursuit of ever-greater quality in everything we do.
- Integrity: Relationships built on integrity and respect.
- Environmentalism: Serve as a catalyst for personal and corporate action.
- Not Bound by Convention: Our success – and much of the fun – les in developing innovating ways to do things.
Patagonia blew their own whistle on human rights abuse within their own manufacturing chain. They even turned their values into a bold advertising campaign to admit their failings and educate consumers on environmental bankruptcy.
- Open Hiring
- Embracing Uncertainty
- Loving Action
Founded in 1982 by Buddhist monk Bernie Glassman, his intention is to solve serious social issues, specifically poverty and high unemployment rates, in Southwest Yonkers by employing the “unemployable”. Check out their Open Hiring practices.
- Be Incredible
- Keep Score
- Take Responsibility
- Think Different
- Little Things Matter
- Impact Your Community
- Imagining the Impossible
- Family is Important
- Make Your Mark
- Failure is an Option
Hear what Lefties have to say about how these company values are woven into their every day lives.
- Care Deeply
- Embrace Accountability
- Champion Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
- Promote Open, Authenic Communication
- Seek Simplicity
- Solve Hard Problems
- Celebrate Change
Learn from the collaborative process Sprout’s team went through to refresh their core values.
- We Are H.U.S.T.L.E
- Culture then Product then Revenue
- Communicate Openly and with Transparency
- Create Great Experiences
- Be Valuable, Relevant and Consistent
- Give Back
- Choose positivity
- Default to transparency
- Focus on Self-Improvement
- Be a no-ego doer
- Listen first, then listen more
- Communicate with clarity
- Make time to reflect
- Live smarter, not harder
- Show gratitude
- Do the right thing
Buffer’s 10th value is the newest of their ten values. Here’s Joel Gascoigne (CEO, Buffer) first proposing “Do the right thing” to his team.
Zappos Core Values
- Deliver WOW Through Service
- Embrace and Drive Change
- Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
- Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
- Pursue Growth and Learning
- Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
- Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
- Do More With Less
- Be Passionate and Determined
- Be Humble
Did you know? Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, was initially reluctant to have formal core values thinking that it was a “very corporate thing to do”. Today, it is indispensible to how they scale and grow their business.
- We are a movement
- We will be Entrepreneurial
- We expect a lot from each other
- We are committed to a long-term vision
Hootsuite’s Engineering Team Core Values
- #NoBS: We are open, genuine, egoless and transparent.
- #GoFarTogether: We do our best work as a global team by putting the team’s success over our own.
- #LearnOutLoud: We learn by sharing knowledge, seeking new challenges, and reflecting on failures.
- #DataInformed: We care about our impact…and we measure it.
- #Enabled: We all have the power to create change.
- #CustomerSuperheroes: We design and build for our users.
Hootsuite’s Engineering team took it a step further and created their Engineering Team’s Core Values that are aligned with the company’s overall core values.
Two Men and a Truck Core Values
- Give back to the Community
- Be your best and have fun
- The Grandma Rule
- Core values are important to the successful growth of your company. They impact critical everyday decisions from hiring and marketing, to building customer and supply chain relationships
- Defining company core values is only the first step. To truly “own” your core values, make it a part of your employees’ daily experiences (ie. hiring conversations, staff meetings, recognition)
- Check-in with your team members every so often to understand whether your stated core values are aligned with their daily experiences. Ask questions like “Do you believe our core value of X is aligned to our company culture?” Learn how Perked! can help you with core values alignment.