Core values are an important moral element of life, and they can be adopted by individual people and entire organizations. Personal core values help you streamline decision making by providing direction. Decisions and actions become easier when they’re aligned with your core values.
However, core values can also translate to businesses, and it’s actually very important that they do.
What Are Company Core Values?
Company values act similarly to personal, but on a much larger scale. They’re the principles by which your entire organization lives, breathes, and functions. With companies, core values are kind of a “sum of its parts” kind of deal.
In order for a company to truly embody each of its core values, every employee needs to follow them, and their collective devotion is what maintains the core of the company.
Your company core values play a vital role in your business growth plan because following them will largely determine how you move toward your goals.
The Role of Core Values In Your Organization
Core values play a significant role in how a company is run – they guide the business’s actions while defining the brand and uniting employees.
Core values essentially shape your company culture, as they ultimately determine what is most important to your business. They act as a criteria by which companies hire and fire people, and they ensure accountability from every team and every individual.
They also show stakeholders the direction in which your companies moves, and help teams steer through tough decisions during times of conflict and crisis.
What do all of these points have in common? They all revolve around making decisions – which is what core values helps you do both personally and on an organizational scale.
How to Determine Strong Values for Your Company
Developing company values should always be a team effort, and there are several ways to do it.
Put together a group of leaders and high ranking employees who you want to involve in building out your values, and brainstorm a list of all the important values that might be relevant to your company.
In order to spark brainstorming, try asking and answering a series of questions either to the group or individually.
- What are your greatest strengths?
- What do you truly stand for?
- What values do you adhere to when obstacles rise?
- What are the top three to five behaviors you expect from every team member?
Once you have a list together, then work together to eliminate the less essential values, and narrow the list down to a final set between five and 10.
If you need help whittling down your list, determine what is essential to your environment and what behaviors you encourage your team to stand by.
Once you have a strong set of values, test if each one serves a purpose with this checklist:
The Ultimate List of 50 Sample Core Values
Core values should be structured using powerful key terms that define their value. That being said, sometimes this is easier said than done. To help you out, we’ve put together the ultimate list of 50 sample core values that you can use for your own.
Take accountability for the work you do, both the good and the bad. It builds better teams and a stronger, more reliable company.
Team members should always strive to achieve their goals and knock them out of the park.
“Adapt or die” is a commonly used phrase throughout society, but it’s also a powerful survival and success strategy for businesses.
A healthy amount of ambition keeps each team member and the entire company moving forward to continually strive for achievement.
Understanding the environment within which you operate and being able to anticipate important events, such as market shifts, technological developments, and even pitfalls, will help you to stay a step ahead of the tides.
Never underestimate the importance of appreciating your gifts and the success you have been able to achieve due to the work of each and every team member and your loyal customers.
Authenticity within your work is both refreshing and encouraging when building trust with clients.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance ensures for happier, more productive employees and an overall more positive working environment.
Building an inclusive environment to create a sense of belonging both with your employees and customers makes your brand – and the whole world, really – a better, more friendly and accessible place.
Sometimes, being bold can take you great distances in achieving your goals, and even staying true to who you are. Boldness is often rewarded.
Striving for brilliance in everything you do is an admirable value that often leads to your efforts paying off.
Character is everything. An individual’s character embodies everything about who they are as a person – just as it does with an organization.
Fostering a sense of community both within your work environment and throughout the greater reach of your brand creates a more inviting, positive space.
Effective collaboration is at the core of functioning and succeeding as a team, and as a company as a whole.
Each team member should be making a valuable contribution to the team, the goal you’re looking to achieve, and the overall organization.
Encouraging creativity within work is how ideas are born. Creativity builds success by driving companies – and our greater society – forward into the future.
Commitment to your work, your team, your company, and your customers enables you to deliver the very best products and service.
Strong communication is key to a healthy, thriving organization. It allows you to listen and engage with your audience, as well as within the teams that operate your company.
If you don’t have confidence in your own work and products, then neither will your customers. Inspire by leading.
Maintaining composure under pressure and in challenging, heated situations helps you navigate through trials toward a resolution and overall success.
Speaking with conviction about your products, services, and overall industry will establish you as a thought leader and bring authority to your knowledge base throughout your audience.
The ability to decide and act in any situation keeps your team and overall company from becoming paralyzed in indecision – a deadly risk in the business world.
Working diligently ensures that your team takes well thought out steps and always puts careful considerations into their work. It’s the core of detail-oriented work.
Discipline can be an important tool in any industry, as it is the root of self control and ultimately good work habits.
No job comes without appropriate duties to fulfill. It may sound like a formal term, but taking on each and every one of your role responsibilities is what makes for valuable employees and a valuable organization.
Prioritizing education for each and every team member, as well as your customers, puts you at the forefront of your industry and drives the entire organization toward improvement.
Maintaining determination through even the most challenging work is one of the key pillars to building toward your goals.
It’s important to encourage every individual team member – whether it’s praise for a job well done, or some motivational words to give them a boost during a setback. Encouragement can go a long way in driving your team toward success.
Ethics takes the lead when it comes to values that determine decisions and actions. Business ethics has been a hotly debated topic for many years.
This might be a given, but people want to work with and buy from companies who are experts in their field. Nobody ever voluntarily chooses second-best. Neither should you.
Being fair to your employees and customers creates a positive work environment and customer experience. Something as simple as reasonable benefits is a great way to create fairness throughout your company.
Generosity goes a long way in making the world a better place, and it’s a great way to foster loyalty within your team and customers.
Prioritizing growth is one of the most important pillars for success within organizations. Additionally, encouraging personal and career-oriented growth within each individual employee makes for a stronger overall company.
Happiness is a hugely underrated value that makes an impactful difference in all areas of business, from overall employee happiness to customer satisfaction.
35. Hard Work
Nothing gets done without hard work. Goals are never met with mediocre effort, and if they are, you’re not reaching far enough.
People value honesty through all walks of life. Transparency within your company’s teams and between your organization and your customers builds trust and makes for a stronger, more communicative business.
Similar to generosity, good hospitality simply makes the world a better place. Receiving people in a friendly manner and welcoming them into your space makes for a more inclusive environment.
There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your achievements and what you can offer to your customers, but humility goes a long way in maintaining a classy, respectable reputation throughout your industry.
Innovation is the core of fresh ideation. Being innovative not only allows you to be ahead of the game – it allows you to lead it.
Kindness in all things you do can make a major difference in how people respond and interact with you. It’s one of the most important elements of creative a positive work experience, and an overall satisfying customer experience.
Nothing is ever achieved without motivation. The ability to keep your eye on the prize as a means to drive you forward through your work is a powerful one.
The world of business can be a challenging and sometimes disheartening environment. During these times, maintaining an optimistic outlook will enable you to tap into a productive mindset to keep moving forward.
There’s no two ways about it – being passionate about your work leads to happier employees and better results.
Remember that age old phrase “patience is a virtue”? That is applicable in pretty much every corner of life, but especially in business. Patience with yourself, with your employees, your customers, even sometimes the frustrating system of how businesses must be run will allow you to maintain composure and focus on what’s really important.
Living up to one’s potential is one of the greatest achievements a person can strive for, so why wouldn’t it be the same for an overall organization? Build your team and your company to be the best that they can be.
Productivity is one of the most important elements to achieving your goals and reaching your potential. An unproductive workplace won’t get much done, and will likely miss deadlines and quotas.
You’ve probably heard it a million times – focus on quality over quantity. It’s better to produce a small amount of highly valuable work, than a large amount of effectively useful work. This is strongly applicable to pretty much any situation in which a company is providing a product or service to a customer.
Reliability is one of the most important methods through which you retain customers and foster brand loyalty.
Respect isn’t just important within business, it’s a key pillar of our overall society. Respect for one another makes for a functional, positive world. Without it, things tend to fall into chaos. So why wouldn’t it be the same within a company?
Deadlines are one of the most important elements within business. If you’re constantly missing your deadlines, then you likely have an unhappy leadership team, investors, and a whole gaggle of unhappy customers.
The Best Examples of Company Core Values
Company core values are more than just lip service. They steer the entire direction of an organization, and there's plenty of top performing companies that exhibit their values in everything they do.
The world's leading search engine and technology company keeps their values fairly simple, as outlined in their philosophy, 10 Things We Know to Be True.
- “Focus on the user and all else will follow.”
- “It’s better to do one thing really, really well.”
- “Fast is better than slow.”
- “Democracy on the web works.”
- “You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.”
- “You can make money without doing evil.”
- “There’s always more information out there.”
- “The need for information crosses all borders.”
- “You can be serious without a suit.”
- “Great just isn’t good enough.”
2. Ben & Jerry’s
Everyone's favorite ice cream brand has established itself since the late 70s by creating consistently delicious flavors. Their values are built around a three part mission that steers their decision making – their product mission, their economic mission, and their social mission.
- “Minimize our negative impact on the environment.”
- “Show a deep respect for human beings inside and outside our company and for communities in which they live.”
- “Seek and support nonviolent ways to achieve peace and justice. We believe our government resources are more productively used in meeting human needs than in building and maintaining weapons systems.”
- “Create economic opportunities for those who have been denied them and to advance new models of economic justice that are sustainable and replicable.”
- “Support sustainable and safe methods of food production that reduce environmental degradation, maintain the productivity of the land over time, and support the viability of family farms and rural communities.”
3. Whole Foods
Self-proclaimed "America's Healthiest Store" built their empire on clear, impactful core values.
- “Sell the highest quality natural and organic foods.”
- “Satisfy and delight customers.”
- “Promote team member growth and happiness.”
- “Practice win-win partnerships with suppliers.”
- “Create profits and prosperity.”
- “Care about our community and the environment.”
This leading website builder and hosting company has exploded in popularity, and a lot of their rapid growth is thanks to their straightforward values.
- “Be your own customer.”
- “Empower individuals.”
- “Design is not a luxury.”
- “Good work takes time.”
- “Optimize toward ideals.”
This massive online retailer stands tall thanks to their strong commitment to servicing their customers, which is guided by their set of 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.”
The coffee shop on every corner made it there by putting their strong values into action.
- “Create a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.”
- “Act with courage, challenge the status quo and find new ways to grow our company and each other.”
- “Be present, connect with transparency, dignity, and respect.”
- “Deliver our very best in all we do, hold ourselves accountable for all results.”
The best alternative to hotels, this online marketplace is founded on simple, straightforward set of values.
- “Champion the mission.”
- “Be a host.”
- “Embrace the adventure.”
- “Be a cereal entrepreneur.”
The top name in online vintage marketplace makes it simple with their values to deliver excellent customer experiences.
- “We commit to our craft.”
- “We minimize waste.”
- “We embrace differences.”
- “We dig deeper.”
- “We lead with optimism.”
The leading name in business software empowers their employees with a strong set of values to delight their customers.
- “We commit maniacally to both our mission and metrics.”
- “We look to the long-term and solve for the customer.”
- “We share openly and are remarkably transparent.”
- “We favor autonomy and take ownership.”
- “We believe our best perk is amazing people.”
- “We dare to be different and question the status quo.”
- “We recognize that life is short.”
Since the early 80s, this company laid the foundation with their core values and are now the ultimate software company.
- “Genuine: sincere, trustworthy, and reliable.”
- “Exceptional: committed to creating exceptional experiences that delight our employees and customers.”
- “Innovative: highly creative and always striving to connect new ideas with business realities.”
- “Involved: inclusive, open, and actively engaged with our customers, partners, employees, and the communities we serve.”
Their flagship product is their most well-known product, but this company does so much more, and that growth is a thanks to living by their values.
- “Leadership: the courage to shape a better future.”
- “Collaboration: leverage collective genius.”
- “Integrity: be real.”
- “Accountability: if it is to be, it’s up to me.”
- “Passion: committed in heart and mind.”
- “Diversity: as inclusive as our brands.”
- “Quality: what we do, we do well.”
12. Warby Parker
A leading online retailer for glasses is driven by four simple core values, which is what laid the foundation for their massive growth over the last few years.
- “Treat customers the way we’d like to be treated.”
- “Create an environment where employees can think big, have fun, and do good.”
- “Get out there.”
- “Green is good.”
13. Teach for America
This nonprofit is driven by mobilizing future leaders, and their values pave the road for success.
- “Pursue equity.”
- “Strengthen community.”
- “Achieve impact.”
- “Choose courage.”
- “Act with humility.”
- “Demonstrate resilience.”
- “Learn continuously.”
Animal welfare is the top mission of this nonprofit, an ambitious goal that makes the world a better place.
- “Commitment: dedicated to improving the lives of animals.”
- “Ownership: responsible for the outcome.”
- “Team: stronger together.”
- “Elevate: reimagine what is possible.”
- “Impact: making change for animals.”
15. American Eagle
Founded on five specific value areas, this top clothing brand thrives on an empowered, passionate culture.
- “PEOPLE - The vitality of our company resides in people: our associates, our customers and our partners. We value and respect different backgrounds, unique talents and eclectic tastes; they strengthen our ability to succeed. We care about our associates: we empower them, we reward them. We give back generously to the communities where we work and play.”
- “INTEGRITY - We keep our promises. We hold ourselves accountable to the highest standards and we do the right thing. We wisely measure and manage risk. In the face of difficulties and challenges, we don’t compromise. We are polite and professional—always.”
- “PASSION - Our passion infuses our actions with purpose. It transforms stores into places of energy and customer delight. Our offices, design center and distribution centers hum with energy, activity and enthusiasm. We collaborate. We engage. We adhere to a keen sense of detail.”
- “INNOVATION - We operate in a dynamic and competitive industry. We are curious, enterprising and resourceful. Our associates embody entrepreneurial spirit, develop creative solutions and initiate change. We continually refine the unique processes that drive our business, and we use insightful research and analysis to balance our instinct and to guide our decisions.”
- “TEAMWORK - We work together: listening to one another, reaching consensus and supporting group decisions. We celebrate achievements. Because we respect and trust one another and commit ourselves to our company goals, our teamwork succeeds.”
One of leaders of conversational marketing technology didn't earn their place through luck; they built a strong culture with a foundation of awesome values.
- “Put the customer at the center of everything you do.”
- “Create a culture of respect and trust.”
- “Practice extreme ownership.”
- “Have a bias for action and deliver daily results.”
- “Seek feedback, not consensus.”
- “Push for high standards.”
- “Stay scrappy and frugal.”
- “Be a curious learning machine.”
A leading voice in the SEO world, this company continues to dominate as a tech company, thanks to their principles.
- “Transparent: we believe open, accessible information is the best way to help others.”
- “Authentic: we believe in being the same people we are online and offline, in the office and outside of it.”
- “Generous: we will over-deliver when we can, providing our community and our customers with more than their money’s worth.”
- “Fun: we strive to take the work of marketing more enjoyable and not take ourselves too seriously.”
- “Empathetic: Moz is a safe place where we work to see things from other people’s perspectives.”
- “Exceptional: the exception to the rule, we will avoid the assumption that existing norms are the right path.”
The best place for affordable furniture and Swedish meatballs, they built an enthusiastic community, thanks to their culture.
- “Humbleness and willpower.”
- “Leadership by example.”
- “Daring to be different.”
- “Togetherness and enthusiasm.”
- “Constant desire for renewal.”
- “Accept and delegate responsibility.”
Thier mission of making work life simpler is founded on simplicity in the way they communicate what their company is built on. As you can see, they keep their core values simple too.
Ok, we are a little biased here, but our core values guide everything we do to ensure that we are helping clients transform the way they market, sell, and service their customers.
- "Treat everyone with respect, honesty, and consideration."
- "Everything we do must be awesome."
- "Do the right thing."
- "Take ownership. Be self motivated. Be reliable."
- "Be passionate and have a positive “can do” attitude."
Set Your Course With Company Core Values
Company values steer the ship of your business in both your day-to-day operations and your long-term, big picture growth strategy. So what drives your organization?