Core Values in Business
To better understand the importance of company core values, let’s consider Zappos as an example. Zappos is a company well-known for intentionally cultivating its (zany, creative) corporate culture to attract and retain committed staff and raving fans . To create its company culture, Zappos developed 10 core values (including “create fun and a little weirdness”), which it then incorporated into everything from staff job descriptions to hiring protocol to on-the-job training. By creating a value-based method of operations that’s obvious to everyone engaged with the company, Zappos now enjoys record success.
The importance of company core values
Strong company values are more important than ever. A business’ culture emerges as a result of its company values , impacting everything from the company’s staff retention to its bottom line. Consumers are increasingly concerned with the company values of the businesses they buy from, putting the pressure on giants like Ford, Disney and Starbucks to create social and environmental initiatives and leading to the growing popularity of brands like Burt’s Bees and Patagonia.
As a result, the importance of company core values cannot be overstated in any conversation on how to run a successful business . Strong company core values can help you reach younger audiences, enter new markets and continue to innovate and grow your business. Take action now and commit to cultivating your company values into every facet of your work, and you’ll develop the massive action plan you need to take your business to the next level.
What are the core values of a company?
Company core values also referred to as corporate core values, are the fundamental principles or philosophies that guide an organization’s business decisions. Rather than a set of rules, company core values are more akin to a mission statement by which the business prioritizes its values as they play out in the market. When formed and implemented properly, company values govern everything from internal affairs to external consumer relations.
Importance of company core values
What is the importance of company core values ? Forbes reports that more than half of executives agree that business core values influence all aspects of a business , including employee happiness and customer acquisition.
Company values and employee retention
Entrepreneur reports a powerful statistic on the impact of company core values on staff turnover : When a business’ core values fail to create a rich company culture, turnover spikes from just 14% to a whopping 48%. Company values create the intangible culture that defines your company, for better or for worse.
How to Identify Core Values for a Business
Core values are the foundation on which employees work and present themselves. By reflecting on existing values, culture, and goals, core values can be identified in a business.
Reflecting upon Existing Values and Culture
The first step in identifying core values in a business is to reflect on the values and culture presently in an organization. Values depict a sense of what is right and essential in a company, while culture depicts a collection of business processes and practices that make the work environment. By reflecting on these two aspects, it is possible to identify the factors dictating how stakeholders work together in realizing a common goal. The culture in a company can identify a core value like honesty or trust. If a company has a culture of openness and integrity, core values like honesty and trust can be determined.
Reflect Upon Goals
The process of reflection requires focusing on a particular aspect of something. When reflecting upon goals to identify core values, stakeholders are required to depict what values drive them to their objectives. For instance, a core value like accountability can be identified in the reflection of goals as stakeholders try to be responsible for ensuring that they meet their tasks in a company. A core value like respect can be identified as stakeholders establish roles for different individuals in the company.
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1. American Express
- Customer Commitment: We develop relationships that make a positive difference in our customers’ lives.
- Quality: We provide outstanding products and unsurpassed service that, together, deliver premium value to our customers.
- Integrity: We uphold the highest standards of integrity in all of our actions.
- Teamwork: We work together, across boundaries, to meet the needs of our customers and to help our Company win.
- Respect for People: We value our people, encourage their development and reward their performance.
- Good Citizenship: We are good citizens in the communities in which we live and work.
- A Will to Win: We exhibit a strong will to win in the marketplace and in every aspect of our business.
- Personal Accountability: We are personally accountable for delivering on our commitments.
American Express doesn’t just hit the bare minimum when it comes to polite, helpful customer service — they go above-and-beyond to solve for their customers, even when there’s no protocol in place.
For instance, Raymond Joabar, the Executive Vice President at American Express, recently told this story in a Forbes interview: "One time, a hotel café manager [an Amex merchant] alerted my team that he had accidentally sold a display cake with harmful chemicals and needed to find the customers before they ate it. Obviously, there’s no procedure for that, but our team took ownership of the problem. They gathered all the information they could from the record of charge, identified 21 Card Members who used their cards at the café during that time frame, reviewed the accounts to find the right match, and then called the Card Member in time before they served the cake at an anniversary party."
"The important point here," Joabar noted, "other than that everybody ended up safe and sound — is that there isn’t a script for every situation, so we empower our care professionals to do what’s right for the customer. And we recognize what they do with this empowerment as well. We give awards to employees who go above and beyond to help customers and we share their stories across the company."
Why you need company core values
Translation? If you want more customers, better performance, and higher revenue, you need to have a purpose driven culture of engaged employees. And this cannot happen without established core values. Here’s why:
For most companies, each department has its own unique profile. The sales team has a different mindset from the web team. Content marketers have a different focus from product marketers. But like a human being, separate systems are needed in order for the whole to operate properly.
Core values are department-agnostic, serving as the common thread that brings everyone together to create one collective “us.” Unified operation translates into output that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Make better decisions
Businesses are run by great minds that don’t always think alike—diversity of perspectives is important. But that also means there will be moments of disagreement. When faced with predicaments and tough decisions, company core values can serve as an objective, true north compass to an agreed-upon best course of action.
Gain a competitive edge (in marketing and hiring)
Every company is made up of individuals with unique skill sets and personalities. While KPIs bring skill sets together to accomplish tangible goals, company core values bring personalities together to create a firm identity. A firm identity gives way to better branding which gives a business its competitive edge in both marketing and recruiting.
A truly core-value-based company facilitates, encourages, and recognizes demonstrations of those values among its employees. With a clear picture on what their company stands for and the positive outcomes this brings, employees are inspired to take meaningful action that goes beyond KPIs and metrics—leading to more fulfillment and engagement (not to mention more success for the company).
Examples of Common Company Values
You won’t find several companies with the exact same set of values. However, there are some company values we see more often than others. They are employee and customer-centric and they include:
- Customer Experience
- Result oriented
- Constant Improvement
- Hard work
- Employee Development
- Collaboration and Partnership