Core Company Values: What They Are and Why They Matter

Employee Time and Attendance
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Allie Blackham

Marketing Content Manager

In today’s business landscape, it’s critical for organizations to determine how to stand apart. Of course, the quality of products or services offered is part of that, but that’s not the only factor in establishing a distinct value proposition. Business owners must define what their companies stand for and how they operate. To fulfill this aim, leaders can establish a set of core company values.

What are Core Company Values?

Core company values are the fundamental principles and beliefs that guide the operations of a business and its overall brand messaging. Company leaders follow those values when making decisions that impact the business and its overall success. Serving as the foundation upon which a business is built, values also reflect its mission, culture, and vision. Employees, customers, and others who interact with the company can review the core business values and get a better sense of what it stands for and what to expect when interacting with it.

The Importance of Core Company Values

Core company values serve many purposes among business leaders, employees, customers, and potential customers. From a recruiting standpoint, establishing a set of values that drives business operations can demonstrate what the company stands for, which is appealing to today’s employees. An individual is more likely to remain loyal to their workplace if they feel the company’s goals and aims align with their own personal values.

By contrast, nearly half of American employees report considering leaving their company because it doesn’t match their values. More than half of workers wouldn’t consider a job with an organization if they didn’t agree with its values. Employee retention rates may suffer if a business doesn’t focus on its values.

The most important values for companies, according to the Qualtrics survey referenced above, are integrity and honesty. Next up is employee well-being, which contributes directly to morale and work-life balance. Since labor demands currently outweigh the number of people looking for work, employees have more say in where they choose to be employed. Job-seekers are more interested in workplaces that provide opportunities for fulfillment, both professionally and personally.

Failing to establish and adhere to a set of values can set a business up for trouble. Recruiting and retaining employees may become more challenging, and the business leaders may not adhere to shared beliefs when making decisions.

How to Establish or Refine Core Company Values

With a better understanding of the purpose of core company values, you can take steps to establish or refine your organization’s values. By following the tips outlined below, your business can create a set of values that represents its goals and plans for everyday operations.

Establish a mission statement first

A company mission statement is the first step in determining its purpose and what values will help it achieve that aim. Your mission statement should declare why the company exists and can serve as a jumping-off point for defining the core values. Think about what values are represented in your mission statement and determine how to translate those into core business values.

Talk to members of your workforce

If your company already has employees, it’s worth consulting with them to find out what they believe drives the organization. Use various methods, such as one-on-one interviews and group surveys, to get input on what they think is most important to include.

Consider the organizational culture

Establishing and adhering to company values plays a role in the overall culture of the business. But you should also think about the existing culture when establishing core values. If your company culture places a high value on team collaboration, one of the values might be teamwork. A business that’s working toward inclusion, diversity, or equity initiatives should incorporate this belief into its overall values.

Think about how to incorporate your values

Your work doesn’t end when you have a list of core company values in hand or posted on your business website. Rather, this is the time to figure out how to incorporate them into everyday tasks and processes. For example, if one of your business values focuses on innovation, think about how the leaders can be more open to new ideas and changes that improve the way the company interacts with its customer base. A company that establishes integrity as its core value should outline ways in which it’s ethical, honest, and transparent in its business interactions.

With the right approach, your business can establish and adhere to a set of core values that benefits it in the long run. When you take steps to achieve transparency around company values, your business may also become more appealing to potential customers and employees, establishing a shared sense of trust.

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