Core values. They are the values we live by each day and they make us who we are. I'm sure you could easily define your own personal core values by describing yourself. But what about your companies core values? Are they purposeful or do they sound like a compilation of stock words that are easily forgotten (innovative, adaptability, commitment, etc.). From my experience in the work place company core values are valueless because they sound more like business phrases.
Digging Deeper into Company Core Values
My Experience with Company Core Values
I'd like to think I'm fortunate to have worked for a small company, then a large Fortune 500 company and am now self employed. It's given me insight into the nature of all types of businesses. But did I really pay attention to those companies values? Well, as far as I can remember I don't recall the small company I worked for having any core values. Now granted I was just out of college and I may not have been looking for them but still it's sadenning to think that I never knew what that company stood for. As for the large company they had core values and they were strategically placed as my desktop background but, as embarrassed as I am to say this, the only word I can remember is integrity. I think there were at least six core values listed but they didn't resonate with me.
Why Are Company Core Values Important?
I'm not shining a great light on the topic am I. If no one cares about them then why have them at all? The answer is because a great company needs great people. Good values foster good employees. They give them a standard for the workplace and a sense of purpose rather than just going to work to make money. This is an important step not to overlook when branding your company. Think of them as the soul to your business and try looking at your companies core values as you would your personal values.
Core Values with Meaning
I stumbled upon Wegman's (Food Market) core value statement. It reads:
Caring, High Standards, Making a Difference, Respect, and Empowerment
These terms are more than just a business phrase. These values resonate with their employees personal values. Values they live by everyday.
Another great example is from Zappos. They have a top 10 core value list that has received much attention from the media:
- 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
I love the personal touch Zapper's leadership team gave this list. Their values sound well-thought-out and sincere.
Writing Your Companies Values
So you see, you don't have to just list words as your core values. Make it meaningful. Approach writing your companies values as something you want to do, not something you have to do. I can't stress thing enough, think about how your values resonate with your employees (or if you're a solopreneur how they describe you). Also, think about the customers you want to attract and how the values you've set entice those customers to do business with you.
Good luck! I'd love to hear your core values. Share below!