Organizational values are an underlying factor in how a business operates and its overall corporate culture, including managing employees, creating customer experiences, and making important decisions.
About 80% of Fortune 100 companies publicly list their core values, but many stick to cookie-cutter ideals that fail to accurately describe their organization.
Below, we've included an overview of company values as well as organizational values examples from 8 leading companies.
What are company values?
Company values, which are sometimes very similar to company culture, refer to a set of core philosophies that guide an organization's mission, culture, and vision. Often related to cultural aspects such as business growth, accountability, and customer and employee relations, company values support a healthy corporate culture and distinguish organizations from their competitors.
Company values should support the scenario its vision statement describes. For instance, if an organization's vision statement describes a scenario of social responsibility, its values might relate to ownership, environmental impact, and activism. Strong core values are specific, memorable, and simple, and should accurately describe and evolve with an organization over time. In short, each company value should be a guiding principle.
Some examples of company values include:
- Customer service
Why are company values important?
When used in conjunction with a strong organizational culture, carefully crafted organizational values give businesses a strong foundation for growth and development. Some impacts and advantages of core values include:
- Giving employees purpose: Surveys show that 70% of employees feel their purpose is largely defined by work, and 75.5% agree that core values are important in the workplace. Values give organizations and employees a code to live by, improving employee engagement, productivity, and the bottom line.
- Describing your organization: Crafting a company identity through values not only tells customers, clients, and employees what it stands for, but also how it stands apart from its competitors.
- Fostering teamwork: Values unite employees for a shared purpose and common goal, unlocking teamwork and fostering collaboration.
- Improving cultural alignment: Organizations with strong values and culture naturally attract and retain like-minded employee pools.
- Optimizing decision-making: Aligning the values and goals of organizational leaders can help streamline the decision-making process.
Who's responsible for formulating the company values?
The responsibility for creating company values falls on the senior leadership team and the organization's HR leader, and it's also their responsibility to model them too.
This way, other team members will mirror their behavior (and should also be recognized and rewarded for doing so). This is how values become a genuine part of the organization, not just empty words.
7 organizational values examples from top companies
We'll now delve into some of the values of successful organizations and how living them has contributed to their success.
Comcast, like many other companies, lists integrity as one of its main values, along with the statement, "It's as simple as doing what's right and treating people the right way."
Comcast's other values are similarly simple, describing its values of entrepreneurial spirit, respect, and giving back. It demonstrates how simplicity is an effective tactic when backed up with action, such as its significant investments in initiatives to promote inclusivity, sustainability, and accessibility.
Comcast's goal to promote inclusivity and accessibility culminated in Project UP. With a commitment of $1 billion, one of the project's goals is to provide affordable Internet to tens of millions of users.
CEO Brian Chesky established the company's core values in the beginning of its founding. He believes that values such as integrity, honesty, and other common values are defaults that everyone should possess, and instead encourages people to look deeper and understand what values are unique to them.
Airbnb's values are:
- Champion the mission
- Be a host
- Be a cereal entrepreneur
- Embrace the adventure.
Summarized, these core values describe an organization that is dedicated to its mission, hospitable by nature, curious and eager to grow, and determined to make its goals a reality.
Airbnb's values directly relate to its responsible hosting initiative, which reminds hosts of the importance of safety while also providing them with advice and guidelines. This helps ensure a relatively consistent experience for guests across the world.
One of tech's major global leaders, Microsoft, is known for its innovative and human-centered culture. As a large company with many initiatives and communities to manage, Microsoft keeps its philosophies simple.
Their three core values are:
- Respect: We recognize that the thoughts, feelings, and backgrounds of others are as important as our own.
- Integrity: We are honest, ethical, and trustworthy.
- Accountability: We accept full responsibility for our decisions, actions, and results.
On the subject of integrity and accountability, Microsoft actively monitors all of its supplier facilities to ensure sourcing is done responsibly. This also applies to their zero tolerance of forced labor, to which the company holds itself and its suppliers accountable for ensuring human rights are respected throughout the supply chain.
Launched in 1998, the yoga-clothing brand Lululemon has become a successful and dominant company. Targeting its fun-loving customer demographic with the header "our best life," Lululemon's core values are:
- Personal responsibility
Backing up its commitment to inclusion, Lululemon has committed to promote diversity with some key actions:
- Using its brand voice to fight for change.
- Focus on diversity among its employees.
- Expand Inclusion, Diversity and Equity training.
- Investing $5M a year in the company's internal Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Action fund.
As one of the world's most recognized athletic brands, Nike's company values reflect the organization's commitments and responsibilities. Its core values are:
- Accomplish more together
- Have a positive impact
- Make it even better
- Have a good idea and be bold
- Be the best person you can be
With $97.7 million contributed toward positive impacts in 2021, it's invested in building communities and supporting athletes of all backgrounds.
Like Microsoft, Apple is a tech giant with simple but effective values. On its website, each core value is followed by a link to related resources.
Apple's organizational values are:
- Accessibility: Technology is most powerful when everyone can make their mark.
- Environment: Our goal is to leave the planet better than we found it.
- Privacy: We design Apple products to protect your privacy and give you control over your information.
- Supplier responsibility: We believe in a safe, respectful, and supportive workplace for everyone.
Not only is privacy one of Apple's core values, it's also something the company considers to be a fundamental human right. As such, Apple products are designed to protect a user's privacy.
Whether it be through the ability to lock photos in a private album, transparency on which apps actually track you or even the Safari web browser that keeps trackers away from you, Apple builds its products with privacy in mind.
As one of the largest companies in the world with many brands, Coca-Cola has a major impact on its employees and communities. Its social impact page lists initiatives such as gender diversity, human rights policies, and supplier diversity, showing how it exemplifies its values.
Its core values list includes:
- 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
In terms of diversity, Coca-Cola created Employee Inclusion Networks. These are employee-led resources for both the company itself and its employees. Officially recognized by the company, the goal is to create a sense of allyship while helping diverse voices be heard.
Value Your Company Values
Organizations that take the time to define and enshrine clear corporate values do so to build strong foundations for growth and to create positive employee experience.
Some further resources: