Organizational values are the core principles and beliefs that guide an organization's decision-making and actions.
They form the foundation of an organization's culture and identity, shaping how it conducts business, interacts with its stakeholders, and achieves its goals.
As we'll discuss, when properly operationalized, they can become a key source of strength.
Company Values Examples
Some useful examples of company values examples include:
- Integrity: Upholding honesty, transparency, and ethical practices in all dealings.
- Innovation: Encouraging creativity and new ideas to drive progress.
- Transparency: Ensuring openness and clarity in communication and actions.
- Respect: Treating everyone with dignity and valuing their contributions.
- Customer focus: Prioritizing customer needs and striving for their satisfaction.
- Excellence: Committing to high standards in all aspects of work.
- Accountability: Taking responsibility for actions and outcomes.
- Diversity and inclusion: Embracing and valuing diverse perspectives and backgrounds.
- Sustainability: Promoting environmentally friendly practices and long-term ecological balance.
- Quality: Delivering products and services of the highest quality.
- Initiative: Encouraging employees to take initiative and make decisions.
- Community involvement: Engaging with and contributing to the local community.
- Learning and development: Fostering continuous personal and professional growth.
- Efficiency: Striving for optimal and resourceful workflow.
- Safety: Prioritizing the health and safety of employees and customers.
- Trust: Building and maintaining trust with stakeholders.
- Collaboration: Working together with partners and teams for better outcomes.
- Balance: Promoting work-life balance for employees.
- Humility: Maintaining modesty and openness to feedback.
- Honesty: Being courageous enough to always tell the truth.
- Ownership: Taking charge, showing initiative, and treating the organization's goals and objectives as your own.
- Accountability: taking responsibility for actions, decisions, and results.
- Equity: Ensuring equal opportunities for all.
- Social responsibility: Acting in a way that benefits society at large.
- Continuous improvement: Always seeking ways to improve processes and skills.
- Boldness: Being courageous and taking calculated risks.
- Fun: Encouraging a joyful and positive work environment.
- Adaptability: Always being open to new ideas and ways of working.
- Impact: Always focusing on work that will create the most impact.
- Empathy: Understanding and sharing the feelings of others.
- Global perspective: Recognizing and valuing global diversity and interconnectivity.
5 Key Elements Of Company Values
Use these principles to help you develop core values that are unique to your organization and effectively drive desired behaviors.
- Relevance: Values should be closely aligned with the company's mission, vision, and business strategy. They should reflect the specific context and needs of the organization and its stakeholders.
- Clarity and simplicity: Values should be easy to understand and devoid of complex jargon or vague statements. Clear values are more likely to be remembered and acted upon by employees.
- Authenticity: Values should genuinely reflect the beliefs and practices of the organization. They need to be authentic and deeply ingrained in the company's identity.
- Actionable: Effective values are actionable and provide clear guidance on what is expected from employees in their daily work and interactions.
- Inspirational and aspirational: Good values should inspire employees and give them something to strive towards. They should foster a sense of pride and commitment to the organization.
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 at 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 serial entrepreneur
- Embrace the adventure.
Summarized, these core values describe an organization that’s 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.
As one of tech's 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.
Its 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.
How To Implement Your Core Values
- Clear definition and regular communication
- Start by clearly defining what each value means in the context of the organization.
- Use various channels like internal newsletters, meetings, and intranet to consistently communicate these values.
- Share stories of how employees’ actions have exemplified the core values.
- Leadership sets an example
- Leaders should lead with the values by exemplifying them in their behavior and decision-making.
- Incorporate values into organizational processes
- Recruitment: Integrate core values into the hiring process. Assess candidates for alignment with these values.
- Onboarding: Include an introduction to core values in the onboarding process for new employees.
- Performance management: Evaluate employee performance not just based on job skills but also on how they embody core values.
- Recognition and rewards:
- Acknowledge alignment: Recognize and reward employees who demonstrate the core values in their work.
- Create incentives: Establish rewards or recognition programs that celebrate value-driven achievements.
- External engagement: Extend the values to the organization's interaction with the community and stakeholders.
Value Your Company Values
“Values, when they're operationalized, can become an organization's biggest source of strength.” - Tanya Schecter, Founder and COO, HTI Institute
Organizations that take the time to define and enshrine clear corporate values build strong foundations for growth and create a positive employee experience.
Our podcast, How To Bring Your Organizational Values To Life, is a great listen to help you develop and operationalize your values.
Join The People Managing People Community
For further support developing and implementing your values, join our supportive community of HR and business leaders sharing knowledge and expertise to help you progress in your career and make greater impact in your organization.
Why are company values important?
If thoughtfully created and lived by, company values help guide decision-making, drive desired behaviors, shape the organizational culture, enhance employee engagement and alignment, and drive performance and productivity.
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.