Strong core muscles provide a source of stability and balance for the human body. The same fundamental principle of core strength is true for organizations and companies. From global corporations to boot-strapped start-ups, companies develop core values to structure, strengthen, and maintain their corporate vision.
Core values cannot simply be installed into the culture; they are as organic and soul-driven as the employees themselves. These principles are the standards that employees live by and are held accountable to. Clearly outlined values provide context for internal communications, as well as inspiration for external social responsibility. Overall, core values are the foundation of a company’s unique identity.
Core values serve four distinct purposes:
Compass: The core values guide the employees as they make internal and external decisions.
Origin: The core values support the company culture. They serve as a reiteration of the vision and mission of the organization.
Resource: The core values provide a benchmark for recruiting and evaluating employees. This concept gauges whether potential candidates are aligned with the company’s values. Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh emphasizes the importance of core values by incorporating them into the interview process to determine if the candidate is a cultural fit.
Empower: The core values enable employees to set goals that are parallel to the brand’s mission. These principles inspire each employee’s role and purpose which leads to an increase in workplace engagement.
Foundational principles are not developed by Googling synonyms for “integrity” and “respect.” Outlining and identifying core values should be a thoughtful, collective process, taking into account the history and individuality of the company. These essential principles inspire the culture of an organization, breathe life into the soul of the company, and, ultimately, contribute to its success.
In today’s rapidly-paced corporate environment, soft disciplines, as in the development of core values and fostering of company culture, are the first things dropped in exchange for double-booked meetings and full calendars. Chairman and CEO of Levi Strauss & Co, Robert Haas once said, “What we’ve learned is that the soft stuff and the hard stuff are becoming increasingly intertwined. A company’s values—what it stands for, what its people believe in—are crucial to its competitive success. Indeed, values drive the business.” Strong, relatable values should serve as a nucleus for every business decision the company makes and contributes to the interpersonal relationships of the employees.
What are some companies whose values inspire you?
Here’s a few of our favorites: