Business core values tell your customers who you are. They show potential clients the way you envision your business to be. Good values chart the path between where you are as a company and where you’re going. They show how the company thinks about itself and reflects on its own status, as well as the direction that the company is hoping to go.
Core values help a company by creating a clear direction for its growth. Coming up with business core values should be a reflection of what is already going on with the company, as well as a vision for where the company should be looking to develop.
Let’s take a look at some things to consider when creating business core values for your company.
Why are Core Values Important?
Core values communicate the identity of a business, institution, or brand to an audience. While you may know your business intimately and what it stands for, most people that are just beginning to engage with you don’t know these things. You can begin to communicate the identity and brand of your company through your core values. They tell people what you care about and what big ideas inform the operations of your business.
What is Business Value?
The values of your business should be a reflection of both what is already going on within your company culture, and what you want to be going on in your company culture. Draw a line between where you are and where you want to be, and invite people to join you on that journey.
If you’re honest about where your company is and where it seeks to be, you’ll tell a compelling story about a journey that invites people into your company’s life and space. For example, you could demonstrate that you value “authenticity” or “honesty” by sharing authentically and honestly.
When you describe your business’s core values, describe both the struggles that your company faces in that (“it can be hard to get people to bring their whole selves to the workplace”) and the value that you find in it (“we find that authenticity makes us and our workplace more creative, happier, and healthier”).
All your core values should work together to tell a story about your brand. For example, you might have three core values: build great products, care about customers, and make people happier. These core values all work together to tell the story that you care about the happiness of your customers and build great products to satisfy that happiness.
Using Core Values
Core values are useful during the hiring process to determine candidates that will be a right fit for your job. Using the right kinds of soft skill questions can help you determine whether or not a candidate is a good fit for the position. When hiring, make sure you get a big enough list of candidates by using a staffing agency to get help with the hiring process.
On the other hand, when you’re trying to find a job, consider the core values of the company to see if you’ll be a good fit. Asking directly about core values may not be the best post-interview question from a candidate, because the hiring manager may not always know or love the core values, but asking about company culture can help you figure out what they value.
Hiring some of the best young talent can be difficult. You’ll need to start creating a company culture that connects with people who are younger and especially values the kinds of things that they care about.
Knowing Core Values When You Interview
When you’re interviewing for a new position, it helps to know the core values of the company you are applying for, so that you have some idea of the language that they expect in the interview. Ignorance of core values and primary company vocabulary is just one of things you should avoid in an interview.
Don’t pander, and don’t quote the handbook back to the hiring manager. Do, however, read up on the core values to see what the company cares about and how you might add value to their culture. Creating connections helps to build meaningful relationships.
Core Values and the Job Search
If you strongly care about certain types of values, you can use those values to narrow down your job search. When considering some job search tips, keep in mind that company culture and company values are a great way to narrow down companies. First, you may not enjoy working for a company that doesn’t value the kinds of things that you value. Second, a company that doesn’t value what you value might be less interested in hiring you.
Save yourself time and effort during the job search by focusing on companies that have core values which align with your own values.
Business Core Values Examples
Creating business core values for your company tells your audience who you are and what you’re about. Your core values might each be a single word or phrase, or they might be an entire idea written out in a couple of sentences. Stick to only a few primary core values– people will struggle to maintain a grasp of core values if there are too many of them. Most of the most successful companies only have a small handful of core values.
Big Idea Values
There’s perhaps no better example of success with core values than Apple. Many think that Steve Jobs was able to make core values critical to the success of the company. Apple famously ran a “think different” campaign featuring a 1989-esque commercial with a woman who throws a hammer into a computer screen. It showed how technology was making everyone and everything a monotone gray, while its own products were made to set leaders apart for generations. The commercial and campaign were wildly successful. Today, Apple’s core values include a belief that they’re on earth to make great products, a belief in the simple over the complex, and a belief that they’ll have to say no to thousands of projects in order to find the one that’s right for them. Nowadays, Apple has moved on from “think different” to “different together,” showing their new commitment to inclusion and diversity.
Ethical Values in Business and Industry
Patagonia started by making climbing gear the ethical and safe way before expanding out to become an outerwear giant synonymous with green practices and eco-friendly products. Patagonia’s core values are to build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to protect nature, and to be not bound by convention. These values reflect the brand of the company that everyone knows. Patagonia is built to protect the environment through their business practices, and to minimize damage to the environment overall. They think that they can achieve these things by building the best product and not being bound by doing things a certain way simply because that’s the way it was always done.
Authentic Values in Business
While Apple communicates their gargantuan status as a leader in tech, and Patagonia communicates their ethical stance and eco-friendly approach, other companies try to show their authenticity through their core values. Peet’s Coffee is a coffee-roasting chain that has somehow become the darling of both indie-coffee enthusiasts and chain-coffee supporters. Their core values are simple phrases that reflect their coffee roasting and brewing craft. They care deeply about their craft, share what they love, and are true to themselves.
Whatever your ideals may be, be sure to present them candidly and authentically by creating business core values for your company. Not only will potential clients better understand your vision, but so will your staff, creating a positive cycle of open communication and clear goals.