Communicating company core values: Definition, examples, and why it matters (2023)

It’s not hard to find the core values of any organization.

They’re often featured, in large print, prominently on corporatewebsites.Posted on a plaque in the lobby of the corporate headquarters and on signs throughout company locations.Printed in employee handbooks. Honestly, they’re everywhereif you look for them.

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But living up to those values? Now that’sthe challenging partfor organizations.

Words are just that. Words. How does a company uphold its stated values with deeds that keep promises to employees, customers, and the community?Itbegins bycommunicatingthose company core values in ways that everyone understands andthen can act upon.

Only then will employees know:This is who we are.

What you’ll learn:

  • Ten Examples of Company Core Values
  • Statistics Showing the Importance of Companies Living Their Values
  • Communicating Your Company Values
  • Company Culture Examples
  • Why Diversity and Inclusion Are Company Core Values
  • Customers Expect Companies to Uphold Their ValuesEmployer Branding and Company Values
  • What are company core values?

    As a definition, company core values are the clearly stated principles about the organization’s vision, mission, and principles. That way, everyone is aligned around a guiding philosophy to serve employees, customers, and the broader community.

    That can alsodoubleas the definition of company culture.In many ways,valuesandcultureare synonymous.They’re bothaboutthe higheraspirations ofa company.The result isthe DNAfundamental to a company’s identity.

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    Ensuring that everyone understands those ambitions requires great internal communication.The troubleistoo many companies assume the workforce knows what’s most important.(After all, it’s a plaque in the lobby next to the elevators!)Butbecause there’s a statement on awall,website, or handbook doesn’t mean employees get the message.

    What’s needed is a clear, steady cadence of information that reinforces thoseprinciples. Let’s take acloser lookinto ways that organizations can thrive through communicating their core values.

    Ten examples of company core values

    When distilled down to the basics, company values might be described simply as theGolden Rule.Treat others the way you want to be treated. Or, to paraphrasefilmmaker Spike Lee: Do the right thing.

    Here’s a more expansive list of values that companies consider important.

    1. Integrity.Actingwith strongethicsis a priority for everyone representing the organization as well asthe company’s behavior as a whole.
    2. Honesty.It’s not just the best policy. It’sa corebusinesspracticeto act in a transparent, trustworthy manner that earns the respect of colleagues, customers, and thepublic.
    3. Fairness.Treating everyone withthecommon decencywe alldeserve and expect.
    4. Accountability.Accepting responsibility for your actions (and inactions) is the ultimate way to build trust internally and externally.
    5. Promise to Customers.Creating a great customer experience begins with staying true to the words we speak and the bonds we make.
    6. Diversity and Inclusion.Organizations succeed by bringing different lived experiences and a range of backgrounds into a shared environment where everyonehas equal opportunity.
    7. Learning.No one has all the answers.Aculture of humility and continuous learning is a bedrock principle of successful companies.
    8. Teamwork.When people work together, they can create something greater than themselves as individuals.
    9. Passion.Having a joy not just for the work itself but also the people around us, so that everyone can be bold, innovative, and creative.
    10. Quality. Companies are judged by the craftsmanshipof their products and services, so the highest standards must be maintained.

    There are many other company core values, of course. (HubSpot has compiled anexcellent list of 16 valuesandsome specific company examples.)Butdefining aguiding philosophyset is unique to every company.

    Yet that’s still only the start.The hard work is acting upon them.

    Statistics showing the importance of companies living their values

    • Actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. $483 to $605 billion per year in lost productivitySource: Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report
    • Productivity improves by 20 to 25 percent in organizations with connected employees.Source: The McKinsey Global Institute
    • One-third of global employees strongly agree with the statement: “The mission and purpose of my organization makes me feel my job is important.” By moving that ratio to eight in 10 employees, business units have realized a 51 percent reduction in absenteeism, a 64 percent drop in safety incidents,and a 29 percent improvement in quality.Source: Gallup’s Designing Your Organization’s Employee Experience
    • 95 percent of HR leaders said in a survey that employee burnout is “sabotaging workforce retention.”Source: Kronos Incorporated and Future Workplace
    Communicating company core values: Definition, examples, and why it matters (3)
    • Only 53 percent of survey respondents felt their organizations are effective or very effective at creating meaningful work.Source: 2019 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends
    • 46 percentof job seekers cite company culture as very importantwhenthey consider potential employers and88 percentsay it’s at least relatively important.Source:Jobvite
    • Employees who feel their voices areheard at workreport they arenearlyfive times (4.6X)more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work. Employees who say their company provides equal opportunities are nearlyfour times (3.8X) more likely to say they’re proud to work for their company.Source:Salesforce
    • More than half of employees (51 percent) are searching for a new job or watching for openings.Source: Gallup
    • 67 percent of survey respondents say they need more and better communication from their employer. Source: FleishmanHillard
    Communicating company core values: Definition, examples, and why it matters (4)

    Communicating your company values

    How do you express your company values internally? Even the best, most well-plannedmissionstatements are useless if they’re hidden away and rarely discussed.

    Company core values need to be on the big stage, in a bright spotlight, for everyone to see.

    That’s whatexcellentinternal communication does. It continually brings attention to the company values with a steady cadence of reminders about what makes the organizationunique. As we’ll see,it’s alsohighlightingexamples of how the company is living those values.

    But first, how do you get those in front of everyone?

    Standard workforce communication tools

    Here are some of the traditional ways that organizationsshare their values with the workforce.

    • Email
    • Intranet
    • Company website
    • All hands meetings/town halls
    • Digital signage
    • Printed posters/signs
    • Mailers/newsletters
    • Collaboration systems

    The more places where employees can see or hear the company values, the better. (As they say in football parlance,you“flood the zone.”) A consistent cadence of communication will reinforce their importanceto everyone.

    Also, each of us tends to get work-related information in different ways. For office workers, maybe email or intranet is the best way. For factor workers, perhaps the old break-roombulletinboard works best. It’s essential to use all the arrows in your quiver to get thosecompanyvalues in front ofthe entire workforce.

    But there are limitations to these standard tools. That’s why companies are turning to a new wayofreachingtheir people with the information they need and want.

    Modern internal communication tool

    Consider the way that all of us receive information in our personal lives. It comes directly to us – usually on our mobile devices. We get alerts from news sources that we trust. We haveuser-friendlyapps. It’s an engaging experience.

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    Well, employees expect their places of work to communicate with them the same way.We mayindeedcheck our email or the bulletin boards.But all of us are alsostaring at our mobile devices. That’s why digital Employee Communication and Engagement platforms have become the modern way for organizations to connect with their people.They break down information silos by:

    • Reaching every employee in real-time, wherever they are, on the devices they prefer – whether through a desktop app or mobile app – with the information they need and want
    • Enabling internal communicators tomeasure the reachof their content accurately, so they can understand who received the information – and then optimize their efforts
    • Giving leaders the confidence that the entire organization is hearing their messages, so everyone is aligned around companyvalues
    • Enabling employees to provide instant feedback through surveys and comments, so companies have a finger on the pulse of what the workforce is thinking

    See Firstup in action

    Companyculture examples

    Because Firstup is the platform of choice of leading companies around the world, including 40 percent of the Fortune 100, we’refortunateto see some of the incredible ways that organizations infuse their values intoeverything they do.


    It’s powerful when top executives – especially CEOs– constantly remind employees what the mission, vision, and values are for the company.We’ve even seen leaders start every Town Hall meeting with a quick reminder of what drives theirorganizations.

    But hearing from leaders is exponentially more difficult in 2020 when the pandemic has forced the world into lockdown. It’s also neverbeenmore important for leaders to be communicating their foundational values to remind everyone how they play a partingetting through the crisis.It’salsonot just the pandemic. Employees want to know where the company stands onthesocial justice issues as protests against racial inequality have swept across the country. Employees expect their companies to live their stated values.

    That’s why company executives use the Firstup platformto speak directly to employees.We’ve seen an explosion in “selfie videos” whereCEOs post regularlyto sharecompanyupdatesand how their values are helping them get through this challenging time.This ability was especially important when CEOsneeded to speak from the heart about why their companies were supportive of the passionate outcry forgreatersocial justice.

    Why diversity and inclusion are company core values

    There are two reasons.

    1. First, and foremost, a diverse and inclusive workplace is simply the right thing to do.Basic human decency is about creating a work environment where everyone is valued, respected, heard, and matters.
    2. It’s good business.

    There arenumerousstudies that show more diverse companies have greater financial success. (Youcanread some excellent researchhereandhere.) It’s why81 percent of global organizations said that improving diversity and inclusion was high on their agenda, according to Mercer’s Let’s Get Real About Equality report. Merceralsofound that66percent of senior executives are actively engaged in diversity and inclusion initiatives.

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    At the same time, the pandemic has slowed efforts to make companies more reflective of our society.According toa pulsesurveyofdiversity andinclusion leadersby McKinsey, 27 percent of them report that their organizations have put all or most initiatives on hold because of the pandemic.

    Yet those values are more important than ever.That’s because customers are watching.

    Customers expect companies to uphold their core values

    One of the main takeaways from 2020 is that people expect more from brands. They’re paying close attention to how companiesbehaveduring the pandemic andif theyfight for social justice. Are theygenuinelyliving their stated values? Or are they just paying them lip service?

    When brands disappoint them, they take their business elsewhere.

    Here’s some eye-opening research about consumer sentiment at a time of pandemic and social upheaval:

    • 80 percent of consumers would prefer to buy from companies who treated their employees well through the COVID-19 outbreak. Source: KRC Research
    • 65 percent of survey respondents say the pandemic has changed how they see companies as employers. Source: FleishmanHillard
    • 60 percent of survey respondents said brands must take a stand and speak out against racial injustice publicly. Source: Edelman
    • 56 percent say brands have a moral obligation for demanding action and 52 percent say they “owe it to employees.” Source: Edelman
    • 33 percent of survey respondents say they have already convinced other people to stop using a brand that they felt was not acting appropriately in response to thepandemic. Source: Edelman
    • 60 percent of respondents said that they will buy or boycott a brand based on if and how it responds to the current protests. Source: Edelman

    The employee Experience directly impacts the customer experience. When employees feel like the company is living up to its values, customers notice.

    Employer branding andcompany values

    Today,theEmployee Value Proposition (EVP)matters morethan ever. EVP is a way of thinkingabout what employees receive in exchange for their workplace performance. Yes, employees expect to be well-compensated for their labor. But increasing, employees also want to feel good about their workplace. They want to know that, in some small way, they’re making a difference. The world is a better place because of their efforts.

    And that brings us full circle back to company values.

    The days ofbrandsnotliving by their values is over. In our interconnected world, news ofbadcorporatebehaviortravels in the blink of an eye on social media. And asteepprice is paid.Buttheorganizationsthattry to stand by their values – and makeamends when the inevitable missteps occur–are the ones most likely to succeed.

    Communication, as we’ve seen, is the bedrock foundation ofensuringcompany valuesare understood. Everyone knows what’s expected of them. Everyone knows whatthey should expect from their company.Everyonebecomesaligned around the basic principlesof why the company exists.

    And everyone thrives.

    How much progress has your company made on diversity, equity and inclusion? We’ve assembled a comprehensive playbook with 7 plays to help you boost inclusion and engagement.

    Free playbook: 7 steps to inclusive culture


    How do you define company values and why it matters? ›

    What Defines Effective Company Values?
    1. Lead with your purpose statement. Your company's purpose defines the reason why your organization exists. ...
    2. Keep your values unique. ...
    3. Make values easy to understand and remember. ...
    4. Your values must cost you. ...
    5. Update your values over time.
    Jan 15, 2020

    What is the importance of communicating company values? ›

    Communicating your values early on sets new hires up for success by ensuring they are on the right page from the get-go. Moreso, communicating your organization's values from day one helps inspire them to exceed expectations and contribute even more to the company's growth.

    What is the most important core value a company should have and why your answer? ›

    Simply put, the two principles of integrity and ethics translate into doing the right thing, in an honest, fair, and responsible way. Building your entire business on the foundation of honesty and integrity goes a long way toward building a strong, trusting relationship with your employees, stakeholders, and customers.

    How would you define values and how is it important in the workplace? ›

    Your workplace values are the guiding principles that are most important to you about the way that you work. You use these deeply held principles to choose between right and wrong ways of working, and they guide important decisions and career choices.

    What is the definition of a company's core values? ›

    Core values are the deeply ingrained principles that guide all of a company's actions; they serve as its cultural cornerstones. Collins and Porras succinctly define core values as being inherent and sacrosanct; they can never be compromised, either for convenience or short-term economic gain.

    How do leaders communicate core values in an organization? ›

    Leading by example is one of the most effective ways to communicate core values. The more employees see leadership intentionally exemplifying values, the more apt they are to take personal ownership. For example, if a core value is an inclusion, leaders must exhibit unbiased and inclusive behavior with every employee.

    How do you effectively communicate value? ›

    Communicating value means walking your audience from exposure, to awareness and attention, to understanding, to evaluation and yielding, to retention, and finally to action.

    How to communicate the core values and mission to the new staff? ›

    Photos courtesy of individual members.
    1. Cover Your Core Values During The Onboarding Process.
    2. Educate And Reward Employees.
    3. Share Inspirational Stories.
    4. Write Your Mission In The Job Descriptions.
    5. State Your Focus On External And Internal Websites.
    6. Present Your Values In Various Ways.
    Aug 5, 2022

    How do you demonstrate core values in the workplace? ›

    Embed the core values into company culture by integrating them into training, performance evaluations, recognition programs, and decision-making processes. Regularly reinforce the values through communication, events, and leadership actions to ensure they remain a central part of the organization.

    What are the 7 importance of communication in business? ›

    This article throws light on the thirteen major importance's of communication in management, i.e, (1) Basis of Decision-Making and Planning, (2) Smooth and Efficient Working of an Organisation, (3) Facilitates Co-Ordination, (4) Increases Managerial Efficiency, (5) Promotes Co-operation and Industrial Peace, (6) Helps ...

    What would be the best example of a company's core value? ›


    Integrity is among the most common core values, so leaders have devised creative ways to rephrase it. Take Google's list of company values, for example. One of which is 'You can make money without doing evil. ' When you think about it, it all boils down to moral integrity.

    What is the importance of core values in business excellence? ›

    A strong set of core values will help you find and attract your core audience and earn lifelong customer loyalty. Creating and living by a set of unwavering business principles can also help your organization find long-term success and keep your employees on board.

    What are the 3 main core values? ›

    Integrity, kindness, honesty, and financial security are typical examples of personal core values. Others often see these values as your character traits. For example, someone is known for always doing the right thing likely values integrity. Suppose you have a core value of freedom.

    What are the 5 core values of the workplace? ›

    A vital workplace is built on five core values: Compassion, Accountability, Healthy Competition, Personal Growth & Wellness, and Equality.

    What are the five core values? ›

    Five Core Values
    • INTEGRITY. Know and do what is right. Learn more.
    • RESPECT. Treating others the way you want to be treated. Learn more.
    • RESPONSIBILITY. Embrace opportunities to contribute. Learn more.
    • SPORTSMANSHIP. Bring your best to all competition. Learn more.
    • SERVANT LEADERSHIP. Serve the common good. Learn more.

    Do company values really matter? ›

    Values are a core way you do business and achieve business outcomes. They are not aspirational ideas hung on the wall to give employees hope. Values also attract people who believe in them to your organization.


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