Core Values in Business

First published on Friday, May 19, 2023

Last updated on Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Core values

In an increasingly competitive market, your business's core values are vital to its success and longevity. A business's core values are the main beliefs, priorities, and rules guiding its work. They act as a compass, steering it through challenging times and helping it stand out.

What are core values?

Core values shape the company's culture, showing what it stands for and what it believes in. Strong core values will also equip your business with a strong basis for making decisions.

What is a mission statement?

A mission statement is a short summary of what your company’s purpose and values are. They cover why your company exists and your vision of what you want the company to achieve.

Your core values and mission statement communicate what your business stands for and what it values most. They highlight your business's priorities and the things you care about. Core values help guide management and employees, providing a sense of purpose and clear understanding of the company's principles.

As an employer, investing time in creating meaningful core values that truly guide your business's actions is essential. Putting careful thought into creating your company’s core values will help create a positive impact that radiates throughout your business.

Developing strong core values

A business's core values should go beyond just catchy words or phrases. They must represent genuine beliefs and priorities your company is committed to upholding. When developing your core values, make sure they are unique to your organization.

This will help set it apart from competitors and reflect a distinct identity. Your core values should also be realistic and specific to the goals your company can genuinely achieve. Realistic goals are easier to achieve and serve as motivation. Each win increases you and your employee’s confidence in your ability to achieve far reaching goals. This focus on achievability is what gives your core values real meaning.

Finally, make sure your core values are memorable, so employees, customers, and stakeholders can easily recall and recognize them. It can also help to include key employees in the process as they may offer valuable insights you hadn't considered.

A list of popular core values

Many businesses often choose generic, single-word core values that sound inspiring but may not effectively capture their guiding principles. Some of the most common examples of core values include:

  • Growth
  • Urgency
  • Service
  • Integrity
  • Passion
  • Collaboration
  • Innovations
  • Teamwork
  • Ethics

While these terms aren't bad, they don't provide enough meaning to guide business and employee behavior.

To create core values with meaning, think about adding more details and giving real-life examples. Doing so will show what your company is about and what it wants to do. You’ll create core values that resonate with your employees, improves job performance, and helps them work well with others.

Examples of good core values

Effective company core values are easier to embrace at every level. They also help to establish trust with customers, increase employee satisfaction and help you make good business decisions. Below are some good examples of core values and how businesses stand for them.

American Express

One of American Express's core values is "We do what's right." The brand shows its commitment to this value by going above and beyond for customers. Their team proactively tracked down and alerted a customer who had used their card to pay for a cake containing harmful chemicals.

When the café manager contacted American Express for help, they stepped in to help the customer. Even though it wasn't their standard procedure. By doing so, they upheld their core value of always doing the right thing.


Coca-Cola emphasizes diversity, equity, and inclusion as a key core value. The company shows their dedication to this value by sharing all its diversity-related projects on its website. This helps promote transparency and accountability.

They also promise to have women in 50% of their top leadership roles by 2030. Being so open about its goals helps Coca-Cola stay true to its core values. Customers, employees, and the public can check if they keep their promise by the deadline.

Whole Foods

Whole Foods lives out its core value, "We practice win-win partnerships with our suppliers," by helping their suppliers grow. The organic food company supports partner communities by offering low-interest loans to independent farmers and food artisans.

This shows how doing business with Whole Foods aligns with its core value of creating a win-win situation for farmers and the brand.

Revising core values

Your core values don't have to stay set in stone. Businesses should assess and revise them so they're relevant and align with the business's current needs and goals. As a company grows, its priorities and focus may also evolve.

This makes it necessary to regularly assess and change core values to maintain a strong foundation for your business.

Businesses need to check and update their core values often to make sure they match their goals and vision. To keep them up to date, evaluate the effectiveness of existing ones, monitor industry trends, and get feedback from employees. This process helps ensure that your core values stay relevant and aligned with your business.

Remember to always communicate any changes to core values to maintain company culture and guide decision-making.

Creating strong core values with BrightHR

Failing to establish well-defined core values can lead to many challenges for your business. It can also hinder growth and impact your ability to thrive in a competitive market. A business without clear core values may have a disjointed company culture and misaligned priorities.

In turn, these issues could affect your business's reputation, customer satisfaction, and its financial performance.

Invest time and effort in developing significant and relevant core values that promote a robust company culture. You should proactively collaborate with your teams to create or revise core values that truly represent the company's identity and goals.

Ensuring employees understand and represent these core values will motivate your staff and ensure your business's success.

If you need help developing or refining your company's core values, speak with our HR experts. Our advice lines are available Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.

Contact us at 1-888-220-4924 or book a demo today.

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