“It is not hard to make decisions when you know what your core values are.” – Roy Disney
Why are core values important?
Core Values can influence how customers, vendors and employees perceive the company’s reputation in the marketplace. Establishing strong core values can provide both internal and external advantages for a firm helping to drive the business forward in the right direction. Authentic core values make decision-making easier and more aligned with the overall brand.
Have you incorporated core values into the culture of your company?
Attracting and retaining top talent is a huge priority for CEOs and founders across the globe. Core values are the DNA of your company’s culture and are becoming essential recruiting and retention tools. Top performers are seeking out companies with values that they consider are important. Talented people want to be part of a values-driven company.
Here are five high-performance companies across various industries that deliver a values-based business approach:
Southwest Airlines is committed to the customer experience. They are one of the most consistently profitable major airlines in the United States. They have employee turnover rates of just 5%, in an industry where double those rates are typical. Even with some of the lowest ticket prices, the company still ranks at the top in customer service and safety.
Southwest Airlines has created a culture of trust and cooperation amongst employees which has resulted in an attitude of hard work, effort and teamwork within the entire organization. Their culture is defined by three core values which all newly hired employees are evaluated against.
Southwest Airlines core values:
• Strive to be the best
• Display a sense of urgency
• Never give up
• Follow the Golden Rule
• Treat others with respect
• Embrace our Southwest Family
• Be a passionate Team Player
• Don’t take yourself too seriously
• Celebrate successes
Accenture PLC is a global management consulting and professional services company that provides strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations services. Accenture partners with more than three-quarters of the Fortune Global 500.
Accenture is a globally recognized brand with an outstanding company culture that focuses on the long-term career development of employees, community involvement and collaboration.
Accenture has 6 core values (CRIBOS):
Client Value Creation.
Respect for Individual.
One Global Network.
Patagonia is a designer of outdoor clothing and gear for the silent sports: climbing, surfing, skiing and snowboarding, fly fishing, and trail running. They are based in Ventura, California and have retail outlets around the world.
Patagonia is routinely included on lists of the top companies for which to work. The company has clear values, and treats its employees, its customers and the environment in line with those values.
Patagonia core values:
Quality (the pursuit of ever greater quality in everything we do)
Integrity (relationships built on integrity and respect)
Environmentalism (serve as a catalyst for personal and corporate action)
Not Bound by Convention (our success – and much of the fun – lies in developing innovative ways of doing things)
Volvo is synonymous with safety. The automaker has ranked at the top of safety tests and ratings for decades. They continue to find ways to protect their consumers and enhance the safety offerings in their vehicles.
Safety has been a core value since the company was founded in 1927. It has helped define and differentiate the brand against their competition. It’s part of their mission and referred to as “the Volvo way”.
Volvo core values:
Safety – We strive to protect human health and wellbeing. Our ultimate goal is zero accidents with Volvo Group products. The Volvo Group shall be recognized as the leading supplier of safe transport solutions.
Quality – The Volvo Group shall be the leader in customer satisfaction delivering pioneering products and services for the transport and infrastructure industries. All business entities will contribute to this achievement through customer focus, commitment and participation by everyone, a process approach and continuous improvement.
Environment – The Volvo Group is to be ranked as a leader in terms of Environmental Care among the world’s top producers of transport-related products, equipment and systems. The Environmental Care programs shall be characterized by a holistic view, continual improvement, technical development and resource efficiency. By these means, the Volvo Group will gain competitive advantage and contribute to sustainable development.
It’s no secret that Google has one of the most sought after work cultures in the world. It is fortunate to be able to pick and choose the most talented employees, also known as Googlers, who enjoy a laid-back, fun work environment with enormous perks.
The leadership at Google understand that it’s the values that are lived daily by the company and its employees that gives them a reputation of being a cool place to work.
Their values were created in the early years and reside on the Google website as “Ten things we know to be true”.
1. Focus on the user and all else will follow.
2. It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
3. Fast is better than slow.
4. Democracy on the web works.
5. You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
6. You can make money without doing evil.
7. There’s always more information out there.
8. The need for information crosses all borders.
9. You can be serious without a suit.
10. Great just isn’t good enough.
A Final Thought
When properly executed at the leadership level, core values can help your firm attract, hire, and retain the right type of employees while differentiating your brand in the minds of your customers and partners.
It’s important that a firm has buy-in from all levels of the organization as core values can set a strong foundation for the firm’s culture.
• Our blog article “How Brand Strategy Helps CEOs Hire and Retain Their Top Employees” provides founders and execs with branding advice and pro tips.
• Branding Process [Video]
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Damon Andersen is a branding expert at Damon Andersen, LLC. Damon helps founders and CEOs of professional service firms attract and retain top talent. His proven and proprietary branding process helps firms clearly define their brand, differentiate themselves from their competition and help make an emotional connection with their target audience.