Consider one of American Express's company values -- "Customer Commitment". Ideally, if you've had a positive experience with one of American Express's customer service reps, you've seen this value displayed first-hand.
Alternatively, take a look at one of Google's values -- "Focus on the user and all else will follow."
Any Google search will show you they stand by their purpose to serve the user. Undoubtedly, you find most answers to your common questions on page one of Google, and more recently, it's likely separated in its own featured snippet, as well.
Having core company values can help you ensure each of your employees, from top leadership to entry-level, are working towards the same common goal, and share a bigger purpose.
Ultimately, core values are critical if you want to create a long-lasting, successful, and motivating place to work.
Whether you work for a new company in need of core-value inspiration, or an older company in need of a value revamp, you're in luck -- here, we've cultivated a list of some of the best company values. Additionally, we'll examine how some companies truly honor their values.
Customer Commitment: We develop relationships that make a positive difference in our customers' lives.
Quality: We provide outstanding products and unsurpassed service that, together, deliver premium value to our customers.
Integrity: We uphold the highest standards of integrity in all of our actions.
Teamwork: We work together, across boundaries, to meet the needs of our customers and to help our Company win.
Respect for People: We value our people, encourage their development and reward their performance.
Good Citizenship: We are good citizens in the communities in which we live and work.
A Will to Win: We exhibit a strong will to win in the marketplace and in every aspect of our business.
Personal Accountability: We are personally accountable for delivering on our commitments.
American Express doesn't just hit the bare minimum when it comes to polite, helpful customer service -- they go above-and-beyond to solve for their customers, even when there's no protocol in place.
For instance, Raymond Joabar, the Executive Vice President at American Express, recently told this story in a Forbes interview: "One time, a hotel café manager [an Amex merchant] alerted my team that he had accidentally sold a display cake with harmful chemicals and needed to find the customers before they ate it. Obviously, there’s no procedure for that, but our team took ownership of the problem. They gathered all the information they could from the record of charge, identified 21 Card Members who used their cards at the café during that time frame, reviewed the accounts to find the right match, and then called the Card Member in time before they served the cake at an anniversary party."
"The important point here," Joabar noted, "other than that everybody ended up safe and sound -- is that there isn’t a script for every situation, so we empower our care professionals to do what’s right for the customer. And we recognize what they do with this empowerment as well. We give awards to employees who go above and beyond to help customers and we share their stories across the company."
This anecdote exemplifies American Express employees' commitment to their customers even when it's not easy, and demonstrates the company's dedication to living by its values.
You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
You can make money without doing evil.
There’s always more information out there.
The need for information crosses all borders.
You can be serious without a suit.
Great just isn’t good enough.
On Google's philosophy page, they don't just list their core values -- they also provide examples.
For instance, consider their value, "You can make money without doing evil." While many companies likely tout the benefits of integrity, Google references strategic efforts its made to avoid "evil" business, including -- "We don’t allow ads to be displayed on our results pages unless they are relevant where they are shown … We don’t accept pop–up advertising, which interferes with your ability to see the content you’ve requested ... [and] Advertising on Google is always clearly identified as a 'Sponsored Link,' so it does not compromise the integrity of our search results."
Ultimately, a core value doesn't have much power if your company can't list intentional, calculated decisions it's made to put values ahead of profit.
Coca Cola demonstrates its diversity core value with its public Global Diversity Missionpage, which lists the company's diversity-related efforts, such as, "[collecting employee] feedback through formal surveys and informally through their participation in our business resource groups, various diversity education programs and our Resolution Resources Program, where associates can work to resolve issues they face in our Company."
Additionally, Coca Cola's Global Diversity Mission page exemplifies their commitment to accountability, as well -- they've publicly included pie charts with statistics regarding their global employee gender and race ratios. By acknowledging both their efforts and their shortcomings, Coca Cola is able to show their desire to live up to their values, while taking responsibility for any mis-match between their ideals and reality.
We Satisfy And Delight Our Customers -- Our customers are the lifeblood of our business and our most important stakeholder. We strive to meet or exceed their expectations on every shopping experience.
We Promote Team Member Growth And Happiness -- Our success is dependent upon the collective energy, intelligence, and contributions of all of our Team Members.
We Care About Our Communities And The Environment -- We serve and support a local experience. The unique character of each store is a direct reflection of a community’s people, culture, and cuisine.
We Practice Win-Win Partnerships With Our Suppliers -- We view our trade partners as allies in serving our stakeholders. We treat them with respect, fairness and integrity – expecting the same in return.
Underneath each of its values on its core value page, Whole Foods provides a link, such as, "Learn more about how we care about our communities and the environment."
Ultimately, their page demonstrates their ability to walk the walk. For instance, to exemplify their commitment to local communities, Whole Foods created a Local Producer Loan Program, in which they provide up to $25 million in low-interest loans to independent local farmers and food artisans.
Additionally, Whole Foods provides a list of environmentally-friendly efforts they've practiced since 1980, including "Printing and packaging using recycled paper and water- or vegetable-based, composting to decrease landfill waste, and no single-use plastic bags at checkout since 2008".
If you've ever been to a Whole Foods, you know they're serious about their efforts to reduce waste and help the local community. In fact, its part of the reason so many customers are brand loyalists -- because they support those efforts, too.
Ultimately, good core values can help an audience identify with, and stay loyal to, your brand, rather than flipping between you and competitors. To ensure long-term success andlong-term employee retention, it's critical you create -- and live by -- certain non-negotiable company values.
Originally published Jan 15, 2019 7:00:00 AM, updated September 28 2020