Creating Your Company Core Values in 5 Easy Steps
Help your team become more aligned and find greater success with clearly defined core values. Find out how to create ones that are specific to your organization and provide the most impact for your employees.
For many organizations, core values are guiding principles that can help cultivate a thriving workplace, exceptional customer experiences, and a successful company.
Looking to create core values but not sure where to start? This article will take you through five easy steps that can help you and your leadership team put together effective core values.
How to Create Impactful Core Values for Your Organization
Here are five steps our team recommends taking when coming up with your company’s core values.
1. Identify Your Organization’s Key Stakeholders
Before you begin defining core values for your organization, you’ll want to determine who should be involved in the process.
Generally, this group of people will be made up of your leaders, including your directors, managers, C-level roles, and president. However, if your team is on the larger side, including everyone may feel overwhelming and lead to “too many cooks in the kitchen.” If this is the case, you may want to work with just a few select leaders in the initial stages.
When choosing your decision makers, Forbes suggests that each person should be “willing to brainstorm and compromise, able to demonstrate the determined traits themselves, and in agreement that these values will be a foundation for the team going forward.”
Regardless of your approach at this stage, however, our team recommends getting each leader’s buy in before rolling out your core values to the rest of the company.
2. Determine Attributes That Contribute to Your Success
After you’ve identified who will be involved in deciding your core values, you’ll want to coordinate a few meetings to brainstorm and consolidate ideas. Here are a few sample questions to help you and your group begin to define your core values:
- What attributes do your top employees all share?
- What qualities do the colleagues you enjoy working with embody?
- How do these values relate to your business, services, and products?
- Do these traits contribute to your company culture? In what way?
You can use the above questions to brainstorm with your leaders informally with sticky notes or by writing them out on one big sheet of paper. Afterwards, you’ll want to combine similar thoughts, and narrow down which words you feel best represent your company and employees.
You can have as many core values as you’d like, but our team recommends keeping it under 10.
3. Clearly Define & Write Out Your Core Values
Once you’ve determined what your core values will be, it’s time to agree on how you want to present them to the rest of the company.
Deciding how to phrase these traits is crucial. Inc.com even suggests that you don’t really understand your values until you’ve articulated them in writing.
Try to use your organization’s terminology and language, so simple or common attributes become unique to your company. And ensure that the way you describe your core values fits with your company culture and brand.
One of Outback’s core values is “we will always be self-accountable.” Our leadership team specifically chose “self-accountable,” rather than “accountable,” to outline that employees are expected to take responsibility for their actions, and never place blame elsewhere.
4. Test Your Core Values as a Leadership Team
Before launching your core values throughout the rest of your company, you can test them out during your day-to-day routine.
When faced with a decision during your work day, use one – or more – of your core values to guide you. Afterwards, ask yourself, “Did this core value help me achieve success and improve the overall outcome? Or did it detract from it?”
Of course, the ones that don’t help you make better, more effective choices, should be removed from your list.
If you have been working with a select group of leaders, now would be a good time to loop in the rest of the management team. This will give you an opportunity to get everyone’s buy in at the top level, and ensure that no one on your team feels left out of the decision-making process.
5. Launch Your Core Values Company-Wide
Finally, you’ll want to officially roll out your core values to the rest of the company. Here are a few examples of how you can share these new guiding principles:
- Share in a memo to the entire company
- Announce at an organization-wide meeting
- Present at an interactive session with all employees
- Ask employees how they relate to the core values
For more tips and ideas on how to implement your core values, check out our news article: How to Launch Your Core Values and Make Them Stick.
Still Not Sure Where to Start?
With guidance from a professional facilitator, you and your team can work together to create your company core values during a Creating Mission, Vision and Values session.
You can also check out A Step-by-Step Guide to Uncovering Your Company’s Core Values for more expert advice on developing effective core values, available all in one convenient document.