4 Companies that Actually Live Their Core Values to the Fullest
Establishing core values as a company is essential for any business. Like branding, core values define what a company is all about. They make up the collection of qualities that attract great employees and keep customers coming back. Ultimately, a company’s values are what guide its brand, operations, products, and marketing. Unsurprisingly, some of the most successful businesses in the world, such as Google or Apple, have put a lot of thought into their values. Here are four other great examples of companies who truly exemplify their core values:
4 Companies that Actually Live Their Core Values to the Fullest
Uber makes for a great case study in the importance of core values. In the early days of this this innovative ride-sharing company, phrases like “Always be hustlin’” were thrown around as part of the young company’s brand. The former CEO admitted that this created a toxic work environment, and the current CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, has since revised them. Today, here are some (of the many) values the company holds:
We build globally, we live locally: We harness the power and scale of our global operations to deeply connect with the cities, communities, drivers and riders that we serve, every day.
We are customer obsessed: We work tirelessly to earn our customers’ trust and business by solving their problems, maximizing their earnings or lowering their costs. We surprise and delight them. We make short-term sacrifices for a lifetime of loyalty.
We celebrate differences: We stand apart from the average. We ensure people of diverse backgrounds feel welcome. We encourage different opinions and approaches to be heard, and then we come together and build.
We value ideas over hierarchy: We believe that the best ideas can come from anywhere, both inside and outside our company. Our job is to seek out those ideas, to shape and improve them through candid debate, and to take them from concept to action.
We make big bold bets: Sometimes we fail, but failure makes us smarter. We get back up, we make the next bet, and we go!
SquareSpace is a popular drag-and-drop website creating platform. It’s another one of those companies built by a tech prodigy in college. The brand is all about empowering people to take their passions to the next level, in this case, with a website. This message comes across crystal clear when reading over the core values that SquareSpace lists on its site:
Be your own customer: SquareSpace is built using SquareSpace. Our entire business relies on the same platform and tools our customers pay us for. To that end, we build products and design experiences we would want for ourselves.
Empower individuals: SquareSpace believes in the power of the individual to create great things. This is what our product enables and our marketing celebrates
Design is not a luxury: Good design means coalescing hundreds of details into a package that is simple and beautiful. From the tools we create, to the experience our customers have, SquareSpace strives for excellence in design and iterates relentlessly in order to achieve that ideal.
Good work takes time: We respect the creative process and pursue long term ideas without fear. We only release our products when we feel they meet our standards.
Optimize towards ideals: While metrics are critical for tracking and testing the performance of our business, they are merely a reflection of our ideas and execution in the market. Our values and ideals are our decision making guide.
Airbnb is a great company that lets people rent out their properties (or spare rooms) to guests. It has seriously disrupted the hotel and lodging industry, offering guests a wide variety of homes and rooms at low and high price points. As you can guess, they’re all about exploration and adventure, a message they really wear on their sleeve. You can see how well their core values represent who they are as a company:
Be a host: We’re united with our community to create a world where anyone can belong anywhere.
Champion the mission: We’re caring, open, and encouraging to everyone we work with.
Be a “cereal” entrepreneur: We’re determined and creative in transforming our bold ambitions into reality.
Embrace the adventure: We’re driven by curiosity, optimism, and the belief that ever person can grow.
IKEA is a very unique furniture and appliance retail company. Their museum-like layout shows inexpensive, well-designed rooms (like exhibits) which customers can interact with. When customers find a piece of furniture that they like, they can jot down the names and find it conveniently packaged in a warehouse downstairs. IKEA’s furniture is always unique, trendy, and unbelievably inexpensive. Their values are completely consistent with this practice:
Leadership by example: Our managers try to set a good example and expect the same of IKEA co-workers.
Daring to be different: We question old solutions and, if we have a better idea, we are willing to change.
Togetherness and enthusiasm: Together, we have the power to solve seemingly unsolvable problems. We do it all the time.
Accept and delegate responsibility: We promote co-workers with potential and stimulate them to surpass their expectations. Sure, people make mistakes. But they learn from them!
Company Core Values FAQ
What’s the Purpose of Company Core Values?
Core values aren’t just descriptive buzzwords that sound nice to customers like “dedicated,” “customer-centered,” or “innovative.” They’re a lot more important (and meaningful) than that. Core values represent the essential beliefs of your company. They make up the set of values that lets your company stand out among all the other ones out there. Identifying your core values gives you the power to choose how you want to articulate them. Maybe you feel your company operations have veered too far from your values–or maybe your values, like we saw with the Uber example, create a caustic environment. Either way, understanding the status of your values can give you a deeper insight into your company.
How do you Identify your Company’s Core Values?
You company’s core values might be implicit–that is, they may not be written down somewhere for everyone to see. Ideally, these values work their way into all of your employees and operations because they’re essential to your business. But practically, that doesn’t always pan out. Ask a few employees what your company’s values are and you’ll probably get a bunch of different answers. A good practice to figure out your current values is to have your employees write down (truthful) words that come to mind about the company. Look over them, grouping similar words together and eliminating those that aren’t shared among employees. Find the perfect word to summarize each group and there you go–those can be considered your current values (as your employees understand them). Are you happy with them? If not, you can begin tweaking them, now in a more sophisticated way, until they embody the company you want to build.
Looking to reinforce your company’s core values? Try Team Building Kits!