How To Apply Core Values In The Workplace

Research by Robert Walters says that 98% of employers and 97% of professionals agree that value and culture are both critical factors when creating long lasting and committed working relationships.

This means it is only natural that businesses will want to focus heavily on both the creation and the application of their own values, as way of cementing relationships and forming a healthy business culture.

In this blog, we explore core business values, how to create them and how to apply them to business activities.

What are core values and why are they important?

By definition, core values are described as “clearly stated principles about the organisations vision, mission and concepts”. Core values are used to educate clients, external stakeholders and most importantly, employees on what the overall goals of the business are.

Workplace core values will vary from company to company and host several benefits including:

  • Shaping company culture: company core values will influence the way your employees perform

  • Creating purpose: company core values create collective goals and purpose

  • Leading business decisions and initiatives: if a business decision or act does not align with your company’s core values, it is likely to be the wrong one

  • Developing cohesive and collaborative teams: teams that share the same values tend to be more collaborative, as they are essentially all working to the same merit

Identifying your core values

There can be pressure around creating business values, as they will run through everything you are and everything you do. This means they must align with purpose, culture and what your business cares about. Taking the below into consideration will help you get started.

Build a working team

When it comes to creating workplace values, you will want to take advantage of those who have been working for the company for a substantial amount of time, as well as those who share natural positivity and enthusiasm for their role. Put together a working team that offers a diverse set of characteristics.

Establish current values

Once selected, you can then list what your current values are and what drives the work that is currently taking place, list them and use them as a starting point. If you don’t have any existing values at this point, try establishing the common behaviours, similarities and traits amongst the working team, this will help establish what your current company processes and practises are.

Brainstorm new values

From your current values, you’ll be able to develop new ones. Don’t simply copy, but extract inspiration and words that resonate most with the business. Try and use the below prompts to start the conversations.

  1. What is important to you as an individual in a workplace?
  2. What is important to those we serve e.g. our clients and customers?
  3. What is unique or different about working for this company?
  4. What is our history and what does it represent?

Group common words

Once you’ve answered the above questions, you will then be able to identify common words, themes, statements and scenarios. It’s important to not get too bogged down with trying to solidify anything here as eventually you’ll rank, select and vote. This step is important for gathering as much relevant information as you can about your company.

Filter and rank

Following on, you will now be able to filter information into specific groups, e.g.

  1. What feels exciting or impactful
  2. What supports the companies purpose
  3. What aligns with personal values

Make sure you include and take insight from each individual person in the working group. Everyone will have a different thought, opinion or thinking process so make use of the diversity.

Define and refine

The last step is to define and refine your values. Concentrate on three or four short sentences and remember that they don’t need to be overly confusing. In fact, the easier they are to understand, the easier they will be to adopt.

Once completed, share them and ask for feedback. This will make sure that they not only make sense overall but resonate with all staff.

Applying your values to the workplace

Once your core values are solidified, you will then be able to apply them to your workplace, cascading them both internally and externally. Living and breathing your values requires commitment, actions and change. Below we will discuss five ways in which this can be done.

1) Make values visible and well known

To successfully apply your core values in the workplace, you will want to make an appropriate communication plan, to specifically assist with the launch. Afterall, no employee is going to apply workplaces values that they don’t know about!

With the help of Marketing and Communications you can begin to roll out company values, presenting them through:

  • Workshops
  • Company meetings
  • Discussion groups and
  • Social media

It’s important to not only include your employees in the creation of new values, but also include them in the roll out. This will ensure they are informed, engaged and excited.

2) Make your values actionable

With the support of your learning and development department, craft a suitable working plan in which employees can clearly embed new values into their everyday commitments. Employees won’t be able to action values that aren’t in line with day-to-day responsibilities so to speak.

An example:

A company value could be ‘taking personal ownership’, and this could be easily evidenced in an employee taking action to fix an issue or mistake that they made while rushing to meet a specific deadline. The employee identifies the issue, speaks to those involved and then creates an appropriate plan to fix said issue. The employee also follows up with all involved to update them on the correction.

This not only shows personal ownership, but also initiative and confidence.

3) Hire based on values

Value based hiring, sometimes also referred to as value-based recruitment is when specific values, beliefs and considerations are prioritised when hiring new employees. By focusing on core company values when both searching for new talent, through interview and selection, companies can in turn build teams that hold similar personal values to company values.

The advantages include:

  • Increased employee engagement
  • Improved staff morale
  • Positive work environments

Showing that value based hiring is beneficial to both employees and employers, 71% of individuals say that they would take a pay cut and move to a different company if the one they were working for didn’t align with their own personal values.

4) Include values throughout induction period

Like the above, creating and developing induction material that is based around core company values will ensure employees start on the right foot, ruling out any previously negative behaviours. Core values can be included in:

  • Induction training
  • Everyday workplace responsibilities
  • Performance reviews

5) Lead and work by your values

Make sure senior managers and leaders set the tone and lead in a way that supports the new company values. This can be done by:

Creating a value-based awards process: 98% of employees feel valued when they receive recognition and reward from their employers – so make use of this.

Taking relevant action when values are disrespected: having an appropriate plan in place for those who disregard, or insult core company values highlights the importance of them.

Using values as your decision-making framework: making decisions based on core values will not only help your business to live and breathe them, it also shows commitment and consistency.

Now you know the importance of core values in the workplace and can effectively create a set of values that are specific to your business, you can apply them to your workplace.

Taking appropriate time in the creation and application stages of implementing core workplace values will only aid the company further, so good luck and enjoy the benefits!


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