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10 Effective Company Core Values Examples To Take Inspiration From

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Let me guess. Your organization is planning to create a new set of core values or revamp the existing ones. But you are at a loss for where to start and searching for some company core values examples.

Don’t worry. We have your back.

You are probably already aware that defining company core values is crucial to ensure that your organization’s culture aligns with your mission and vision. From guiding your organizational decision-making to attracting and retaining the right people, your core values can impact every aspect of your business.

Hence taking inspiration from companies who have aced the game is important before you start working on your own set of corporate values.

Here's something to consider.

If you do some research, you will find that almost every company has its core values defined and stated on its website. However, in reality, companies that live up to those values are limited.

Let's take the example of Enron. Enron's core values were listed as integrity, communication, respect, and excellence. But in the end, the company declared bankruptcy, and its leaders were sent to prison due to fraudulent accounting practices in 2001. Nothing like what they preached, right?

In this blog, we will dive deep into the business core values of 10 well-known companies and understand how they have transformed their values into reality.

But before that, let’s find out what core values stand for.

What are Company core values?

Company core values are well-defined words or statements that reflect your company’s beliefs, philosophies, principles, and brand identity. It can shape your company's culture and define its character. They are the action statements that guide all your internal activities and operations.

In other words, core values aren’t some aspirational mantras painted across the office walls or a marketing trick to hammer home a great company image. It’s not like picking up a few identikits. They are your authentic, thoughtful business values.

"We believe that it’s really important to come up with core values that you can commit to. And by commit, we mean that you’re willing to hire and fire based on them. If you’re willing to do that, then you’re well on your way to building a company culture that is in line with the brand you want to build.”
Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos.

10 company core values examples to take inspiration from

Here are 10 examples of core values of companies that are renowned for having a strong company culture-

1. Tesla


Here’s a list of the business values of Tesla-:

Always do your best.
Tesla never settles for less. They aim to use the latest technologies and combine them with their best efforts for the best results.

No forecast is perfect but try anyway.
They constantly try to maintain the reliability and accuracy of their public announcements and predictions (or forecasts) regarding new products and services.

Respect and encourage people.
Tesla encourages its people to be respectful toward each other and their clients.

Always be learning.
Tesla believes in adapting to the changing world and industry needs and trends. And expect the same from their employees.

Respect the environment.
Tesla emphasizes saving the environment while leading innovation in the energy industry.

These core values are clearly visible in what Tesla does and how it’s leading the industry. For example, their commitment to sustainability is evident in their broader innovation strategy.

Their focus is not limited to developing and selling electric cars. It also incorporates environmental issues like sustainable transportation, renewable energy storage, and climate change mitigation.

“The fundamental value of a company like Tesla is the degree to which it accelerates the advent of sustainable energy faster than it would otherwise occur.”
- Elon Musk.

Tesla’s corporate values are also evident in its commitment to its public releases. They have so far managed to emerge with new innovations every time they over-promised their customers.

Related: How To Hire And Retain Employees Based On Culture Fit?

2. Walmart


Say you enter a Walmart store. How would you expect to be treated?

Let me guess. You will like to be respected, valued and have your needs served. Right?

Walmart’s core values are based on exactly that. They are designed around how you, as a customer, would like to be treated when you enter their store.

Let’s have a look at their core corporate values-

Service for customers
Walmart’s culture is customer first. They encourage their employees to be always ready to listen to the customer’s needs and work with a service mentality. They expect employees to be agile, creative and move with speed.

Respect the individual
They focus on three key aspects to be respectful to each employee and customer as individuals.

Walmart believes in listening to feedback and what the other person has to say. They encourage employees to be visible and available for the customer.

Lead by example
Walmart expects its employees to be humble. They expect leaders in the company to uphold these values with honest and direct feedback.

Walmart seeks and embraces individual, cultural, racial, and other differences in people, ideas, and experiences. They also work for more opportunities for women.

Strive for excellence
Like any other organization, Walmart strives for high performance. They believe in setting and achieving aggressive goals. They expect accountability and strategic moves from their employees.

It implies that employees have to be able to anticipate changing conditions, plan for the future and strategize their choices accordingly. At the same time, they should be able to take responsibility for their actions and probable consequences.

Walmart has put honesty, fairness, and impartiality (in decision-making processes) as part of its central values. They encourage employees to be honest, transparent and keep their promises.

Walmart has put its core values into action through its company culture. Want to know how?

Walmart has been known to recognize its employees for their contributions. As a matter of fact, they call their employees as associates to recognize their stake in the business.

Prioritizing customers in organizational functioning is an important part of their company culture. This needle-like focus on serving the best to customers has improved the company’s overall performance making it one of the world’s largest retailers.

“It’s a no-brainer. We want you to stay. But man, if there’s a better opportunity, and you want to build and grow your skills, we say, Absolutely do it; we support you. And by the way, we welcome you to come back.”
Lorraine Stomski, Senior Vice President of Associate Learning & Leadership for Walmart.

The best part is that Walmart is making a huge investment in upskilling and career growth as well. This exemplifies their core value of striving for excellence. You can notice the results in numbers- 75% of all managers in Walmart started their careers as hourly associates. Walmart’s current CEO, Doug McMillon, is one of them.

However, when it comes to the core value of respecting individuals, Walmart has to level up the game. You might have already come across news channels frequently criticizing Walmart for racial discrimination and for paying low wages to its employees.

Just take a look at these numbers!

1. Walmart paid 17.5 million dollars to settle a lawsuit over alleged racial discrimination.

2. The U.S. EEOC filed a lawsuit against Walmart for violating federal law. Here the Walmart store was charged with discrimination against a Black female employee and giving her an unsanitary lactation space.

3. Walmart pays its associates a minimum wage of $ 12 per hour. In contrast, competitors like Target pay their employees $ 15 per hour.

This failure to address employee concerns highlights a gap between their belief in respect for individuals and their actual treatment of employees.

3. Zappos


Besides making Zappos stand apart from the rest of its competitors, the core values act as a framework for all its actions. They are a base for developing and growing their culture, brand, and business strategies.

According to Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, their philosophy is that “We’re willing to make short-term sacrifices (including lost revenue or profits) if we believe that the long-term benefits are worth it. Protecting the company culture and sticking to core values is a long-term benefit.”

Let’s look at the 10 core values of Zappos-

Deliver WOW Through Service:
To Wow, employees are encouraged to go above and beyond expectations. They must differentiate themselves with a unique X factor.

Embrace and Drive Change:
Zappos promotes a culture of embracing constant change. With this core value, Zappos encourages its employees to plan and stay prepared for change. They encourage employees to experiment with new ideas and drive change with original thinking.

This ever-evolving nature is, in fact, their way of staying ahead in the game.

Create Fun and A Little Weirdness:
Being weird doesn’t mean being crazy. Rather it’s about being the authentic self. This encourages Zappos employees to be quirky, unconventional, and think out of the box. They want their people to come out and shine in their true personalities.

Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded:
Zappos wants its teams and the company as a whole to be bold and daring (but not reckless). They encourage their people to seek adventure and have fun exploring new possibilities. This freedom to be creative lets them approach situations and challenges with an open mind and be unconventional in their solutions.

Pursue Growth and Learning:
Zappos calls for an insatiable appetite for improvement from its employees. They call for people who desire to challenge and stretch themself to unlock their full potential. In other words, they want their people to hop on the cycle of growth with continuous learning-unlearning-relearning-growth.

Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication:
A big part of Zappos' culture is building strong, positive relationships that are based on open and honest communication. They focus on a transparent flow of information.

Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit:
This core value emphasizes the importance of meaningful relationships and harmony amongst teams. They expect their employee to be willing to take the initiative when they notice issues, take ownership, and collaborate with other teams whenever required.

Do More With Less:
This core value emphasizes the need for operational excellence. Zappos believes that there is always room for improvement in everything they do. This keeps their hunger for achieving something greater alive.

Be Passionate and Determined:
Zappos emphasizes passion, determination, perseverance, and a sense of urgency to drive their employees and the company forward. They want their employees to support and energize Zappos's 4Cs (- Clothing, Customer Service, Company Culture, and Community) with dedication.

Be Humble:
Zappos wants their team members to be humble about their accomplishments and exhibit a ‘quiet confidence.’

These 10 core values are part of the DNA of the organization. It is what keeps Zappos alive and healthy.

The company takes radical measures to ensure that these values remain the company's driving force. It includes making hiring decisions based on these core values. Adhering to the core values is, in fact, part of the job expectation.

“Be Humble is probably the core value that ends up affecting our hiring decisions the most.”
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.

Zappos is also known for offering $2000 to the new recruits to quit if they want. This is a measure to judge the cultural fit for their teams. They also have a four-week mandatory training program to ensure that new hires make these values a way of life.

Zappos embraces the idiosyncrasies of each individual with their weirdness. Their core values encourage individuality as well as team spirit. It offers their people creative freedom.

They offer a safe space for their people to explore, experiment, and fail. Each employee acts as an entrepreneur by taking calculated risks without fearing failure. All these factors together helped Zappos create a company culture everyone wants to copy.

4. Apple


Company's core values aren’t Motherhood and Apple Pie. They have to be questioned, challenged, and evolve with the changing time and evolution of the company. Apple is a living example of this.

The original company core values of Apple set by former CEO Steve Jobs were–

  • One person, one computer.
  • We are going for it, and we will set aggressive goals.
  • We are all on an adventure together.
  • We build products we believe in.
  • We are here to make a positive difference in society, as well as make a profit.
  • Each person is important; each has the opportunity and the obligation to make a difference.
  • We are all in it together, win or lose.
  • We are enthusiastic!
  • We are creative; we set the pace.
  • We want everyone to enjoy the adventure we are on together.
  • We care about what we do.
  • We want to create an environment in which Apple values flourish.

However, as Apple has evolved to become a larger corporation, its core values have been modified under Tim Cook's management to reflect that responsibility. Their present core values are-

Great Products:
Apple’s primary focus is on “making great products”- products that have the potential to change the world. They strive for innovation and perfection in their products.

Simple, not complex:
Instead of focusing on a wide range of product options, they simplify the list of priorities. They believe in doing their best work by centralizing their focus.

They believe in owning and controlling the primary technologies behind each of their products.

They only participate in markets where they can make the highest contribution.

Saying No:
They believe that saying no to thousands of projects is crucial so that we can really focus on the things or projects that are most important and meaningful to them.

Apple believes in collaboration. They focus on the cross-pollination of their teams. They believe in diversity in thought which allows them to always be innovative.

Accept mistakes:
They believe it’s okay to make mistakes while searching for excellence. However, it is crucial to have the self-honesty to admit when they are wrong and the courage to change and correct their mistakes.

"Companies should have values like people do"
Tim Cook

From 8,000 (Approx) employees and $7 billion in revenue in 1997 to 154,000 (Approx) employees and $394.33 billion in revenue in 2022, one thing about Apple has always been constant. That is its innovations in hardware, software, and services. Which itself speaks for their core value of innovation and excellence.

At the core of Apple’s innovation is its organizational structure, which centers on functional expertise and the value of collaboration. Each product is backed by collaborative debate among its functional experts, focusing on bringing results as a team. To make this cross-functional collaboration work smoothly, Apple has minimized the number of people involved by limiting the number of senior leadership positions.

Apple’s company culture is also characterized by its blue-sky thinking and innovation. They hire only the best candidates in the market. This enables them to maintain and reinforce a company cultur that promotes, appreciates, and expects top-notch excellence among its people. They also have reward programs in place to recognize and reward excellent performers.

5. Airbnb


"We have the power, by living the values, to build the culture. We also have the power, by breaking the values, to fuck up the culture."
Brian Chesky, Co-founder, and CEO of Airbnb.

Airbnb’s mission is to create “a world where anyone can belong anywhere.” Let’s see how their core values are and how they align with their mission-

Champion the Mission
They want their employees to be driven by this mission, so much so that it feels like it’s their life’s calling.

Be a Host
This core value is more closely related to hospitality and the Airbnb experience users get. Employees are expected to show care and be open and encouraging to everyone they work with. They need to be passionate about the community.

Embrace the Adventure
Just like little kids are always ready to try new ideas, stumble across a hurdle, and yet move on to try again. Airbnb wants its employees to move forward with a similar approach. They believe in always being curious and optimistic they want their employees to learn from their mistakes, ask for help when needed, and exhibit an ability to grow.

Be a Cereal Entrepreneur
They want their teams to reinvent travel and transform their bold ambitions into reality with their determination and creativity. They want their people to have an entrepreneurial drive- who knows how to go forward with their big ideas.

These four core values are intertwined with Airbnb’s culture- starting from their hiring process. While recruiting, they emphasize selecting candidates already living out Airbnb’s company core values in their regular lives.

As an ex-Airbnb employee, Anders Boelskifte has said, these core values placed at its heart, Airbnb seeks to create and maintain a perfect balance among its three key stakeholders. They are- Airbnb, the organization (including its employees and shareholders), Airbnb, the community (guests and hosts), and the world outside of Airbnb.

Airbnb has taken a slightly unusual approach to forge core values in the workplace among their people with an ‘employee experience’ department.

“You don’t see the mission and values on the wall. Instead, you feel it when you walk through the door and you see it in the way that people behave with one another and with anyone who comes into contact with us. Being a host is one of our most important values, and it is how we behave both with one another and everyone else.”
Mark Levy, former CHRO, Airbnb.

6. Amazon


Amazon has listed 14 leadership principles that explain what they expect from their employees. These principles act as their business core values affecting every aspect of the business.

The values that define Amazon are-

Customer Obsession
The first leadership principle emphasizes ‘start with the customer, then work backward. Amazon wants its people to know what the customers need and go above and beyond to serve their needs.

This organizational value of amazon emphasizes accountability on the part of the employee. Employees need to be willing to stretch outside the box and act beyond the scope of their job profile.

Invent and Simplify
This core value stresses innovation and invention from the teams. Employees are expected to exhibit strive to find ways to simplify these newfound ideas and processes.

Are Right, A Lot
Emphasizing the value of judgment, Amazon expects its people to be intuitive and make decisions based on diverse perspectives.

Learn and Be Curious
Amazon expects its people to be lifelong learners and interlink their knowledge with their present experiences and the problems they face.

Hire and Develop the Best
Amazon recognizes the excellent performers within the organization. This excellence can be maintained only when they focus on hiring only the best. They also promote development and mentorships for existing employees.

Insist on the Highest Standards
Amazon wants its employees to have relentlessly high standards. To deliver the highest quality services, products, and processes, perfection should be their bar.

Think Big
Amazon encourages its employees to set bigger goals and strive for nothing less than greatness. They want their people to think differently and stretch their limits to maintain their streak of excellence.

Bias for Action
Amazon values calculated risks. It wants its employees to avoid analytical paralysis. Instead, they should take swift action and speed matters in business.

They want their people to be resourceful and frugal. Employees need to efficiently do more with fewer resources or budgets spent. This, however, doesn’t imply saving costs at the expense of quality.

Earn Trust
Amazon emphasizes trust as the basis of every relationship within the organization (whether it’s with customers or among its employees). They want employees to be honest, accountable, open to criticism and feedback, and willing to offer constructive criticism.

Dive Deep
Instead of focusing on the larger picture, employees at Amazon are expected to be able to outlook into the smaller details. They need to audit frequently and dive deep to find out the true picture in case of discrepancies.

Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit
Disagreements are allowed and encouraged at amazon when they are backed with logical explanations. Employees are encouraged to voice their opinion but in a respectful way.

Deliver Results
Amazon wants each employee to offer high-value results on the dot. They don’t believe in settling for less due to any probable setbacks.

Strive to be Earth’s Best Employer
Amazon wants its employees to think like leaders and create a safer, more productive, diverse, higher-performing work environment. They want their people to show empathy and make work fun for themselves and others around them.

As you can see from their core value, customers sit at the heart of every process, and every core value directly or indirectly comes down to offering the best to their customers. From running usability tests on all their categories to every other level of their daily decision-making is influenced by their customer centricity.

These core values encourage employees to think outside the box. It makes them deal with issues as they occur instead of letting them hang around.

In a survey, employees agreed that the most frequently discussed core value at Amazon is execution, and the most positively discussed value is innovation.

These core values are not just a few impressive-sounding mottos included in Amazon’s company profile. They truly employ these values in their daily decision-making processes. Especially when it comes to agility, customer orientation, execution, and innovation, Amazon totally “walks the talk.”

7. Netflix


Let's delve into the details of Netflix’s corporate values-

This includes making wise choices, data-driven decisions, and wise use of resources. Rather than focusing on near-term impact, Netflix encourages employees to make decisions with a bigger picture in mind.

Netflix encourages employees to focus on the company's best interest over personal or team gain. They want their people to be humble and open-minded about great ideas.

They want their people to be courageous enough to take calculated risks, be open to failure, and be willing to take or give constructive feedback.

Netflix recognizes the importance of communication (both verbal and non-verbal) within the organization. It encourages employees to be active listeners and willing to adapt effectively to different communication styles.

Netflix emphasizes building and sustaining diverse teams with people from different backgrounds, identities, values, and cultures. It encourages its people to move beyond personal biases and respect each individual irrespective of their background or position.

Netflix wants its people to exhibit integrity, candor, and transparency.
Passion. They want their people to be passionate about their mission, i.e., entertaining the world.

Netflix wants its people to think off the wall to thrive in the constantly evolving organization. It encourages employees to see matters in a different light and come up with solutions that are simple yet impactful.

It emphasizes rapid learning and eagerness to understand consumers’ changing tastes and desires.

These nine company core values impact how Netflix hires, rewards, and promotes its employees. They also stand as an important aspect of their culture.

As Netflix puts it- “Values are what we value.”

These values reflect their culture of freedom and responsibility, independent decision-making, transparent information sharing, candid communication, and high performance.

Let's start with the value of courage. Leaders at Netflix are expected to set an example and exhibit the courage they want their people to have. This includes being courageous enough to admit their faults.

This value is best exemplified in the story Patty McCord recalls in her book “Powerful.” In the story, she recalls how CEO Reed Hastings was once involved in a heated debate with another executive Tom. So they ran an A/B test, and the results were in Tom’s favor. Reed later publicly accepted that he was wrong.

“When the data showed Tom was right, Reed openly announced to that same group, "Look, I debated hard against this, but Tom was right. Great job."

Apart from this, Netflix encourages its employees to question any action that’s inconsistent with these values. This exemplifies their value of Courage.

If you think this is cool, wait until you see their policy for entertainment, gifting, travel, and expenses, which is only five words long. It says, “Act in Netflix’s best interest.”

What could be a better illustration of the value of selflessness?

8. American Express


American Express, a leading multinational financial service provider, is founded upon the following company core values -

Customers Centrism
They understand the importance of relationships for a successful business. This makes them strive to always back their customer with their exceptional products, services, and experiences.

Make It Great
They emphasize staying meaningful to their customers by offering unparalleled standards of excellence in everything we do.

Do What’s Right
To keep the trust that customers put in them, they do things with reliability, consistency, and the highest level of integrity.

Respect People
This value emphasizes the importance of respecting one another with their diverse opinions.

Embrace Diversity
They encourage diversity of people and experiences in the organization as a medium to fuel creativity and innovation.

Stand for Inclusion
They want to sustain an inclusive culture where everyone belongs. They want a culture where every voice matters and where people of all races, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, ages, religions, disabilities, and viewpoints can thrive.

Win As a Team
They stress the importance of team performance over individual excellence. Every employee is expected to work as a team and offer their best to deliver what the team promises.

Support Communities
They respect and support their communities to thrive and make a meaningful impact in the world.

As you can see, employees and leaders at American Express are groomed to live their business core values, famously known as ‘the blue box values.’

Let’s look at what employees say about these values and how they are embedded in the Amex company culture-

  • “Beyond their individual smarts, the common thread that binds these American Express leaders is that they individually champion, share and embody the company’s shared cultural norms and principles, as defined within American Express’ Blue Box Values”-Wempy Dyocta Koto.

  • “People in American Express do respect everyone”-Dhaval Shah.

  • In a survey, 97% of employees said that they felt welcomed when they joined American Express.

In addition, their recent awards (such as Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index 2020, 2019 Working Mother 100 Best Companies, 2019 Best Workplaces for Diversity) reflect their culture of inclusion and diversity.

Amex is also well known for its top-notch customer service backed by its core value of customer centrism. Based on a survey (with more than 28,000 credit card customers), American Express ranks highest among the major credit card issuers with 838 points.

9. Spotify


Let’s explore some of the values that have helped Spotify shape its company culture-

They want their people to have an innovative mindset capable of being original and creative in their thinking. They want their people to be the pioneers.

They believe in cross-functional collaboration for stronger teams and better performance

It embodies transparency, fairness, and openness among the employees. It stops leaders from micro-managing and encourages feelings of mutual trust and respect.

Every team member is expected to be driven by a passion for learning and growing. They need to be bold enough to take big bets.

Spotify wants to make work (and the workplace) fun.

Want to know how Spotify manages to put these core values into action? Let’s find out.

Spotify’s organizational structure (that’s divided into squads, tribes, chapters, and guilds) encourages autonomy and collaboration at the same time. You can see it as a band where different instruments (or teams) work in sync to create the perfect tune (i.e., the end results).

“Spotifiers form bonds with colleagues across the company and involve others in their work, creating opportunities for cross-functional collaboration and more creative problem-solving.”
Sally Whatley.

Spotify promotes a high-trust culture that breathes communication and transparency. They have been able to achieve it through candid feedback during 1-on-1s, development talks, and town hall meetings.

In addition, their fun work environment lets employees sit, chill and work together. From Friday beers to social events, it creates opportunities for employees to socialize and collaborate, resulting in creative ideas and innovations.

10. Microsoft


Here’s what Microsoft's core values look like-

They believe in taking full responsibility for their decisions, actions, and results. Employees need to understand that each of their actions will have consequences in the company’s context.

Corporate Social Responsibility
They aim to create a sustainable future by using technologies to minimize the negative impact of their operations and products on the environment.

Diversity and inclusion
They thrive on diverse voices coming from their employees’ and customers’ experiences, strengths, and different points of view to inform, challenge, and stretch our thinking.

Trustworthy Computing
They actively work on building their Trusted Cloud on four foundational principles -Security, Privacy, Compliance, and Transparency.

Using the power of computing combined with AI, they want to keep delivering innovation that inspires people of all ages and abilities, eliminates barriers, improves lives, and strengthens communities.

Microsoft employees live by these core values. Take, for instance, the value of accountability is applied in all forms of employee surveys and reward and recognition programs. Each employee is evaluated on their accountability in order to ensure compliance with the values within the company's operations.

Microsoft is also known for keeping people and the planet in mind in whatever they do. Guided by their citizenship mission, they are going to great lengths to become carbon negative by 2030.

“Everywhere we operate, we focus on contributing to local communities in positive ways--helping to spark growth, competitiveness, and economic opportunity for all.”
Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft.

In every aspect of their business (from employees donating $158 million to non-profits to designing green data centers), Corporate Social Responsibility is evident.

To wrap up:

Now that you know how the leading companies are doing it, use this list of company core values examples as a source of inspiration. Use it to define or redefine your own set of company core values that speak who you are and put them into action.

Here are a few things you should consider before you start forging your own company values-

  • Start by understanding your organizational goals and purpose. This will serve as a foundation for creating core values that align with and support them.
  • Involve your employees and gather their input to ensure that the core values reflect their perspectives and experiences.
  • Brainstorm a list of key traits that define your company's culture and functioning, such as collaboration, honesty, innovation, and teamwork.
  • Use straightforward and relatable language to keep your core values concise and easy to remember.
  • Identify the expected behaviors for each core value to ensure they are actively lived and promoted within the company.
  • Integrate the values into company cultur and reinforce them through recognition and rewards.

This article is written by Sweta, a content marketer at Vantage Circle. Sweta loves and savors every second of communicating with the audience through her writing. Besides writing, she is also a certified teacher who loves learning new things and applying them in her life. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com.

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