In today's world of highly informed employees, customers and watchdogs, it's imperative that you clearly state your company's values.

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Your core values say a lot about your mission, who you hire, who seeks a job at your company, and how well you relate to the public. Think of your core values as an opportunity to define your company's mission for current and prospective employees, customers, shareholders and the media, and as a measuring stick to keep you focused on upholding that mission.

Top Employers are Clear About Core Values

If you're not convinced that publicizing your values is all that important, try this: Spend a half hour scanning the websites of some of the companies you admire. On each site, look for the page that states the company's values. If the company is reputable, this should be easy to find-whether you are looking at a local company or global one.

Google is continually ranked high on the best-places-to-work lists. What are core values at Google? They are listed on its website under the heading 'Ten things we know to be true' and lead with:

  • Focus on the user and all else will follow.
  • It's best to do one thing really, really well.
  • Fast is better than slow.

Important for Small Businesses, Too

Even if you're not as big as Google, you should be clear about what your company's core values are. Even if you don't have a website, know why you do what you do and make sure your employees know, too.

If you own a restaurant, some good core values can include how you value your customers, that your service is always personable, etc. If you make sustainability and green practices part of your values, by all means include these points.

A landscaper may want to include dependability, quality service and responsiveness among its core values.

Employees Want to Know Your Company Values

You want to hire the best employees possible, so be prepared-they will want to know your values as much as you want to know about theirs.

'No employee should ever have to compromise their values for a job,' says Bethany Myers, a career consultant and owner of career coaching firm BLM Consulting, in a Career Builder article. 'For example, I value honesty and integrity. If a company is in the practice of cutting corners, bending rules or just outright breaking laws, then they are not right for me.'

Developing your core company values is only the beginning. An employer also has to put them into practice. If you don't, word will get out, thanks in part to the Internet. And falling short of adhering to your values can result in you losing potential employees who really want to contribute to your company's success. Clearly stating-and living up to-a set of core values is a win-win scenario for companies, employees and customers.

Ways to Communicate Your Values

Most employee handbooks provide information about benefits, workplace expectations and other policies. Adding in your core values can personalize what your business is all about, and help customers and potential employees more clearly understand what's important to your organization.

Larger Companies Use Mix of Resources

Your human resources department can share these values with employees through the handbook, email communications, website articles, posters, fliers, contests, new employee orientation, training and workshops. Larger companies rely on their communications departments to help inform employees about a company's core values through media such as email, profile stories, and videos about employees and how they exemplify your values.

Options For Small Businesses

For smaller operations, a simple company lunch provides great opportunities to spell out your core values. You can also have your core values in print form to give to your employees, including on magnetic business cards, fliers and brochures that can be printed at your local stationery store.

Customers Identify With Your Company Values

Customers today are better informed than ever about a company's practices, beliefs, goals, workplace environment and products. They also want to know about your core values. Do you wreak havoc on the environment, or are you committed to 'green' practices? What kind of atmosphere do your employees work in? Are you committed to helping communities where you are located?

Just as it's easy to communicate the core values to employees, you also need to make them clear to your customers. Your website is the main location to state these values. This will provide your employees, customers, the media and other interested parties an easy-to-use resource on what your company believes.

Remember, it's much better that you control the message about your core values than it is for someone else outside the company to control it for you.

Get started Start Your Employee Handbook Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

Get started Start Your Employee Handbook Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.