What are your company's core values? If you can't answer
that, it's worth taking some time to figure it out. One of my
clients recently asked about how core values should come into
play when hiring and firing, and it got me thinking about the
importance of the overall concept.
Core values affect the customer service experience – for
external customers as well as internal customers (employees).
They can attract customers to do business with you, and be a
motivating factor for employees to enjoy their work and do it
If you are at the stage of determining your company's core
values, begin by thinking of words and phrases that you would
use to describe yourself. And, what words would customers use to
describe you? Hopefully they are the same, and you're in
alignment with the customer. These words and phrases can be the
basis of the values that you want to be known by.
What Does Your Company Stand For?
Do you want to be perceived as
being helpful, honest, on the cutting edge, fun, driven? The
list is endless, and as you can see, it is made up of simple
words and concepts that project a certain image. Consider the
few words that I've mentioned, and you can probably name a
company that has that quality as a core value. They have
succeeded in building that value into the company culture, and
it is understood – by customers and employees.
These "core values" are more than just aspirations or
suggestions – everyone who works for the company must be
committed to them. They are as important and permanent as your
company vision or mission statement, and may be interconnected
The Zappos Experience
Someone who has a firm grasp on his company's core values is
Tony Hsieh, founder and leader of Zappos, the online shoe
retailer. Zappos is one of my all-time favorite companies.
It is known for its outstanding customer service and is an
excellent example of how to run a customer-centric organization.
In his bestselling book, Delivering Happiness, Hsieh describes
the company's core values and how they affect hiring decisions.
Employees are not selected based on their height or weight,
race or religion, tattoos or piercings or the lack thereof.
What's important is the prospective employee's personality and
attitude and how he or she could fulfill Zappos' core
values, which include a passion for service, total transparency,
a willingness to embrace and drive change, a positive team and
family spirit, fun and a little weirdness. These are values that
impact the customer service experience, and they are what
Zappos is looking for in each employee.
Define Your Values
So, if you don't have clearly defined core values, now is the
time to determine what they should be. What is important to your
company and its mission? Don't rush the process – take your time
and involve people from all parts of the company. If they help
to define the core values, they are already on the road to
Perhaps you can already list your well-defined core values, but
can your employees? If not, do something about it! Communicate
your core values in a variety of ways such as in the company
newsletter or at a special event. In order to live them, the
employees first need to learn them.
About the Author
Shep Hyken is the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard
Presentations. As a professional speaker and best-selling
author, Shep helps companies develop loyal relationships with
their customers and employees. For more information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit www.hyken.com.