5 Companies Actually Living their Core Values

September 8, 2014 - 6 minute read - Posted by

Core Values have been getting a lot of attention lately. And it’s no surprise considering the upside to having good core values. Things like higher employee retention, increased employee engagement, and the ability to attract strong talent are just some of the ways core values are impacting organizations.

But companies making the news with great core values are doing more than just having core values, they are living them.

Many people make the mistake of just creating core values and then stopping there. Yet, for core values to be effective, you need to ensure everything you do relates back to them. You need to live and breathe them every day. They literally need to ooze out of your company pores. Here are five companies who do this well:


Zappos pretty much re-invented core values. CEO Tony Hsieh wanted to build a business based around a simple idea: if you get the culture right, then everything else that you need to be successful will fall into place. They did this by creating some pretty cool core values. Their core values (and there are 10 of them!) include: Create fun and a little weirdness, Deliver WOW through service, and Be Humble.

Zappos went one step further though. They ensured employees were living the values in everything they do. For example, when hiring they discovered a lot of really smart, talented people. But they also found these people to be egotistical. So they didn’t get hired. Why? Because egotistical people didn’t align with their core value of being humble. Sticking to this value was probably not easy; especially when stellar candidates come along. Yet Zappos knows that if they make excuses, they aren’t living their core values.

Avis Budget Group

When Avis Budget Group asked their employees what was missing, the message was clear. No recognition for any hard work. So, they took steps to fix this. They created a recognition program. But not just any recognition program–one tied to their core values.

The result was an increased awareness of what the company stands for as well as an understanding of the company’s core values. They correlated a 3.8% decrease in turnover during a time when turnover was actually increasing. This saved them an estimated $11 million. Also, over 95% of employees who received recognition said they felt like part of a company.

Southwest Air

Southwest Airlines is another example of a company that lives its core values. Their cofounder was committed to the core value of customer service. So, like Zappos, they incorporated that value into their hiring process. They ensured they only hired enthusiastic, outgoing, and friendly people. Regardless of how impressive some other candidates appeared, they were turned away if they were not a match for their core value. It’s hard to argue this when Southwest Airlines has been consistently profitable for more than 40 years.


Hootsuite is a great example because they were able to retain their core values during rapid growth. Retaining culture and core values is simple when you have 10 employees; not so much when you reach triple digits. It was important to them that their employees understand that while the company may go through change and growth, their values are core to their culture.

Core values like hustle, hard work, and entrepreneurialism are all qualities Hootsuite searches for when they hire. They also ensure that candidates know and feel comfortable with these values. Hootsuite also isn’t just one office, they have multiple locations around the world. They have to ensure the core values are understood everywhere.

Hootsuite also lives their values by tying in recognition to their core values. As a 7Geese customer, they have created actual badges within our platform that enables them to recognize employees, and then relate it directly to a core value.


At 7Geese ALL of our recognition is tied directly into our core values. We use the Recognition Center on our platform that makes this really easy. For example, if I want to appreciate my colleague Wendy on her ability to quickly organize an office relocation, then I would go into the Recognition Center, write out the recognition, and then tie it to into our core value of “Making it Happen”.

When you tie recognition into your values it is SO easy to live your values.

On a personal note, of all the industries and companies I have worked with in my career, this is the first time I have ever been aware of what my company’s core values are.

If core values are important to your business, and you want your employees to LIVE them, then you have to make that process easy.

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