Core values in the workplace

Every day, people are showing others what their guiding principles and morals are. By the decisions you have to make, big and small, you indicate the ethics and code of conduct by which you operate. Your personal traits direct even seemingly insignificant actions and decisions. These combine to make up your core values.

Core values are a vital part of who we are as individuals, both in our personal lives and in the business world. Not only does it direct how we act and what we do, but it affects those around us. Others take notice of our core values and make assessments of us. They determine who we are, what we stand for, and what we might do in the future based on our core values. Understanding your core values will help you to use them in the proper context to advance your career or organization.

Core values meaning

Core values are the qualities and characteristics that direct your decisions and actions in life. These core values instruct how you will conduct yourself in various situations. Your core values are formed from your deeply held beliefs. These may have been ingrained in you from childhood through your parent’s training, or you may have developed them through other life experiences. Some people change their foundational beliefs when they get older due to experiencing life’s challenges or hardships, while others find their childhood core values are strengthened through adversity.

An organization may have core values too.

Importance of core values

Core values are important in several ways for individuals and organizations.

Importance of core values for an organization

Core values can serve as part of an organization’s branding image. They make up how the company is perceived by the consumer. Since core values drive an organization’s actions, they will form the workplace culture. This can attract certain types of employees who align with the company culture, thus solidifying the core values. It’s vital to create a company vision that reflects the core values of the organization and then be sure the leadership team and senior executives live by those values.

Importance of core values on a resume

Core values translate as soft skills on a resume. These also will show through in the job descriptions and how you’ve transitioned to various positions. It’s essential that you recognize what your core values are so that you can weave them into your resume. Core values are also helpful to have on the job when difficult situations arise because they serve as a guiding principle.

Top core values

Some top examples of core values in the workplace are as follows:


If one of your core values is transparency, you are authentic in all your transactions. Transparency is an attractive quality to have. Not many people are confident enough to be their authentic selves. An employer can feel comfortable knowing what they are getting when hiring someone who displays a transparent, genuine personality.


Motivating yourself can be challenging, especially if you don’t have something propelling you forward. Perseverance involves finding the inner strength and purpose to push forward even when the task is difficult or dull. It requires staying at the job when you feel the problems are insurmountable and finding the self-motivation to press forward. Employers are always looking for people with this core value.


Integrity consists of doing what’s right for the sake of doing the morally right thing. You make the right choices in good times and bad and do so when no one is looking. Additionally, you are honest in your dealings and your words. You are committed to doing your best work for the company and the customers. You value a job well done.


Working together as a team is an essential part of almost all jobs. Cooperativeness is a key component of team collaboration, whether you are dealing with a small group project or in a big business meeting. Being able to collaborate effectively will be instrumental in resolving problems and getting the job done.


Dependable employees are in high demand. An employer can count on reliable employees to be on time, pitch in when needed, and turn in quality work. Reliable employees are consistent in their work performance and their behavior. The employer and teammates know what to expect from them, which makes working with these individuals easy.

Other core values to list

There are plenty of other core values that employers desire in an employee. You can list as many as you have on your resume. Some additional core values include:

  • Accepting
  • Accountable
  • Adventurous
  • Autonomous
  • Balanced
  • Bold
  • Candid
  • Compassionate
  • Communicative
  • Creative
  • Curious
  • Determined
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Enthusiastic
  • Fair
  • Flexible
  • Friendly
  • High achiever
  • Hard worker
  • Honest
  • Humble
  • Humorous
  • Impactful
  • Ingenuity
  • Innovative
  • Knowledgeable
  • Leadership
  • Loyal
  • Networker
  • Patient
  • Peaceful
  • Positive
  • Quality
  • Relationships
  • Respectful
  • Responsible
  • Self-improvement
  • Successful
  • Teamwork
  • Tenacity
  • Time management
  • Trustworthiness
  • Wisdom
  • Work ethic

Last thoughts on core values in the workplace

Once a company has identified its core values and made them known, it becomes part of its brand image (as stated earlier). This brand image is an essential part of their company identity. That means that everyone needs to adhere to the image and values, especially the senior management and leadership team. If a company’s behavior contradicts one of its core values, it could be a disastrous PR situation.

Individuals are just as bound to live by their core values, too. Once you advertise your values on your resume, you want to be sure you follow through and live by them. Be sure you don’t write down any core values you feel you don’t have or aren’t striving to achieve.