Core Values in the Workplace: 84 Powerful Examples

Updated July 31, 2023

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Core values are personal ethics or ideals that guide you when making decisions, building relationships and solving problems. Identifying the values that are meaningful to you can help you develop and achieve personal and professional goals. It can also help you find jobs and companies that align with your ideals.

In this article, we discuss what core values are, provide 84 examples and explain how to identify your core values to advance your career.

Related: SMART Goals: Definitions and Examples

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5 career core values 

Core values can inform how people interact (humility, respect, honesty), the focus of a person’s or business’ work (ingenuity, creativity, data-driven) or the individual responsibilities one will hold (consistency, quality and reliability).

Though choosing personal values is an individual decision, the following are five common career core values:

1. Collaborative

As an employee, you may want to feel empowered to make decisions and take action. And while autonomy is an important core value, collaboration is also vital to your career success. Being a strong team player will help you grow within your company and your career.

2. Integrity

Valuing integrity in the workplace means that you strive to do the right thing, even when you think no one is looking. You may also value honesty, transparency and a commitment to doing what’s best for your clients, customers, teammates and company.

3. Innovation

Challenge yourself to see what’s possible to better meet the needs of your team, customers and company. You are a work in progress, striving to improve and do better. Think of creative ways to solve tough problems. Take calculated risks. Finding new ways to solve a problem can help the company move forward.

4. Growth

Often, the growth of a company follows the professional growth of its employees. Valuing growth means that you have the drive to continuously improve both yourself and your company. Growth is based on mutual success. If you value growth in the workplace, you might want to look for a company that develops its staff and provides an environment that fosters personal and professional development.

5. Service

Being service-minded or customer-oriented means that you care about providing a quality experience to the clients you serve. This value can also extend to include supporting your community and your team. Valuing service means that you aim to provide a meaningful experience to the people you serve and support.

Related: Culture vs Values: What’s the Difference?

More examples of core values

Below is a list of core values you can use as inspiration when deciding on your own core values. This list might also help you when planning answers to interview questions or understanding the core values of others.

  • Acceptance

  • Accountability

  • Achievement

  • Adaptability

  • Adventure

  • Authenticity

  • Authority

  • Autonomy

  • Balance

  • Boldness

  • Bravery

  • Candor

  • Challenge

  • Clarity

  • Collaboration

  • Compassion

  • Communication

  • Community

  • Contribution

  • Creativity

  • Curiosity

  • Dependability

  • Determination

  • Diversity

  • Empathy

  • Enthusiasm

  • Equality

  • Family

  • Fairness

  • Flexibility

  • Friendship

  • Growth

  • Happiness

  • Hard work

  • Honesty

  • Humility

  • Humor

  • Impact

  • Improvement

  • Ingenuity

  • Innovation

  • Kindness

  • Knowledge

  • Leadership

  • Learning

  • Loyalty

  • Meaningful work

  • Optimism

  • Ownership

  • Participation

  • Patience

  • Peace

  • Persistence

  • Popularity

  • Power

  • Quality

  • Recognition

  • Relationships

  • Reliability

  • Reputation

  • Respect

  • Responsibility

  • Results

  • Security

  • Self-improvement

  • Simplicity

  • Spirituality

  • Stability

  • Success

  • Sustainability

  • Teamwork

  • Tenacity

  • Time management

  • Transparency

  • Trustworthiness

  • Wealth

  • Wisdom

  • Work ethic

  • Work-life balance

Related: Interview Question: “What Motivates You?”

How to identify your core values

If you’re unsure what your core values are, consider your answers to the following questions:

  • What kind of culture do you want to work in?

  • What environment, settings or resources are necessary for you to do your best work?

  • What qualities do you feel make strong, healthy relationships?

  • What qualities do you admire most in your role models?

  • What motivates you?

  • What qualities do you wish to develop in yourself professionally and perso

Related: Core Values of a Great Leader

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How to highlight your core values during a job search

Once you have defined a few values to prioritize, you can use them in a few different ways:

1. Include core values in your resume

If you are preparing your resume for submission, it might be helpful to list your core values as they relate to the open position. Especially if you are new to the job market or have little professional experience, identifying how you like to work might be helpful for employers. If you do have work experience, you might weave core values into examples of specific accomplishments from your prior roles.

2. Align your core values with companies when searching for jobs

Search for jobs at companies that align with the type of work you want to do, the culture you want to be in and the mission you want to work toward. Carefully review the job description for ways your core values would be relevant and helpful in the role. You could also do company research to ensure the company’s mission and core values align with your own.

3. Discuss your core values during interviews

Many interviewers will ask questions specifically about the qualities that are most important to you. These questions might include, “What motivates you?”, “What type of employee are you?” or “Why did you choose to apply here?” You can use your core values to answer these questions and to provide context for your most important accomplishments. For example, if you helped your previous company increase productivity by 15%, you can explain how you value responsibility, time management and teamwork.

Read more: 15 Professional Values for a Successful Career

Frequently asked questions

Can culture influence core values, or are they universal?

While some core values may have a degree of universality, many have at least some cultural influence. Core values often emerge from social, religious or philosophical traditions that vary across cultures. For example, the value of individualism may receive more emphasis in Western cultures, while collectivism and interdependence may be more prominent in Eastern cultures. Cultural values shape the beliefs and norms of a society, which can ultimately influence the core values of people within that cultural context.

Why are core values important in personal development?

Core values provide a framework for making decisions and improving your self-worth. By clarifying core values, you can develop a sense of purpose and make choices that are in harmony with your true self.

Can core values change over time?

Core values often change as people grow older and gain more experience. Life events, personal growth and changes in circumstances may all contribute to the evolution of core values. To help in this process, you can periodically reassess your values to determine if they still work well with your current beliefs and aspirations.

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