Core values are crucial for a company’s success. These values set the tone for the company’s culture, guiding decision-making and behavior at all levels of the organization. Most well-established financial institutions and insurance companies already have a list of values used in defining their mission. However, many need help with how exactly to ensure the company lives its core values.

According to the Core Values in the Workplace Survey of active and passive job seekers, 62% of organizations have a set of core values, yet nearly 16% of employees don’t think their employer upholds them. At the same time, more than 75% of respondents said it is “very important” to work for a company with a set of core values.

Values only work if you commit to them.

How Do Companies Live Their Core Values?

You can help implement your core values in your organization in a variety of ways:

  • Hire people who culturally align by determining values during the interview and vetting process
  • Teach values to employees through orientation and ongoing training
  • Incorporate values into your sales process with your proposal language
  • Make core values an essential part of performance reviews by scoring work actions tied to core values

Get Creative

If the basic suggestions aren’t working for your organization, get creative. Here are some examples of unique ways companies are sharing their core values with employees:

1. Storytelling

One unique way companies are sharing their core values with employees is through storytelling. Storytelling allows companies to illustrate their values in action and show how they have impacted the company’s history, culture, and success. For example, Patagonia, the outdoor clothing company, has a section on its website called “The Footprint Chronicles,” sharing stories about its environmental and social responsibility efforts.

2. Gamification

Gamification is another unique way companies are sharing their core values with employees. By turning core values into a game, companies can engage employees and make learning about values fun and memorable. For example, Deloitte, the consulting firm, uses gamification to teach employees leadership skills with immediate feedback on game choices.

3. Virtual reality

Virtual reality (VR) is another unique way companies are sharing their core values with employees. By using VR, companies can create immersive experiences that allow employees to experience the company’s values in action. For example, Walmart has used VR to train employees on customer service, compliance, and safety topics.

4. Visual/Audio representations

Visual representations are another unique way companies are sharing their core values with employees. By using images, graphics, and other visual elements, companies can make their values more tangible and accessible.

One homebuilder company wanted its employees to remember and frequently think of their core values. What better way to do this than create a camp sing-along type song about the values that the team could sing together that included its own hand movements? Imagine executives jumping up, chanting, and gesturing. Yes, it’s definitely embarrassing, but even the employees who only shyly sang along during meetings would find themselves remembering the values later.

5. Mutual Appreciation

One example of a company that is doing more than just setting and forgetting their values is a tech company that shares examples to teach and reward company values.

At company meetings, employees share “appreciations” that tell a story of how a specific colleague lives the company’s values and/or went above and beyond. The company wants employees to keep their values top-of-mind in an environment where the values are a living, breathing thing.

The Core Values of Financial Institutions

Core values are crucial for financial institutions, maybe even more than many other industries, because they require a deep level of consumer trust. According to The Financial Brand, 50 banks in a study mainly shared the same values, such as integrity, teamwork, excellence, commitment, honesty, etc.

Consumers trust institutions with values similar to theirs, so it’s important not to just look at what other banks and credit unions are doing and rewrite their values.

When a financial institution’s core values surround integrity, transparency, and taking care of consumers, showing them you care is a crucial part of living these core values, which can include personalizing their product or service offerings, and it could also involve helping them achieve financial wellness and stability.

How Franklin Madison Lives Its Core Values

At Franklin Madison, we take our core values very seriously. We created them to do more than make us look good; we genuinely want to live by them and want our employees to do the same. We live these values every day by focusing on how we treat one another internally, as well as how we interact externally with the community and our customers.

Franklin Madison’s core values are:

  • Well-being
  • Collaboration
  • Mutual Respect
  • Visionary
  • Excellence
  • Courage

Franklin Madison’s Senior Vice President, Insurance Services, Andrea Heger resonates “with the mutual respect, collaboration, and courage core values at Franklin Madison.” She says:

As a leader, I think the most important thing we can give to any team is the empowerment and freedom to pursue their goals with these three values, and when a company also subscribes to these values, it makes it possible. I’ve found it’s very important to directly inspire and empower employees to have the courage to partner, challenge, and innovate while maintaining respect for the individuals and their expertise. It’s during specific examples that we make impact. 

One of my favorite examples of our core values in action recently was the work with the Franklin Madison data modeling team and SeQuel Response’s data group. Both teams had the courage to ask for help, listen, and learn about each other’s goals and expertise to build a new program of data models for top SeQuel clients. It’s something I’m confident we would not have achieved without the safe space to live our values!

How to test if you are living your core values

Verifying that a corporation is living its core values can be challenging, as it involves assessing not just the company’s statements and policies but also its actions and behaviors. Here are some unique ways to help verify that your company is living its core values:

  1. Employee feedback: One of the best ways to assess whether a company is living its core values is to ask employees for feedback. Conducting employee surveys or focus groups can provide valuable insights into how employees perceive the company’s culture and values and whether they feel the company is living up to its commitments.
  2. External audits: External audits, conducted by third-party organizations, can provide an objective assessment of a company’s adherence to its core values. For example, a sustainability audit can assess a company’s environmental impact, while a social responsibility audit can assess its efforts to promote diversity and inclusion.
  3. Supplier assessments: Assessing a company’s suppliers can provide insights into whether the company is living its core values. For example, if a company commits to environmental sustainability, it should ensure that its suppliers also adhere to sustainable practices.
  4. Community engagement: A company that is living its core values should be actively engaged in its community. Verifying the company’s community engagement efforts, such as volunteer work or charitable donations, can provide insights into its commitment to its values.
  5. Data analysis: Analyzing data, such as employee retention rates, customer satisfaction scores, or environmental impact metrics, can provide insights into whether a company is living its core values. For example, if a company has a commitment to diversity and inclusion, it should track the demographics of its employees and analyze whether they are represented at all levels of the organization.

For extra points, you can not only track this internally but also display it externally. For example, Coca-Cola wants everyone to know about their goal to live their core values. Their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion page lists goals, like their ambition to have women hold 50% of senior leadership roles in their company by 2030. They’re well on their way with 38.7% women in their 2021 senior management level.

We’ve met many great leaders who understand that core values are important because they provide a clear and consistent framework for decision-making and guide behavior and actions.

By living up to your core values and partnering with other companies that live their core values, you can build a strong and resilient organization capable of achieving ambitious goals and making a positive impact in the world.