What Are Work Values? (With Definitions and Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 12 October 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Having a set of core work values provides the foundation for your character in the workplace. You may share these values with your colleagues, and they can contribute to you as a professional and your overall career. Being aware of your values can help you experience fulfilment in your job, develop an appreciation for the responsibilities you undertake and gain a sense of belonging and involvement in the workplace. In this article, we explore what work values are, discuss their importance in the workplace and show how to demonstrate the different types of values.

What are work values?

Work values are essentially a collection of qualities, principles, ideals and beliefs that relate to your workplace. They underpin the motivation, attitude and behaviour that influence your working style and the decisions that you make at work and throughout your career. These values can have a significant impact on how you work with others, the personal goals and aspirations that you have and the milestones that you accomplish. As a professional, your values may align with those of the company and your colleagues. Your core work values also affect how stable your career is and the direction it can take.

Why are core values important?

Your core values play an important role in the success of your job and your career. You and your colleagues grow to share important values that reflect the company's over the course of your collaborative projects. Working at a company whose values align with your own can ensure that you enjoy fulfilment, productivity, security and career advancement. You may even learn new values and inculcate them as a part of your professional character in the workplace, which influences your decisions, personal life and leadership skills.

Related: 15 Characteristics of Professionalism in the Workplace

Different kinds of workplace core values

Below are the different kinds of values that exist in the workplace:

Intrinsic

Values that are intrinsic in nature are those that involve you undertaking tasks and responsibilities that lead to a fulfilling conclusion. These are the values that enable you to derive meaning from what you do in your work and don't focus on external rewards, such as monetary compensation. It allows you to consider seeking opportunities where you can further develop yourself personally and professionally such as learning new skills and knowledge. These values also help you focus on your job and career goals and aspirations. Some examples include:

  • ensuring high standards in delivering quality products and services

  • providing mentorship to new professionals or interns

  • volunteering for community events

  • demonstrating reliability

  • undertaking new challenges to your responsibilities

  • embracing and adapting to changes

Extrinsic

Extrinsic values are those values that you look to as the reward and compensation for your efforts in your work. As the term suggests, they're external rewards you receive for the work that you've done, such as a salary, job security, promotions, awards and paid time off. Most companies provide perks and benefits for you to enjoy as an outcome of all the contributions that you make towards your team and the company. These values don't focus on the meaningfulness and fulfilment that you derive from your responsibilities. Some examples include:

  • having flexibility in your work schedule

  • being able to work remotely

  • having insurance benefits for yourself and your family

  • having access to learning and development opportunities

  • having adequate vacation time

  • working in an office with great facilities

Social

Social values are those that focus on your relationships with others and the social responsibilities you can undertake that have an impact on people around you that are both internal and external to the company. Social values can also be intrinsic, as you don't focus on the material rewards and outcomes. Social values are those that a company tries to inculcate in their staff members, which forms the basis of a company's culture and the way team members interact with each other. Some examples of social values include:

  • participating in team and company social activities

  • meeting with colleagues outside the workplace at social gatherings

  • volunteering at and donating to charities

  • being environmentally conscious

  • participating in events to raise awareness of social causes

Related: What Are Social Skills? (Definition, Examples and Tips)

Lifestyle

Lifestyle values reflect your personal preferences and decisions that impact the way you live, such as where you choose to live, what leisurely activities you engage in and the choices you make towards your lifestyle goals. Such values can have both intrinsic and extrinsic qualities. Your job and associated responsibilities have a significant impact on your lifestyle, which can influence you to choose roles that allow you to maintain your lifestyle values. Some examples of these include:

  • devoting time for hobbies

  • making financial decisions for your future

  • choosing to own a home

  • choosing a particular location to live

  • maintaining work-life balance

  • spending time with family and friends

Examples of different types of workplace values

The values that you have and demonstrate in the workplace are a reflection of who you are as a professional to your colleagues, managers and the wider company. The right combination of these values can help you succeed in your job and your career. Below are some examples of the different values that you can find in the workplace:

Personal values

Personal values help shape who you are as an individual at the workplace and the way or style of working. Below are some examples of personal values:

  • Usefulness: Some people like being in a position to help others and providing assistance within the role or sometimes beyond it. Placing value in demonstrating your usefulness can motivate you to be of help and assistance at work.

  • Accomplishment: Some get their motivation from seeking accomplishment through receiving awards, recognition or promotions at work. You may work in a competitive role with many responsibilities with a lot of focus on your career and job.

  • Compensation: You may strive to work hard and take on responsibilities that can provide you with financial success. Receiving compensation for your efforts can be a source of motivation and stability.

  • Autonomy: Having the freedom to make decisions about achieving work goals instils a sense of empowerment in the workplace. It can be motivating to know that the company trusts you to achieve your goals and targets using your own methods.

  • Enthusiasm: Showing your interest, passion and enthusiasm to a company may show that you have the drive to put in your best effort because you enjoy what you're doing. It may involve compromising on your lifestyle values to achieve your career goals.

Team values

These are values that demonstrate the way you behave and undertake your responsibilities in a team. It embodies the collective values that you have when working in a team that you share with others. Below are some examples of team values:

  • Trustworthiness and reliability: Successful teams are those that have trust and rely on each other to accomplish goals and targets. It ensures that a team member can rely on another for help and also maintains accountability.

  • Communicative: Teams that enjoy success value communication between one another and the company. This affects work performance, including asking meaningful questions, clearing doubts on issues in a project and promotes a collaborative environment where team members can solve problems.

  • Loyalty: Valuing loyalty enhances your dedication and commitment to your team and the company. Being loyal demonstrates to your team that you can commit to fulfilling goals and targets that can lead to long-term success.

  • Impartiality: Successful teams value being fair to every member, ensuring that everyone gets an equal opportunity in the responsibilities they undertake. It also values everyone sharing ideas and having a stake in the decision-making process.

  • Integrity: Teams that value their members acting ethically and with integrity fosters a safe, functional and efficient working environment. This can range from having empathy towards other members and admitting to failures and learning from them.

Related: Essential Qualities of a Powerful Team Player

Company values

Companies choose values to emphasise their beliefs and decisions that define what they are and how they plan to carry out their mission and vision. This influences their team members and relationships with relevant stakeholders who have an interest in the company. Below are some examples of such values:

  • Transparency and accountability: A company that values transparency and accountability can openly admit their mistakes and problems while also formulating the steps to solve them. It impacts their reputation in the industry and how team members and customers perceive them.

  • Social responsibility: Placing value on social responsibilities demonstrates what social values a company feels are important beyond the workplace. Companies can showcase this by engaging in community events, charitable donations and raising awareness of social issues by publicly sharing their opinion.

  • Diversity and inclusion: Companies that value diversity may show it through their hiring practices and implement policies that prevent discrimination in the workplace. They also create an open environment for staff members to share their concerns to promote inclusion and adherence to such policies.

  • Innovation: Companies valuing innovation show commitment to change, introducing new ideas and continuous learning. They encourage their staff members to find new solutions to problems and foster a culture that thrives on change.

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