Company Culture Code, Mission Statement, Core Values: What’s the Difference?

What’s the Difference Between Culture Code, Mission Statement & Core Values?

 

Company culture code, mission statement, and core values. You hear these words thrown around a lot, but what do they really mean? And do you need them in your company?

To start, here is how CultureIQ defines each term and some go-to examples for each:

What is a company mission statement?

A company mission statement is a clear and concise definition of your company’s single most important purpose. This purpose is what guides you as a company. It’s what sets you apart. It’s what every project, initiative, and team goal should bubble up to.

An effective mission statement connects employees to your company’s ultimate purpose, and helps them understand how their work impacts the business.

Here are some examples of company mission statements:

CultureIQ: To partner with organizations and their leaders to make culture a competitive advantage.

Warby Parker: To offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.

IKEA: To create a better everyday life for the many people.

Squarespace: To make beautiful products that help people with creative ideas succeed.

Slack: To make your working life simpler, more pleasant, and more productive.

 

What are company core values?

Core values are the guiding tenets of a company. They are timeless, enduring, and intrinsically important. Core values support the company’s vision, shape the culture, and reflect the company’s identify. There are no universal core values; instead a company must decide what principles it holds most important. For more information on how to come up with core values in your company, read our Guide to Defining Your Company Values.

Here are some examples of company values:

CultureIQ values:

  • Treat ourselves and our customers with respect.
  • Be creative and resourceful.
  • Respect data and make human decisions.
  • Be open to change and maintain flexibility.
  • Celebrate and enjoy the journey.

American Express values:

  • Customer Commitment: We develop relationships that make a positive difference in our customers’ lives.
  • Quality: We deliver premium value to our customers.
  • Integrity: We uphold the highest standards in all our actions.
  • Teamwork: We work together, across boundaries, to meet the needs of our customers.
  • Respect for People: We value our people, encourage their development and reward their performance.
  • Good Citizenship: We’re good citizens in the communities in which we live and work.
  • A Will to Win: We exhibit a strong will to win in the marketplace and in every aspect of our business.
  • Personal Accountability: We are personally accountable for delivering on our commitments.

Zappos values:

  • Deliver WOW through service
  • Embrace and drive change
  • Create fun and a little weirdness
  • Be adventurous, creative, and open-minded
  • Pursue growth and learning
  • Build open and honest relationships with communication
  • Build a positive team and family spirit
  • Do more with less
  • Be passionate and determined
  • Be humble

 

What is a company culture code?

Think of a culture code as the employee handbook that specifically explains company culture. It should include your:

  • Mission statement
  • Core values
  • How to work and live by your values
  • Any company traditions
  • Any additional shared beliefs

In other words, it should outline what culture means to your company and what this looks like.

A culture code can take be a hard handbook, a virtual deck, a narrative document — whatever form it takes, it should be well documented and clearly distributed across your company. As I mentioned in a previous post, educating new hires about the company’s mission and values should be a key part of any onboarding process. Having a written culture code also comes in handy for hiring and recruiting. In fact, the Netflix culture code originated as a tool to illustrate the ins and outs of Netflix’s culture so candidates could determine if it’s an environment in which they’d thrive. 

Here are some helpful visual examples of company culture codes:

The Hubspot Culture Code

Asana Culture Code

The Motley Fool Culture Code

Netflix Culture Code

 

Do I Need a Company Mission, Values, and Culture Code?

Absolutely! At CultureIQ, we are strong advocates of living by your company mission and core values. In fact, mission and value alignment is a quality that is common to high-performance organizations. A culture code simply makes living by your mission statement and values more accessible and achievable. Together, these elements can serve as a differentiating factor for a company— both internally with employees and externally with job candidates and customers. Additionally, your culture code provides a more tangible bonding point for employees, which contributes to a sense of belonging and loyalty to an organization.

See how other companies create high-performance cultures. Download our free report.

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