The Importance of Core Values Accountability

team of employees having a meeting

Having a strong set of core values is essential for any thriving business. They guide your company not only toward achieving success but also toward doing so ethically. The combination of values and your approach to applying them contributes to building your brand’s unique character in the marketplace, too.

Yet, it’s not enough to simply have a set of key ethical standards. Accountability is also vital when it comes to maintaining your core values. Unless you are held firmly to your ethics — from both internal and external sources — they tend to be weaker. It is, therefore, essential you understand how accountability factors into your values system and what you can do to encourage its presence. 

So, let’s take a closer look at the importance of core value accountability.

Gain Clarity on Your Core Values

Clarity is one of the keys to maintain accountability when it comes to your core values. Unless your values are clear, your stakeholders are likely to get confused about them. This not only makes it difficult to maintain your values, but also for anyone to hold you accountable for them. The result is that there will tend to be negative effects on your productivity, retention, reputation, and company culture.

Your first step, therefore, should be to formalize what the core values are for your business.

Some common components of core values include:

Diversity and Inclusion

A commitment to diversity and inclusion is increasingly a common part of many companies’ core values. Accountability in this area will see your company holding itself to making genuine efforts to improve the cultural mix of the business and its influencers. You must have diversity at all levels of leadership. You should also be accountable for putting measures in place to ensure that employees from a wide range of backgrounds have the support they need to thrive.


Trust is a vital aspect of the values system of any organization. Keeping integrity at the heart of your company helps to build and bolster the trust your consumers, employees, and other industry contributors have for you. Accountability for this element of your values requires holding your workers and executives to strict ethical standards at all times. There will likely be more generalized ethics you apply alongside moral codes specific to your industry and organization.


Demonstrating authentic respect helps businesses to build stronger relationships with consumers, staff, and the wider community. Accountable behavior in this category can take a range of forms. It may involve treating your employees fairly. It can be creating a customer experience that is focused on meeting everyone’s needs equally. Respect may also take the form of mitigating your company’s negative impact on the local ecosystem and the wider environment.

Communicate Your Values Regularly

Once you have clarity on the components, it’s important to keep communicating these to your stakeholders. It’s difficult to be accountable for your core values if nobody else knows what these are. A commitment to regularly asserting your standards helps everyone to recognize what the company prioritizes, what behavior is expected from contributors, and what they can expect in return. Your repeated promotion of these also communicates that you hold your values in high regard and that any deviation from them should be addressed.

Make your core values a part of your training and development process from the earliest opportunity. Outline them in employee onboarding documents and orientation discussions. Make sure all workers understand how values are applied throughout each activity and what to do if they feel the standards aren’t being met. With each training course throughout development and progression, ensure that there is guidance on how to apply the core values in new roles and tasks. This is particularly important in developing workers in leadership positions. 

Another venue for communicating your core values is your company marketing. After all, it’s important for your consumers to hold you accountable for your core values, too. This can be in the form of videos about how you apply your ethical standards behind-the-scenes. Even the homepage of your website should include references to your values in clear language. 

Maintain Methods of Assessment

One of the key components of being accountable for your values is to review how effectively and consistently they’re being applied. It is, therefore, important to identify and adopt methods of assessment in relation to these standards. This can certainly be challenging as many values are relatively subjective and aren’t easily measurable by objective metrics. It’s wise to utilize an approach that combines both hard data and opinions.

Performance reviews can be a valuable form of assessment. Have leaders and supervisors note their observations of team members’ applications of the values throughout the assessment period. Encourage employees to give examples of their colleagues’ positive representation of the brand standards. In individual reviews, ask employees to talk about how they feel they’ve applied the values and where they can improve.

Another point of assessment could be in relation to values surrounding company culture and the treatment of staff. These are areas where reviewing hard metrics can help you understand your efficacy and be more accountable. Regularly reviewing staff turnover, employee satisfaction, and productivity can help you ascertain whether your company culture is as supportive as your values claim it to be. Similarly, examining employee demographics in all areas of the business can highlight the efficacy of your values related to diversity and inclusivity.

Invite Feedback

An important part of core values accountability is gaining insights from others. Yes, your company should be dedicated to holding itself accountable. However, you should also actively encourage others both within the organization and outside of it to hold the company to its actions in relation to the core values. This should involve actively inviting feedback.

One effective way to approach this is through employee surveys. A couple of times a year you can issue pulse surveys or employee experience surveys that have sections centered around how closely the business maintains its company values. It’s also worth giving access to anonymous open feedback channels. This empowers staff to hold the business accountable for actions contrary to the values as and when they occur. The result of this is that leaders can take more timely action.

Similarly, you should invite consumers and supply partners to approach you should they feel your brand’s conduct conflicts with its values. Be transparent about this wherever possible, including discussing issues on your social media channels. This not only shows that you’re open to consumers’ thoughts on your actions but also that you’re not trying to hide the problems. It’s an authentic approach to both maintaining consumer relationships and demonstrating core values accountability.

Wrapping Up

Core values accountability helps you to maintain your ethical standards and keep them a solid component of your brand. You can be effective here by first gaining clarity on what your core values are and how they feature as part of your operations. By communicating your values regularly, you reinforce their importance to the business and set expectations for being held accountable for them. You must also commit to utilizing methods of assessing how effectively your values are applied in your company so you can address any issues. Importantly, inviting both internal and external stakeholders to give feedback on your company’s application of its values is an effective and transparent route to authentic accountability.