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  3. Learn about and identify your work values. With 20 examples
Learn about and identify your work values. With 20 examples

Learn about and identify your work values. With 20 examples

  • What are work values?
  • How to identify your core values
  • Self-reflection
  • Define your priorities
  • Explore your passions
  • Prioritize your list
  • Work values examples
  • Key takeaways

Looking for a fulfilling career? It starts with understanding your core work values. This guide explains what work values are, how to identify them, and 20 examples to spark inspiration.

The key to a successful and fulfilling career begins with a profound understanding of your core work values. These values, stemming from your beliefs and principles, serve as the compass guiding your professional journey. Identifying them is not merely an exercise in self-reflection; it's a strategic move that lays the foundation for a purpose-driven and satisfying work life.

In this article, we discuss the process of identifying your core work values to ensure your career aligns with what truly matters to you and enables you to thrive. 

We’ll cover:

  • What work values are

  • How to identify your core values

  • 20 work values examples

What are work values?

If you’re not happy at work, there may be a misalignment with your core values. So, it’s important to recognize what they are so you can course correct and lean into your career happiness.

Work values are the principles, beliefs, and standards that individuals consider important in their professional lives. These values guide their behavior, decisions, and attitudes toward work-related activities. Work values can vary significantly among individuals and heavily influence career choices, job satisfaction, and overall well-being in the workplace. 

Here are some common types of work values: 

  • Intrinsic values stem from personal satisfaction and fulfillment within the job.

  • Extrinsic values are associated with external rewards like salary, benefits, and work-life balance.

  • Social values relate to interactions with colleagues, teamwork, diversity, and societal impact.

  • Autonomy and independence values focus on the desire for self-direction and flexibility in the workplace.

  • Learning and growth values are centered on continuous development, innovation, and acquiring new skills.

  • Ethical values emphasize integrity, honesty, and fair treatment in professional settings.

How to identify your core values

Identifying your core values is a crucial step in understanding what drives your decisions and actions, both personally and professionally. Here are some steps to take to identify your core values:


Take time to reflect on your life experiences, both positive and negative. Consider moments when you felt truly fulfilled or proud. What values were present in those moments?

Define your priorities

List what matters most to you in various aspects of life: career, relationships, personal development, and community involvement. Prioritize these aspects to reveal your core values. 

Explore your passions

Consider your hobbies, interests, and activities that bring you joy. What aspects of these pursuits align with your beliefs and principles? 

Prioritize your list

Once you've identified potential values, prioritize them. Determine which values are non-negotiable and essential to your sense of self.

As you create your list, recognize that your values can evolve. Periodically revisit and refine your list as you gain new experiences and insights and you grow. 

Work values examples

If you’re still not sure about your work values, here are 20 examples with brief explanations to help get your wheels turning.

  • Integrity. Upholding honesty and ethical behavior in all professional interactions.

  • Accountability. Taking responsibility for your actions and delivering on commitments.

  • Dependability. Consistently meeting deadlines and delivering high-quality work.

  • Autonomy. Enjoying the freedom to work independently and make decisions.

  • Teamwork. Collaborating effectively with colleagues to achieve common goals.

  • Innovation. Valuing creativity and actively seeking new and improved ways of working.

  • Adaptability. Embracing change and quickly adjusting to new situations.

  • Professionalism. Conducting yourself with a high level of professionalism in all work-related activities.

  • Leadership. Demonstrating the ability to lead, motivate, and inspire others.

  • Recognition. Valuing acknowledgment and appreciation for your contributions.

  • Work-Life balance. Prioritizing a healthy balance between professional and personal life.

  • Learning and development. Continuously seeking opportunities for personal and professional growth.

  • Job security. Placing importance on stable and secure employment.

  • Fair compensation. Being fairly compensated for your skills, expertise, and contributions.

  • Social responsibility. Working for organizations that align with your values and contribute positively to society.

  • Creativity. Enjoying opportunities to express creativity and innovation in your work.

  • Flexibility. Valuing the ability to adapt your work schedule or environment to better suit your needs.

  • Challenge. Seeking roles that provide intellectual or professional challenges.

  • Recognition. Appreciating acknowledgment and praise for your achievements.

  • Diversity and inclusion. Valuing workplaces that embrace diversity and promote an inclusive culture.

Need support nailing down your ideal job? Our career pathways builder features a detailed overview of the role you want, including the job title, description, national salary, and market demand. 

Key takeaways

  1. Work values are the guiding principles that influence behavior, decisions, and attitudes in the professional realm.

  2. Intrinsic, extrinsic, social, autonomy, learning and growth, and ethical values shape individuals' perspectives on their work.

  3. Through self-reflection, defining priorities, exploring passions, and prioritizing values, individuals can identify their core work values.

  4. Recognize that values can evolve with experiences, necessitating periodic reflection and refinement of the identified core values.

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