What does a company stand for? What values do its employees embody? What do its products contribute to the world? Answering these questions succinctly but meaningfully is challenging but worth pursuing to the many companies that craft “core value statements” or “mission statements” to anchor every aspect of a business in a set of commonly-held beliefs and commitments. These statements “become the deeply ingrained principle and fabric that guide employee behavior and company decisions and actions—the behaviors the company and employees expect of themselves,” says Eric Jacobson, a former executive who writes about management and leadership in Kansas City, MO, “Without a statement, the company will lack soul.”

Not every company agrees—in fact some think such statements can be restrictive. “We think that a mission statement can limit our people from seeing the business through the eyes of the customer,” says Tara Darrow, a spokesperson for Nordstrom. But at their best, the statements are “true reflections of what the company believes—and management and employees are willing to live by,” says Jacobson.

These 7 companies on the 100 Best Companies to Work For list have mission or core values statements that play an active role in business practice and foster confidence and happiness in the employees who work with the values every day.