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I CARE Core Values, Characteristics, and Customer Experience Principles

I CARE Wall with VA employees standing in front

Core Values

VA’s Core Values of Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, and Excellence define who we are as VA employees and how we will fulfill our sacred obligation to care for Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors. They describe the organization's culture and serve as the foundation for the way VA employees should interact with Veterans, fellow employees, and others outside the organization. I CARE Core Values and Characteristics are codified in our VA regulations at 38 C.F.R. Part 0.

  • Integrity: Act with high moral principle. Adhere to the highest professional standards. Maintain the trust and confidence of all with whom I engage.
  • Commitment: Work diligently to serve Veterans and other beneficiaries. Be driven by an earnest belief in VA’s mission. Fulfill my individual responsibilities and organizational responsibilities.
  • Advocacy: Be truly Veteran-centric by identifying, fully considering, and appropriately advancing the interests of Veterans and other beneficiaries.
  • Respect: Treat all those I serve and with whom I work with dignity and respect. Show respect to earn it.
  • Excellence: Strive for the highest quality and continuous improvement. Be thoughtful and decisive in leadership, accountable for my actions, willing to admit mistakes, and rigorous in correcting them.
Core Characteristics

These define “what we stand for,” and what VA strives to be as an organization. They embody the qualities of VA employees to support VA’s mission and commitment to Veterans, their families, and beneficiaries. The Characteristics are Trustworthy, Accessible, Quality, Agile, Innovative, and Integrated.

  • Trustworthy: VA earns the trust of those it serves – every day – through the actions of all employees.
  • Accessible: VA engages and welcomes Veterans and other beneficiaries, facilitating their use of the entire array of its services. Each interaction will be positive and productive.
  • Quality: VA provides the highest standard of care and services to Veterans and beneficiaries while managing the cost of its programs and being efficient stewards of all resources entrusted to it by the American people.
  • Innovative: VA prizes curiosity and initiative, encourages creative contributions from all employees, seeks continuous improvement, and adapts to remain at the forefront in knowledge, proficiency, and capability to deliver the highest standard of care and services.
  • Agile: VA anticipates and adapts quickly to current challenges and new requirements by continuously assessing the environment in which it operates and devising solutions to better serve Veterans, other beneficiaries, and Service members.
  • Integrated: VA links care and services across the Department; other federal, state, and local agencies; partners; and Veterans Services Organizations to provide useful and understandable programs to Veterans and other beneficiaries. VA’s relationship with the Department of Defense is unique, and VA will nurture it for the benefit of Veterans and Service members.
Customer Experience (CX) Principles

VA will provide the best customer experience in its delivery of care, benefits, and memorial services to Veterans, servicemembers, their families, caregivers, and survivors. The delivery of exceptional customer experience is the responsibility of all VA employees and will be guided by VA’s Core Values and Characteristics. Customer experience is the product of interactions between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship. VA measures these interactions through Ease, Effectiveness, and Emotion, all of which impact the overall trust the customer has in the organization.

  • Ease: VA will make access to VA care, benefits, and memorial services smooth and easy.
  • Effectiveness: VA will deliver care, benefits, and memorial services to the customer’s satisfaction.
  • Emotion: VA will deliver care, benefits, and memorial services in a manner that makes customers feel honored and valued in their interactions with VA.

VA will use customer experience data and insights in strategy development and decision-making to ensure that the voice of Veterans, Service members, their families, caregivers, and survivors inform how VA delivers care, benefits, and memorial services.

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