A company’s mission and values should carry weight. Collectively, they should be special enough to attract talented job seekers, yet resilient enough to keep driving employees toward daily success year after year.
From its products to its people to its company culture, mission statements impact almost all aspects of a business. Keeping those foundational principles top of mind for employees requires more work than printing an organization’s values on free t-shirts, however.
We caught up with six Boston leaders who shared their approaches to keeping employees galvanized behind their respective company missions. They recommended simple, yet effective practices: hiring teammates whose values inherently align with the organization; celebrating employees who recently embodied the values; encouraging team members to internalize customer feedback; and thinking like users.
Rapid7’s platform aims to help organizations protect their businesses with analytics- and automation-based security operations services. VP of Engineering Sam Adams said the company’s customer-centric mission is built by the team’s ownership of the culture.
How Rapid7 translates its mission into specific actions: I think it’s important to focus on the customer when making a company mission tangible. If a mission is saying one thing but customers need something different, that’s when the team starts scratching their heads. Translating a lofty mission into the everyday needs of customers is an art.
What attracted me to the company was that it’s not satisfied just selling a lot of software. It wants to help customers succeed in an industry that has had a hard time making clients successful. And when a culture and mission align, the team gets it. The real power of a customer-centric mission is connecting it to the staff’s day to day and making it part of the fabric of the company.
Translating a lofty mission into the everyday needs of customers is an art.”
How company culture reflects the mission: Core values are really about reminding people to do what they are already inclined to do, but sometimes lose track of. My favorite value is “be an advocate” because it reminds employees that they were hired because we think they’re great people. People were hired because of their ideas and opinions, not simply to complete task after task. The value asks employees to always question whether we’re doing what’s best for the customer. Then it empowers them to speak up if that is not the case.
How team members impact the mission: Everything starts with team-building. Building a team of talented engineers attracts other talented developers, for instance. When you build a team of people who want to solve meaningful problems, what you are really building is a culture. A lot of companies think culture is owned by the leaders — and they obviously play a huge role in culture development — but the team truly owns it.
Our customer-centric culture was exemplified recently when the support team flagged an issue that was causing a lot of customer pain. A design decision was made that seemed rational on paper but just wasn’t working. Rather than one team defining their decision or another team punishing the mistake, everyone rolled up our sleeves and worked with the support team to figure out how to fix the issue and make the customer experience better.
Jobcase is a social platform dedicated to helping workers prepare for and find careers through networking and other resources, like employees who volunteer their free time to support users, CTO Arthur Thompson said.
How Jobcase translates its mission into specific actions: Our mission is to empower the world’s workers, and a key part of that is helping to build a more even playing field for people of all backgrounds and experiences. We use this principle for our own hiring by avoiding some typical recruitment hurdles, such as having a traditional four-year degree as a prerequisite for our jobs. We found that there’s a ton of talented folks who would otherwise get filtered out by an often arbitrary filter like a degree requirement.
We center almost all of our internal conversations around what is right for members so we can ensure that what we build benefits them. ”
How company culture reflects the mission: We talk a lot internally about the “Golden Rule,” which is one of our company principles. The rule relates to how everyone within the company treats each other and how we treat our site members. We center almost all of our internal conversations around what is right for members so we can ensure that what we build benefits them.
How team members impact the mission: Our mission of empowering workers is what brought much of our team to Jobcase in the first place. Every day, I witness passionate conversations about worker support and advocacy within the company and on our website.
While in-person conversations are no longer happening in our Cambridge headquarters to due COVID-19, the team hasn’t missed a beat. Everyone is more driven than ever to provide work-life solutions for people impacted by the pandemic. Our team regularly spends time using the Jobcase platform before and after work to share their experiences and, more importantly, support our members.
Wellframe provides healthcare patients with care management and advocacy solutions intended to make their health journeys easier. Tony Scavone, director of software engineering, said the challenges many employees face in navigating their own care motivates them to build better solutions for users.
How Wellframe translates its mission into specific actions: Everyone has firsthand experience managing their own health. And most have encountered at least one or two frustrating experiences navigating our healthcare system. Our mission is about improving the healthcare experience, so it’s easy for our employees to envision themselves helping in that.
One employee recently had a difficult time registering with an app that they wanted to work with for their own healthcare. They asked, “Wouldn’t it be great if we made our own registration process easier?” We encouraged the idea and they started working on a process to automatically fill out our onboarding form based on a healthcare card image.
We emphasize our goal of reimagining healthcare relationships in our interview process.”
How company culture reflects the mission: One of our key values is humility; we’re always inspired to see how we can do things better. And the best source of that feedback is our users. We like to integrate feedback loops from our users into our product. We do that by sharing user feedback in our all-hands meetings, letting users highlight the things we do well and what we need to work on. The feedback inspires us to continue to empower people and organizations to achieve their best. It also kickstarts our own imaginations in how we can do things better.
How team members impact the mission: Our team strengthens our mission every day. We emphasize our goal of reimagining healthcare relationships in our interview process and it resonates with many of our candidates. That mission is often one of the reasons people choose Wellframe over other offers they may receive. Our employees can work at any number of companies but they know that our product helps people every day.
Forward Financing provides fast, flexible working capital to small businesses nationwide. Senior Director of People and Culture Shannon Braley discussed the ways the company’s “people first” culture meant helping customers navigate the challenges of the pandemic.
How Forward Financing translates its mission into specific actions: Our mission is to build a world-class fintech company so that our customers and our employees achieve their full potential. Last year, we asked every team to share what makes them want to run to work every day and what makes our culture unique. We used their input to formalize our mission and establish our six core values.
Those values determine who we hire, how we support our team members, how we treat customers and how we make all critical decisions. They drive the small actions we take every day that help us improve processes, build effective technology and invest more in our people and customers.
We dedicate time to recognize colleagues across various teams who embody our values.”
How company culture reflects the mission: Our “people first” value reflects our mission to help our customers and staff achieve their full potential. Many of our small business customers experienced changes to their business because of COVID-19. Treating customers as humans — not accounts — by showing patience and flexibility helped them through tough times and we built long-lasting, supportive relationships.
Additionally, we prioritize transparency. We have weekly team huddles where leadership shares details about the company’s successes and challenges and employees can anonymously ask questions. We also invest in Officevibe, our employee engagement tool, to provide insights on employee satisfaction and identify areas for us to improve.
How team members impact the mission: During our team huddles, we talk about our core values and what the company is doing to support our mission. We dedicate time to recognize colleagues who embody our values. It reinforces how each person at Forward Financing plays an essential role in improving our company. While our culture continually evolves as new people join, our company mission and core values keep us aligned on how we treat each other and our customers.
Bobby Sepucha said employees at Cricket Health simply want to improve the lives of kidney disease patients. The chief administrative officer discussed how employees are spurred to do their best work at the kidney care provider by a desire to see patients smile.
How Cricket Health translates its mission into specific actions: Kidney patients have complex needs. They have many different things going on with their care that numerous healthcare professionals need to see. The last thing we want to do is make their lives more complicated. We try to make their care easier by giving them a team of experts they can call on and an education platform that they can access whenever they need them. We provide care and community on our patients’ terms, not ours.
Nothing we do or say matters unless it improves patients’ quality of life.”
How company culture reflects the mission: One of our core values is “bring joy to this work,” which means being optimistic and helping patients celebrate wins large and small along the way. Kidney disease isn’t easy. But when our patients meet with their care team and interact with other patients over our platform, they realize they’re not alone. They’re now part of a community of survivors that helps each other out. We push for that moment where we can see joy creep back into their lives, which brings a smile to their faces and ours.
How team members impact the mission: Nothing we do or say matters unless it improves patients’ quality of life. That’s why every person in our organization spends their time perfecting a platform that lets patients learn about their disease and interact with their care team virtually. That idea is why our clinical team built a care model focused on empowering patients to become more engaged with their care. It’s a lot of work. But when we hear how grateful patients are for the service and how it’s literally changed their lives, it makes everything worth it.
Director of HealthShare Product Management Jonathan Teich said transparency and a sense of community help keep employees at InterSystems aligned behind the company’s mission to provide data technology to healthcare and other industries.
How InterSystems translates its mission into specific actions: We give our clients access to the data they need to do their jobs. We prioritize moving the world’s information and health, and emphasize both in our strategy. We aim to ensure our team members see how they are impacting healthcare through the examples of our customers.
How company culture reflects the mission: We are customer-focused and always respond quickly to their issues with swarms of team members. We use a mixture of technical, clinical and business staff to anticipate and address major issues and provide customers with the services they need to stay ahead of the next big health driver or regulation.
We also have a culture of staff excellence and cohesion, which are reflected in our selective hiring policies and our summer-camp-like atmosphere of events and parties.
We aim to ensure our team members see how they are impacting healthcare.”
How team members impact the mission: Our team members participate in all the culture activities. Many employees are also involved in healthcare outside of our direct work and there’s communication available from VPs down to individual contributors. Team members like sales engineers solve problems, make solutions possible and become close partners to customers.