How These 6 Companies Use Values To Guide Everyday Work

These organizational principles are embedded into every stage of the employee experience.

Written by Olivia Arnold
Published on Apr. 11, 2023
How These 6 Companies Use Values To Guide Everyday Work
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When created with intention, a company’s core values act as a compass, guiding everyone in the organization toward a shared vision. 

These six featured workplaces stand out for their exceptional values that outline specific expectations for teams and direct employees down the right path. Rather than being plastered onto their websites and forgotten about, these organizational principles are embedded into every stage of the employee experience, from hiring and onboarding to all-hands meetings and performance evaluations. 

While the values vary from company to company, ranging from authenticity and collaboration to “doing whatever it takes” and “keeping it real,” they are all reinforced and celebrated through regular practices, such as Slack shoutouts, companywide awards and team volunteer opportunities. 

Built In Boston connected with people leaders from Starburst, Mirakl, SOPHiA GENETICS and more to how they stay true to their values and find other people who are committed to joining them on the journey. 

 

Megan Maslanaka
Chief People Officer • Starburst

Starburst powers a data analytics engine for businesses. 

 

What are the values that drive Starburst’s culture, and why are they important?

We have three categories — character, competence and ownership — that umbrella our five core values. In the character category, our values are humility, grit and authenticity. In regard to humility, we look to be honest with ourselves, including about what we do and do not know. We talk about the idea that our job is not to have the right answers but to get to the right answers. 

Authenticity is core to who we are. It is represented in our roots by the fact that we are not backed by a big venture capital firm. We stay true to and show up every day as ourselves, and we value diverse perspectives and experiences. Grit is about perseverance and never giving up. Startups are hard. We look for people who know that and won't give up when it gets a little tough. 

In the competence category is our value for “inclusive meritocracy.” We strive to create a structure and environment that rewards our top performers. We want a culture that reinforces results and supports us winning, as both individuals and teams. 

“Doing whatever it takes” makes up our ownership category. We are all owners at Starburst; we want all employees to look at every problem and not think it's too small for us to solve.

 

We stay true to and show up every day as ourselves, and we value diverse perspectives and experiences.”

 

What are some steps that you take to stay true to those values? 

First, we reward and recognize employees based on our values. We celebrate team members for demonstrating these values each month during our biweekly all hands meetings. We also encourage employees to recognize each other for these values in our #x-props Slack channel. 

We lead by example and remain committed to a culture of feedback. Our leaders receive feedback on how well they demonstrate our values, and we develop coaching programs to ensure that they prioritize humility, grit and authenticity. 

Lastly, we ensure that every new hire, during their first week at the company, has the opportunity to hear CEO Justin Borgman talk about our values and answer questions about them. Ultimately, we build our entire talent strategy grounded in our values.

 

What traits do you look for in employees that indicate their values align with yours?

We look for individuals who master their craft but are not afraid to admit their shortcomings. Nobody, not even our CEO, thinks they have it all figured out; we each have so much to learn, and we look for individuals who want to learn and explore solutions together. The humility to get to the right answer, rather than fighting for your answer, is critical in making us successful. 

Additionally, we want individuals who are themselves. No one size fits all here. We want each person to bring their full potential to the team. Every diverse perspective that we have at the table brings a better solution and understanding to the team. We need that. Again, we don't believe that anyone here has it all figured out, but we do believe we have a resilient team that will figure it out together.

 

 

The Mirakl office.
Mirakl

 

Gina Guarracino
Director of People, Americas • Mirakl

Mirakl is the SaaS solution chosen by leading enterprises worldwide to manage their third-party marketplace and dropship business.

 

What are the values that drive Mirakl’s culture, and why are they important?

Mirakl's values are embodied and visible through many parts of our business, operations, celebrations and, ultimately, our success. The values we have at Mirakl are: work hard together, go above and beyond, get things done, satisfy and empower clients and succeed through expertise.

One example that comes to mind when highlighting how our values are embedded within our culture is our birthday and work anniversary celebrations. It is common practice for a celebratory note to go out on our company Slack channel, highlighting the individual and values they embody most. It's incredible to see folks' impacts and how much our values resonate with the successes that we all accomplish as a team. 

 

As a people leader, I relate to the value ‘satisfy and empower clients.’ This translates well into ensuring that our employee base feels inspired to succeed.”

 

What are some steps that you take to stay true to those values? 

All of Mirakl's values stood out to me during the hiring process, as I had already tried to embed them into my own work approach. However, one genuinely resonates with me personally and professionally. 

As a people leader, I relate to the value “satisfy and empower clients.” This translates well into ensuring that our employee base feels inspired to succeed. A big part of my job is coaching folks through their individual journeys, which can be during celebratory moments and also challenging times. Listening with empathy and respect is crucial to understanding the needs of our employees. 

While listening is a vital part of my role, it is also essential that I have the ability to deliver feedback to executives, managers and individual contributors. I listen to and empower individuals to have the necessary coaching and tools to navigate various challenges. This is something that I measure as a form of success and great achievement.

 

What traits do you look for in employees that indicate their values align with yours?

When looking at traits that stand out internally or during the hiring process, I constantly turn to “work hard together” for its emphasis on collaboration. Whether you are an individual contributor or executive, working effectively with others is necessary for individual and organizational success. 

We must keep in mind that we all come from different backgrounds; having the ability to celebrate each other's differences creates unique solutions and final products. There is rarely one suitable approach, so acknowledging our key differentiating factors benefits everyone's learning and overall organizational development.

 

 

The SOPHiA GENETICS team.
SOPHiA GENETICS

 

John Gilleeny
Head of Global Talent Management • SOPHiA GENETICS

SOPHiA GENETICS is a healthcare technology company that focuses on data-driven medicine.  

 

What are the values that drive SOPHiA GENETICS’s culture, and why are they important?

In 2022, SOPHiA GENETICS set out to define our shared beliefs and ways of working so employees could more easily and consistently translate those concepts into tangible actions. We thought very deeply about how to truly help employees drive forward our mission — to democratize data-driven medicine and provide clinically actionable insights that improve patient outcomes worldwide. 

Given our high-minded beliefs, need for innovative practices and bias toward action, we adopted company virtues instead of traditional company values. We believe virtues are a powerful alternative to traditional company values because they describe the specific behaviors that help deliver results and uphold our deeply held beliefs. 

We defined our seven virtues with our mantra — “we care” — at the center. This deliberate positioning serves as a constant reminder that concern, compassion and empathy for patients is at the core of everything we do. 

The seven virtues are: we decide, we do, we collaborate, we innovate, we empower, we adapt and we learn. 

 

We believe virtues are a powerful alternative to traditional company values because they describe the specific behaviors that help deliver results and uphold our deeply held beliefs.”

 

What are some steps that you take to stay true to those values? 

We embedded our virtues in every employee process. Our virtues are the language we collectively use to inspire actions, decisions, collaborations, learnings, adaptations, innovations and empowerment. We reinforce the lexicon and the concepts held within our virtues in one-on-one, team and department meetings, trainings, town halls and just about every consequential gathering. We also have a very rigorous approach to embedding our virtues in key processes such as recruiting, performance, leadership development and employee recognition. 

Our employee value proposition and recruiting processes put our virtues at center. Our performance review process leverages competencies fully supporting our virtues. Our leadership development programs provide opportunities to explore our virtues through a leadership lens. Our onboarding programs focus heavily on our virtues, especially throughout the first month. Our employee recognition program, “Virtuosos,” is aimed at recognizing employees who emulate our virtues every day. 

 

What traits do you look for in employees that indicate their values align with yours?

SOPHiA GENETICS pursues the noblest of missions and seeks mission-driven people who believe in what we do. We spend a great deal of time during recruiting, onboarding and training to ensure alignment on how to interpret and reinforce our shared expectations. 

We value mindset and attitude more than experience. We seek employees who demonstrate the right positive and productive thinking. We want people who move quickly, focus on results, have a powerful sense of urgency and are not afraid of making mistakes. We value employees who are continuously learning and discovering ways to improve our work. It’s also important that they communicate clearly and put the highest value on effective teamwork. 

We seek managers who are eager and able to reinforce the right behaviors. We see our managers as the most impactful alignment denominator. We, therefore, train our managers to find every coaching opportunity possible to reinforce our virtues with their teams, whether in performance, onboarding, goal setting or project update conversations. The key things that we emphasize in management are clarity, consistency, repetition and fully imbuing our virtues.

 

 

The Immuta team.
Immuta

 

Andy Olsen
Senior Director of People • Immuta

Immuta delivers data and security through its platform.

 

What are the values that drive Immuta’s culture, and why are they important?

Culture is extremely important at Immuta. We have five core values that are deeply ingrained in everything we do. They guide the way we work together, our everyday communication, interactions and meetings. 

Our first value is “mission-focused.” Born out of a government mission, we understand why data is about more than just analytics; we strive to enable the legal and ethical use of data for our customers and ourselves. 

Second is “humble intellects.” Check your ego at the door. We have something to learn from everyone, any time, in any place. Third is personal responsibility. We are independent achievers and don’t need guidance to get things done. 

Fourth is teamwork. By communicating effectively, collaborating respectfully and honoring the diversity of our ideas, we create an environment where our effectiveness as a team drives our success. Our final values are helpfulness and grit. We operate with respect for our peers and a service-oriented mindset.

The goal of our values is to create a workplace where people genuinely care about each other and work toward a common goal through collaboration and effective communication.

 

The goal of our values is to create a workplace where people genuinely care about each other and work toward a common goal through collaboration and effective communication.”

 

What are some steps that you take to stay true to those values? 

Each quarter, our employees nominate their peers for workplace awards. I have the privilege of being part of the nominating committee, which involves reviewing all of the submissions and making decisions on who will be recognized for going above and beyond. 

It’s really neat to see not only who’s nominated but who’s doing the nominating. A majority of the time, people nominate peers from different departments who they collaborated with on a project. What that shows me is that people recognize the efforts of their peers, even those who they don’t normally work with. That’s really special.

Celebrating diversity has been a great way to honor and support our local communities while recognizing the diversity of our employees. Recently, our office locations and remote colleagues held a canned food drive for local food banks. Our Boston location alone collected more than 185 items to donate! Also, in honor of Black History Month, we selected a local Black-owned restaurant to order lunch from during each week in February. 

 

What traits do you look for in employees that indicate their values align with yours?

Staying true to our values starts during the interview process. We intentionally look for folks who resonate with our core values, and make sure that our interview teams screen for cultural alignment in addition to role qualification. 

Humbleness, kindness, collaboration and grit are all traits that indicate if someone is aligned with what we hold important at Immuta. The way we structure our interview process assesses whether candidates exhibit these traits or not. Most importantly, our folks know what works and what doesn’t. For them, it’s just as important to hire someone who will preserve our culture as it is to hire someone who has the skills to do the particular job. 

Additionally, there are a lot of people with shared interests at Immuta. You can find collaboration happening across the company — whether it’s catching up in person at an office event or virtually sharing photos and experiences in a Slack channel. Opportunities like these allow for colleagues to build trust and rapport among themselves, and I think that builds cohesiveness. Personally, I’ve been able to build many relationships with Immuta colleagues around the world over a shared love of something outside of work.

 

 

Jillian Comeau
HR Director, Americas • Tufin

Tufin is a network security management company.

 

What are the values that drive Tufin’s culture, and why are they important?

A fellow Tufiner recently described the culture to me as the “Tufin Edge,” and I would agree! At Tufin, we are excited to collaborate and take action. We are always willing to jump in to try new ideas. We celebrate our successes and learn from our mistakes, with a focus on continuous improvement. We are open and honest, respectful and caring, committed and accountable. 

Creating a company with a strong corporate culture was top of mind for our founders from the very start and has stayed that way over the years. Each person contributes in their own way, and we collectively keep our culture alive and growing. 

It is so refreshing to work for a company where the values are real and actually important to individuals, the leadership team and the business overall. It is one of our biggest strengths.

 

It is so refreshing to work for a company where the values are real and actually important to individuals, the leadership team and the business overall.”

 

What are some steps that you take to stay true to those values? 

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we really saw the Tufin values shine with the creation of our volunteering program called “Tufin Cares.” One of our core values is to treat everyone with respect and care; during those tough times, we saw that Tufiners from all over the globe were eager and willing to help. 

Volunteering became a norm for us, and we are still doing it today. We are happy to give back to our communities in many different ways, such as preparing and distributing food baskets,  visiting, calling or writing to the elderly who may live alone, and supporting green-city initiatives to promote sustainable economic growth. Caring and giving back is part of our DNA.

 

What traits do you look for in employees that indicate their values align with yours?

We are always interested in meeting new people, learning from each other and expanding our knowledge and skills. Are you curious and always thinking of new ways of doing things? Are you open with your communication and not afraid to ask questions or provide honest feedback? Do you like to work in teams and have a “can-do” attitude? If so, it sounds like your values might align nicely with ours. 

 

 

Mackenzie Kagel
Senior Director, People and Culture • Forward Financing

Forward Financing provides fast and flexible capital for small businesses.

 

What are the values that drive Forward Financing’s culture, and why are they important?

Our people are at the heart of the work we do, and they are our most important asset of the business. Forward is built around a set of core values that are reflected in every decision we make: drive the mission, act with kindness, keep it real and shoot for extraordinary. 

We took our time honing in on these values. We wanted to anchor to values that were not just mantras or things we say; they are deeply embedded into the ethos of our culture. Every day, team members need to make important decisions that have real, tangible impacts on our small-business customers. Having a clear set of values to serve as guidelines ensures we all move in the right direction and in the right way.

 

We wanted to anchor to values that were not just mantras or things we say; they are deeply embedded into the ethos of our culture.”

 

What are some steps that you take to stay true to those values? 

Before we make any decision, we thoroughly consider the impacts to our employees and customers. For example, as it became clear that remote work was here to stay, we consulted our employees and heard their thoughts, rather than unilaterally making a decision on how our team would operate moving forward. We determined that the best approach was giving employees the flexibility to work from where they wanted while providing the opportunity to come into the office and collaborate. 

 

What traits do you look for in employees that indicate their values align with yours?

A lot of thought, time and care goes into our hiring process. When interviewing potential employees, we look to see if they are curious, collaborative and customer-focused. We want people to join Forward because they have great ideas to bring to the table and want to work somewhere where those perspectives are welcomed and valued. 

People who strive for continuous improvement, care about our mission and aren’t afraid to voice their opinion will thrive at Forward.

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images via listed companies and Shutterstock

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