Exactly How Company Values Guide Product Philosophy
A company’s most valuable asset is its workforce. Whether designed for a new hire or a tenured employee, the resources a company invests in the development and support of its team members are critical for its long-term success.
With so much investment comes the potential for significant losses, and the importance of keeping employees engaged becomes salient when you look at the numbers. As of late July 2021, only 36 percent of employees were engaged in their work and workplace, while 15 percent were actively disengaged, according to an HR Cloud post. Those disengaged workers don’t stick around for long — 74 percent were taking steps toward a new role, through either actively applying or watching for openings.
Reinforcing engagement isn’t always as simple as monthly paid lunches or allowing dogs in the office. Since the pandemic, the pendulum of influence on workplace culture has held steady on the employee side. After many months of stress and uncertainty, fewer people are willing to forego personal values just to hold a job. This is where a new test arises — beyond just perks and benefits, it is a company’s foundational values that draw in employees and keep them engaged.
These three companies hold their values at the forefront of all initiatives, strategies and workplace culture. We met with their executives to learn how values inform vision, and the impact that philosophy has had on achieving company goals.
First, what are PeerStreet’s values, and why did you choose these values in particular?
We recently did a reboot of our values to set the stage for the growth we’re anticipating as an organization. As we build, we are laser-focused on the things that are going to help us better serve our customers and be great leaders.
These are our values: customer value creation; innovate and improve, constantly; empower others; bias for action; candor, trust, and commitment; deliver results; insist on the highest standards; own it and have a blast.
How does your team live out your values?
We are obsessed with creating value for our customers, communities and each other. Value can come from helping our customers earn income, create wealth, save time or do things more easily. From our weekly all-hands meetings where we talk about our latest initiatives, successes or challenges, to our many perks and company wide outings, we are serious about having a blast while transforming our industry.
What is PeerStreet’s vision? And how do your values help support that vision and set your team up to achieve its goals?
Our vision is to level the playing field between Wall Street and Main Street by taking on one of the world’s biggest industries — real estate financing — and making it work better for everyone. From investors to lenders to end borrowers, hundreds of loan originators and thousands of investors can easily transact, while only ever having to work with one party: PeerStreet. We’re growing like crazy, but what we’ve built is just the beginning of what we can do.
First, what are HopSkipDrive’s values, and why did you choose these values in particular?
Our values are: safety is everything, feel it, own it, make tomorrow better, drive, empower community and share success.
“Safety is everything” is our number one value for one simple reason: as a youth transportation solution, safety is at the forefront of everything we do.
Empathy and kindness drive our workplace culture. We want to “make tomorrow better” for all, “empower community” (both at work and outside of it), and always “share success.” We truly “feel it” — our team is united under our mission of creating opportunity for all through mobility.
The company values “own it” and “drive” embody our work ethos. As a startup, we encourage everyone to own their function — while being collaborative — and take responsibility for their part. And, of course, we can’t achieve our mission without the innate “drive” of each team member.
How does your team live out your values?
In our weekly Town Hall meeting, we reinforce the community nature of our company and share company-wide and departmental success stories. We also provide transparent data about the current state of our business, while setting aside time for the CEO to answer anonymous questions. We end each Town Hall by opening the floor for employees to share shoutouts and gratitude.
We believe we are “making tomorrow better” by constantly reinforcing our mission to “create opportunity for all through mobility.” The team examines the work they do by referencing that rubric, asking questions like, “How am I working to create opportunity for the HopSkipDrive community through what I do?”
Each week in Town Hall, we also share a particular story of a team member who has gone above and beyond to create opportunity through mobility. This can be anything from providing exceptional customer service to a Rider or CareDriver, to organizing an event to promote our cause.
What is HopSkipDrive’s vision? And how do your values help support that vision and set your team up to achieve its goals?
We recognize that employee engagement is paramount to achieving our goals. And that’s why we are committed to continually gathering employee feedback, investing in employee well-being and living our values as a company every day.
Empathy is a central element of our brand, and it’s also a characteristic that we look for in our employees. HopSkipDrive was founded by three working moms who were looking to solve a problem in order to help children, parents and families get kids where they needed to go, safely. The work we do is meaningful and mission-driven by nature, so it’s essential that our team feels inspired by the company’s mission and aligned with its values.
Since 2018, we’ve asked our employees to complete a quarterly employee engagement survey as a way to gauge satisfaction, find out what is working well and identify potential issues. By utilizing this strategy, we’ve been able to assess where we excel and where we have room for improvement, and develop a tangible action plan for continuing.
First, what are Linktree’s values, and why did you choose these values in particular?
As founders, we didn’t want to just make up values as soon as we launched the business that sounded nice and tokenistic. Instead, we allowed for time and interactions to reveal what our values are, and what we aspire them to be. We polled the entire team to get an understanding of what Linktree culture really meant to them. Then, working with other leaders in the business, we identified key themes that represent us now, but are also important for the future of the product and culture.
We landed on the following: defy the ordinary (impact); act then adapt (action); pursue deliberate simplicity (simplicity); go further together (inclusion); let curiosity lead (growth); and own your part (accountability).
How does your team live out your values?
In Slack, our “Props” channel is where our team gives credit to each other and celebrates success through our values. It could be project-related or just a general “I see you.” It’s buzzing all day. We also have “WOW,” aka “wins of the week.” This is a weekly Friday Zoom where the team celebrates wins and challenges; there’s also a weekly theme that shapes the conversation, such as favorite travel destinations and guilty pleasures.
Our team is a wonderfully diverse bunch, who bring their whole selves to work. Many of them have side hustles; we have songwriters who have won Grammy awards, an author and a creator with an online store of handmade merch, to name a few.
We also live by our value of “defy the ordinary.” Recent initiatives include our company-wide mental health days, our parental leave policy and our volunteering hours.
What is Linktree’s vision? And how do your values help support that vision and set your team up to achieve its goals?
One of our product philosophies is being decisive about what we don’t do, over what we do. Hence the value around “pursue deliberate simplicity” — there is beauty in seeking clarity in the complex.
We are, in a sense, building the plane as we’re flying it. For example, “act then adapt” is all about taking thoughtful risks and course correcting as we go. We don’t wait for the perfectly aligned strategy before making a call — we build safety in failure.
It’s also worth noting the role ‘owning your part’ plays in our work. It applies individually and as a company. As a flexible workplace in a remote capacity, we all take full ownership of our domains. As a company it means we have to be intentional about how we show up on the global stage.