Why And How We’ve Defined Our Company Values
Louise Mosseline, Kpler’s Senior People & Culture Project Manager, explains why now was the right time to define the company’s values as Kpler continues to grow, and how this was achieved.
We believe that having clear company values is important for several reasons. This rationale is perhaps best explained by the pioneer of the organizational health movement Patrick Lencioni in his book The Advantage, where he states that: “Values are critical because they define a company’s personality. They provide employees with clarity about how to behave, which reduces the need for inefficient and demoralizing micromanagement.”
With values clearly being important to Kpler, why didn’t we define them earlier, especially as we’ve been in business for seven years? There are several logical reasons why.
Firstly, when we started in 2014 we were operating in a fast-growth environment and were primarily focused on building a new product to meet the market's needs. Defining values was simply not the number one priority. In fact, we even tried to define values back in 2015 but were so focused on our product that the values went slightly unnoticed. In short, it was a bit too early, we had not matured enough.
Secondly, we were a small team, so it was easier to live by informal values without the need to write them down. When a company has a small number of staff who all have a direct connection to the co-founders it is naturally easier to communicate how we are going to work together.
Finally, 2020 and 2021 saw big changes for the business and its people. Initially change came in the form of a rapid period of expansion and then we found that our employees (new and old) were also suddenly working remotely, across the world. With ambitions to continue to grow quickly it was the perfect time to start thinking about what values reflected our company and what it stands for now and in the future.
This journey led us to realise that defining our values supported our needs when tackling critical business challenges - it was not a case of articulating values purely for cosmetic reasons, like other companies seem to do.
With the drivers indicating it was time work to articulate our values, we agreed on the process to achieve this. This process looked at what we are instead of what we want to be. We surveyed staff from a diverse range of backgrounds and locations to discover what colleagues’ behaviours they liked in the context of driving the business forward. This was very important: we didn’t ask for values, but for behaviours that we admired. Only then did we link sets of behaviours to values.
Over a period of three months we collated the answers and meticulously analysed and identified behavioural patterns and groups. We then employed an experienced copywriter to distil down the results of the group answers to end up with words that staff both recognised and wanted to be associated with. At this stage, it was important that Kpler’s founders and leadership team fully bought into the project.
Here are the results, here are Kpler’s values:
- Be Humble - Always place the interests of the collective before your own.
- Respect And Care For People - Make every person feel comfortable in their own beliefs, decisions, and perspectives
- Take Responsibility - Always take ownership of your actions.
- Act With Integrity - Be honest and transparent in all your dealings.
- Be Bold - Push the boundaries in order to improve and grow.
With our values agreed, we now look forward to putting in the hard work to communicate these values to our people, aligning internal processes and policies and communicating to candidates externally.
We are particularly excited about how our values will shape the hiring process. During the recruitment process, before speaking about skills, we speak about values and we hope this will help us attract the candidates that fit with our culture. In fact, we see job skills as easier to acquire than shared values and living up to them. This importance of values over a good CV is the most important element of what Kpler stands for, as highlighted in a Forbes article from our CEO and co-founder François Cazor.
All of Kpler’s people are accountable to our values - no matter what level of seniority they hold. This starts during the onboarding process; we empower new joiners to be guardians of the values. More importantly, we have processes in place in case staff experience something that goes against our values.
We are proud to have identified our values and believe they form an important part of Kpler’s culture. We are aware of the challenges of sustaining this culture especially in the current ‘working from home/hybrid’ environment. In the middle of all these changes and uncertainty, our values make us stronger and enable us to go forward with great confidence.