Company values can be a tricky thing. They are supposed to be the heart and soul of an organization and represent what it stands for, but so often even if a company has a set of stated values, a majority of employees neither know nor care. Just think about it. Do you know what your company’s values are? Do you believe in them? Do you feel like they’re always being put into practice?
When our CEO Chris, who is passionate about both employee and customer happiness, spearheaded the project, he started by reading a lot of books and doing a lot of research. We as a group were encouraged to look at companies whose values resonated with us. We particularly liked the no bullshit approach like Atlassian’s straight up “Don’t f#%@ the customer.”
In large companies employees rarely get a say, but because Chris is super down-to-earth and Gliffy is Gliffy, the values were a group effort. The project went through several rounds of gut checks until finally we collectively arrived at:
HEART| WEIGHT | GUTS | SUPPORT | BALANCE | GRIT
Have Heart: Be a good human.
Heart was easy. Everyone agreed that we’re not perfect, but we have heart. Gliffy has been donating a portion of its proceeds to charity for years. Many people that work here volunteer their time and in general we try our best to do right by our fellow peeps. We know that we can’t solve all the world’s problems (insert HBO’s Silicon Valley reference here), but that doesn’t mean we won’t tackle a few.
Feel the Weight: Be inspired by the impact of what you do.
Weight was a hotly contested word. It means different things to different people. But in the end we agreed that we all love the fact that Gliffy has weight and helps elementary school teachers, engineers and corporate giants such as Nike and Apple alike. The weight of what we do and whom it affects keeps us both grounded and inspired.
Show Some Guts: Do the right thing, especially when it’s scary.
Gliffy is built on transparency and trust. There are no politics and we work hard to keep it that way. Sometimes that means saying things that aren’t easy to say. That takes guts.
Give Support, Get Support: Build yourself up by building up others.
This was another no-brainer. The Gliffy team shares knowledge freely. We all work across teams and help each other out all the time. If there’s a tough bug, all hands are on deck. We do brownbags regularly to share what we’ve learned and we’re also pretty damn good at giving props. Supporting each other is part of the team’s DNA.
Find Your Balance: Do what it takes without letting it take it all out of you.
We love what we do. We work hard. We stay late if need be. But we also make time to drink a little beer and live a little life in-between. While work is important to all of us we know it isn’t always everything.
Grit and Bear It: Don’t give up; success is not for the faint of heart.
Lastly, it was important to acknowledge that things don’t always go smoothly. No matter how much we love what we do, there will always be days we just have to grit our teeth and work through it (again, and again, and again). Whether that “it” is a stubborn bug that won’t go away, a pie-in-the sky product that presents new challenges, or anything else in life that’s worth doing.
And those are our values. They have always been who we are as a company, but now that we’re being loud and proud about them, they’re being put into daily practice because that’s the most important part. Coming up with them collectively was step one. Now they’re up on our wall for everyone to see, they’re part of our personal reviews and they can help decide whether a candidate is right for the company or not. Because it’s one thing to have company values, but if no one knows what they are or cares, then what’s the point?