How we worked out our values

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We ended 2021 with the official announcement of our corporate values. Although inconspicuous, it was one of the most challenging internal projects we tackled last year. We are proud of both the way we managed it and the end results, which is why we are sharing the details.

Two teams, marketing and HR, were responsible for capturing and describing the values of our company. Such a synergy of competences made it possible to develop a well-thought-out copy, but most of all it gave us the confidence that the values described are really the ones that characterize #MacoPeople. 

"Each of us is different. We have different characters, ways of being... However, we have a common goal, we want to work in a friendly atmosphere and grow. Working out the company's core values helps us to move towards a common goal despite our diversity.”
Marcin, Symfony Developer

The 5 steps we took to describe our values:

Survey

We started by preparing and distributing a company-wide survey. The survey included a list of 50 values arranged alphabetically and an open-ended question. Each team member could name at least three company values that were most meaningful to them and list 10 words they associate with Macopedia. This allowed us to narrow down the list to the values that matter most to us and verify those that are not important (like fame, which got 0 points). After careful analysis, we divided them into several clusters consisting of frequently chosen and semantically similar words. 

Focus groups

The next step was to discuss the clusters during focus groups. Each person in the company had the opportunity to attend meetings on the areas most relevant to them (one person showed up for all of them). During the meetings, which lasted about 30-60 minutes, we discussed how we understand the values combined into a given cluster. We discovered that we often give different meanings to the same word, and having a common definition of these values allowed us to move away from the words chosen in the survey to those that best represent what is important to us (such as ownership, which best represents our understanding of responsibility, although it did not appear in the survey). 

Elaboration of the text

A deeper understanding of the meaning of selected values allowed us to describe them precisely. The inspiration for the text was Agile Manifesto which is well established in the IT world. We chose this form of value representation as it allows us to convey the nuances we discovered while working with the team in the focus groups. Moreover, such a source of inspiration is hugely important to our organization, where we are constantly striving for agility. 

Feedback from the team 

We presented the finished text to the team in the form of an internal webinar that each team member could watch at their convenience. We opted for this form of presentation to make it simpler to convey the intentions behind specific values, while also keeping things very accessible to an audience not directly involved in the value creation process. We ended the recording with a request for feedback. 

Creating the final version

After collecting and analyzing feedback from the team, we made small changes to the text of the values. We also created a list of actions that we want to implement in the organization, so that our values are not just a catchy text, but above all, that they are present in our daily work. The final implementation of the values by our CEO and CTO took place during a company-wide monthly Celebration Day meeting. 

“I liked the way our values were presented, it was an interesting webinar accessible to everyone, so you can always go back to it and remind yourself what is important to us in the company. I love our main slogan "People over code", which I fully agree with as Maco is all about great people full of passion ;).”
Maks, Magento Developer

If you and your team are also facing the challenge of describing the values that connect you, here are 5 lessons we can share after the process:

Do not be afraid to take on a challenge

We described our values... too late. Previous attempts to create a description did not include the perspective of everyone in the company and, therefore, did not capture what was most important. Without defining the values that truly bind people together, it is impossible to build a cohesive team, this is the most important lesson we have learned. 

Choose the right moment

We planned to work on values in the spring of 2020. Due to the outbreak of the pandemic, we postponed work on this issue, we were concerned that such exceptional circumstances would translate into inadequate results from the team's values survey (e.g., overestimating values related to safety or health). 

Work with the Management Board

Encourage those in charge of the organization to create space to discuss values so that team members can confidently express their opinions without fear of any consequences. On the other hand, take care that they do not unduly impose their perspective. Make sure that the values developed are okay for the managers and that they truly believe in them, so that these values become part of further company development. Nothing better supports working with values in an organization than a good management example. 

Be sure to get your team involved!

Most often it is the marketing or HR team that works on developing values. However, it is important that they do not do it alone, in isolation from the company's reality, but that they take into account the perspective of all team members (not just, e.g. leaders or management) when working on creating value. This will ensure that the values are truly relevant to what connects and holds the team together, rather than just being a slick yet empty words. 

Act carefully but quickly

Unfortunately, our process of describing value took a very long time. When implementing such a process again in the future, we would pay more attention to the pace and timing of work so that the process runs smoothly. This would certainly make it easier for those not directly involved to participate. 

Do not rest on your laurels

Have you managed to create a value description yet? Great! However, this is only the beginning of the adventure. The company values should be present in the company's everyday life in order to set the direction for common actions. Moreover, they should be re-examined from time to time to reflect the current state and not just be a relic of the past.
 

If you have any additional questions regarding our value development process, feel free to contact our People Team (Nikola, Barbara, Agata). If you share our values and want to join our team, please check the career tab

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