How 10 Local Companies Use Values to Guide Vision

When carefully designed, company values can unify employees and provide a compass for growth.
Written by Remy Merritt
October 27, 2021Updated: October 27, 2021

As we’ve all learned at various times in adulthood, making decisions and planning for the future is tough. But it becomes a lot easier when those actions are anchored by personal values.

Whether knowingly or subconsciously, most individuals build their lives around guiding principles and values that help course correct when necessary. This is one reason behind the current phenomenon of The Great Resignation — after so many months of living in crisis mode, values have shifted beyond just “getting a job” to a better alignment between work goals and life goals. This balance is unique to each employee, and it figures into much of the current wave of applications and resignations.

When carefully designed, company values can act in a similar way, unifying employees and providing a compass for growth. For each new initiative or product vision, having a consistent “why” behind the “how” helps to reinforce cohesive thought and align team members around the same strategy. When those guidelines for success are built upon a consistent foundation, employees can feel confident that new initiatives have a sustainable vision and sound principles.

We met with leaders from 10 local companies to learn how they use values to guide product vision, and the impact that philosophy has had on achieving company goals.



Brielle Franklin
Talent Lead • Ergatta

What are Ergatta’s values, and why did you choose these values in particular?

Ergatta was built upon the following core principles and values: come back to the why; focus on outcomes; be open and direct with collaborative intent; be fast, not perfect; do your research and be the change.


How does your team live out your values? 

Our team lives out our values in quite literally everything we do as a company. However, my favorite example of how we bring our values to life is our monthly open forum, where all employees have an opportunity to present their ideas for our product, discuss them as a group, and then vote on the ideas that resonate most.

The only hard and fast rule is: there are no “wrong ideas.” You don’t need to come prepared with a flashy slide deck (although you’re more than welcome to). In fact, the ideas that tend to win the most votes are the ones scribbled on a piece of paper in a moment of inspiration (aka, “work fast, not perfect”). 


What is Ergatta’s vision? And how do your values help support that vision and set your team up to achieve its goals?

Our company vision is to bring the power of fitness within reach by changing the way it feels. It’s very easy in the startup world to catch “shiny object syndrome” — where you get sidetracked by a new idea and in turn, lose focus on the big-picture tasks that fuel your long-term growth. This requires each of us to think outside the box and to challenge ourselves so that we can do things that have never been done before.

We don’t expect our team to wake up one day and “be the change” that will push us forward — because change is an iterative process. Rather, we provide our team with opportunities to grow in their career, as we grow as a company. We help them become that change by giving them the mentorship, resources, autonomy, and guiding principles they need in order to succeed.


Devon Siegel

What are Reonomy’s values, and why did you choose these values in particular?

Grit, humility, integrity, ownership, results-driven. We landed on these words after an employee-led exercise. We formed diverse groups across the company ensuring there were different levels, roles and a mix of tenured employees in each pod. We were then tasked to jot down words and phrases that came to mind when thinking of our colleagues, the way we’d like to show up each day and continue to develop as professionals.

We truly believe our values are woven together and are even stronger when thought about as a collective. As an example, we know it’s important for our team members to showcase grit by persevering through difficult challenges and obstacles to reach our end goals, but we must always remember to have humility and integrity along the way. We are proud of our values and they are the foundation for our entire culture.


How does your team live out your values?

Our culture is rooted in our values. We highlight how our team members live out these values in our biweekly people newsletter, in several shoutout-based Slack channels, and other public forums. We embolden our team to take ownership of how they experience Reonomy, encouraging them to participate in regular internal surveys and to share honest feedback. This helps ensure we are conducting ourselves according to our values and identifying areas of opportunity where we can continue to improve.

Our values also play a critical role in the hiring and professional development process to ensure our values are perpetuated as we scale. Our team evaluates a candidate’s hard skills alongside their values to ensure they are both qualified for the role and that their values are aligned with ours.


What is Reonomy’s vision? And how do your values help support that vision and set your team up to achieve its goals?

Our vision is to become a company of consequence for our customers, our people and the communities we work in. We hope to make a large positive impact for everyone who interacts with our team, whether it’s helping our customers access insights faster and more efficiently or helping our employees grow as professionals during their time at Reonomy and beyond.

Our values help us achieve this vision because they describe how we operate in all of those environments. We know that with a gritty and results-driven mindset, we will accomplish amazing things together, but not without integrity, humility and ownership can we truly provide the best experience.


Scott Lawin
CEO • Candy

What are Candy’s values, and why did you choose these values in particular?

My goal is to foster a people-first culture constantly. To embody that vision, we have landed on company values like Trust, Innovation, Excellence, Grit, Inclusion, Authenticity, and Accountability. 

We chose these values collaboratively because we believe that in practice, they will foster success, not only at an individual level but together as a team. Our associates dream big; they are insanely curious, bringing together authentic ideas that will launch us into the next level of innovation. By trusting our teammates and upholding the highest moral and ethical standards, we can push the boundaries for the next generation of technology.


How does your team live out your values?

Our team was able to pull together for our initial product launch, and the drive and innovation I saw were incredible. We had tight deadlines that we were able to meet without diminishing the quality of our product in the slightest. By living our values of grit, innovation and excellence, our team executed the product launch and the ability to collaborate and excel under pressure. 

It is essential to focus on the execution of goals and celebrate our wins. With company outings and volunteer events around the city, we are building a culture of inclusion and authenticity to partner with our local communities for solidarity striving for other technology companies to stand close to their communities.


What is Candy’s vision? And how do your values help support that vision and set your team up to achieve its goals?

With these values at the forefront of our daily lives at work, we strive for greatness. We constantly collaborate to innovate and put our heads together to metaphorically push the boulder to places where we could never move it alone. 

To be collaborative, we have to have trust. We are team players all with the same goal — to make something unforgettable. Collaboration is a necessity to execute our vision. It truly does take a village to build such a fantastic company. I could not be more proud of what we’ve done and excited for what’s to come.


Justin Etkin
COO • Tropic

What are Tropic’s values, and why did you choose these values in particular?

We went through a comprehensive exercise to identify the characteristics we wanted Tropic to embody and put them into words such that everyone at the company can live by them on a day to day basis. We landed on these five core values: fight for fairness, hustle responsibly, execute, pull back the curtain and stay open. Our top priority is creating fair deals on both sides of the table, and creating a culture where employees can stand up for the causes they care most about internally. 


How does your team live out your values?

As a remote team, we’ve had to find digital ways to celebrate each other’s success while not being present in the same space. We created a Slack channel where team members shout out their colleagues for actions they’ve witnessed embodying core values. 

We’ve also made hashtags for our values. When someone hits a goal or completes a project they’ve been working on, they get a shout out for #HustleResponsibly or #Execute.

Additionally we encourage our team to rely on our values to help guide them through challenging situations. Is someone having trouble communicating with a colleague in an effective way? We encourage people to “pull back the curtain” and honestly share their thoughts. Is someone getting feedback they may not agree with? We want people to stay open and consider opinions different from their own.


What is Tropic’s vision? And how do your values help support that vision and set your team up to achieve its goals?

Our vision is to make purchasing painless for technology-driven businesses. Our values are woven into all elements of how we operate as a business, both internally and externally. We believe that by living our values every day, we can realize this vision. They help us prioritize the product and business development work needed to accomplish the outcomes that bring us closer to our vision, quarter by quarter. They help us find and recruit the right people that help us build towards this future state, accounting for varied and diverse perspectives. They help us navigate the challenging situations that arise for any early stage company, and give us grounding for making decisions.


Alex Markov
CEO & Founder • Refersion

What are Refersion’s values, and why did you choose these values in particular?

Our values help communicate our brand voice and presence. We believe the values below help guide our vision and daily interactions with each other. We encourage each other to be trustworthy, transformational, approachable and modern.


How does your team live out your values? 

We learned early on that a smart hiring process and good training results in fantastic coworkers. We prioritized personalities and passions over prestige, location and experience. This has resulted in a diverse, remote-centric mix of people and backgrounds. We also focus on teaching everyone skills that will make them effective employees at any tech company, like managing data migration, first party tracking, API integrations and more.

Our culture is anchored in simple things like our daily virtual standup. This quick gathering is a way for our remote workforce to join together, and it provides a space for leaders to report on project progress and general updates. We also give coworkers time to call out the great work of other teammates, amplifying our culture of being good to each other.

We work hard, but deeply respect work-life balance. We believe long hours are counterproductive and lead to employee burnout, which generates worse decision-making, less ownership and more employee churn. We encourage time off, respect the start and end of the workday, and want people to learn and grow at our company for years to come.


What is Refersion’s vision? And how do your values help support that vision and set your team up to achieve its goals?

Our vision is to make advanced performance marketing simple, and our values help deliver our vision. We help our teammates succeed by focusing on the work at hand, building and showing new innovative ways of doing things, and communicating clearly. It all ties back to respect being at the forefront of what we do, where we can learn from and teach each other.



Alex Beller
Co-Founder & President • Postscript

What are Postscript’s values, and why did you choose these values in particular?

Our values are really intended as decision making frameworks. We want to empower everyone at Postscript to operate independently, using these values as a guiding light to make decisions. The acronym for our values is FEACH; fearlessness, excellence, animal, customer first and humility.

“Animal” comes from a Paul Graham essay about the sort of folks you want to hire at a startup: “animals.” This is about being resourceful and relentless.


How does your team live out your values?

Our team lives our values in a huge way. It’s helped us remain cohesive as we scale. Every new hire cohort is trained by the founders on the values. We recognize folks at our weekly all-hands meeting, and we also have a Slack channel where people are recognized for good work or embodying these values.

In addition, these values are applied aggressively during hiring. We do “values interviews” where we interview folks to see if they have historically or are capable of embodying these values. 


What is Postscript’​​​​​​​s vision? And how do your values help support that vision and set your team up to achieve its goals?

Our vision is to build a powerful remote organization by modernizing interaction between brands and consumers, and our values absolutely help support that mission. They do so by creating the baseline and framework for what’s expected at work. When people exhibit our values, they’re performing in such a way that drives the company toward its vision and goals.



Lea Schuenemann
Director of People & Culture, Europe • quantilope

What are quantilop’​​​​​​​s values, and why did you choose these values in particular?

The acronym for our values is CODE. We chose these values because we believe that everyone at quantilope can use them as a filter for their behavior to together drive the outcome we want to achieve as a team.

Committed means that we set clear priorities and stay focused on our goals. Open means that we embrace feedback and listening to everyone’s ideas. Doer means that we are active drivers and not passengers. Empowered means that we foster a culture of trust, always willing to learn from each other. 


How does your team live out your values? 

As a supervisor, I try to create an atmosphere of trust and openness in the team so that everyone feels comfortable to share ideas and give feedback to each other. To build this space, I believe that it’s important to give room for emotions and mindset topics in teamwork. For example, we introduced Mental Health Thursdays, which is a team meeting where we share how we’re doing, and how we can support each other. 

To empower and inspire each other, we emphasize internal learning opportunities — for example, our brown bag sessions in which experts from the company share insights of their work or our moderator pool.


What is quantilop’​​​​​​​s vision? And how do your values help support that vision and set your team up to achieve its goals?

Our company vision is to “free all marketing decisions from gut feel.” This means that we empower marketing and insights managers with agile consumer insights by automating advanced research methodologies. Our values help to support our vision because they help us to commit our time and focus our projects and tasks on what’s best for our customers. On a quarterly basis, when we set goals as a company, each team comes up with quarterly activities that are aligned with the whole company and contribute to achieve our OKRs.


Donna Riggle
Head of People • Jabra Hearing

What are Lively’​​​​​​​s values, and why did you choose these values in particular?

We believe that defining our values is not a culture building process, but rather a culture articulation process. We started with anonymous input from everyone at the organization through a series of prompts, such as, “How would you describe working at Lively?” and, “What do we value at Lively?”  

We landed on the following four values: care deeply for the customer; everybody deserves to hear and be heard; innovation with purpose and driven by outcomes.


How does your team live out your values?

As an example, “care deeply for the customer” can easily sound trite; however, putting the focus on our customer is core to how we operate. Every touchpoint in our customer journey is designed with their comfort and accessibility in mind. Our remote onboarding experience is structured around that same journey, and each new hire is given their own pair of hearing aids to try out.

When I joined, the experience of unboxing my own hearing aids, pairing them with Bluetooth to my phone, and learning how to sit them comfortably on my ears was a total a-ha moment for me. Not only did I gain a deeper empathy for the experience of someone with hearing loss, I also learned so much about all of the amazing work our teams do to support our customers.


What is Lively’​​​​​​​s vision? And how do your values help support that vision and set your team up to achieve its goals?

Our company’s vision is to enable everyone to reach their full hearing potential. In the U.S. alone, more than 48 million individuals have hearing loss, but only a fraction get treatment. Barriers include high cost, difficulties physically accessing care, and the stigma of “being old.”

Given those challenges, caring deeply for our customer means meeting them where they are through affordable, high-quality hearing aids bundled with remote care and support. To ensure that they hear well and are heard, we ask our customers to set their own hearing goals and empower them to achieve their goals. And we measure as we go, because we are driven by outcomes. If something we’re doing isn’t moving us in the direction of that vision, we identify a root cause, iterate on our approach and set a new target.



Karlene Holloman
EVP, Property Management • Common

What are Common’​​​​​​​s values, and why did you choose these values in particular?

Common has five key values that drive our teams forward every day: make the case and take the risk; bring data to the conversation; default to transparency; embrace change and start with yes.


How does your team live out your values?

We think about our values in our day-to-day at our buildings in cities like New York, Seattle and Los Angeles. We know that our residents are spending most of their salary on rent and we want to make living with Common undeniably great. Many property managers hide behind anonymity and are not held accountable when household things go wrong. Common, however, strives to bring a uniform, positive experience across all of our buildings so you know that when you live in a Common building, you’re in a safe and connected community. By putting a face to property management, we follow Common’s core value of defaulting to transparency.


What is Common’​​​​​​​s vision? And how do your values help support that vision and set your team up to achieve its goals?

Believe it or not, apartment housing styles and standards haven’t meaningfully changed since the mid 1900’s, and buildings are still being designed for the nuclear family. We aim to refresh those designs for a modern renter. Our architecture and interiors team thinks about everything that a renter wants from open, bright shared kitchens, to private, relaxing bedrooms, to co-working lounges and all the little details in between. We envision a future where there is transparency and accountability in the property management industry, and we keep our core values at the forefront of every interaction — especially on the property services side.



Andrew Brown
CEO • Check

What are Check’​​​​​​​s values, and why did you choose these values in particular?

Providing payroll services is a serious and complex task. Our customers trust us with millions of dollars. Consequently, to successfully operate our business requires us to live up to our four core values: be an owner; earn trust; check yourself and bridge the gap.


How does your team live out your values? 

Our values inform everything we do. They’re what we celebrate with each other. They’re how we hold ourselves accountable.

Take “bridge the gap” as an example — to turn such a complex thing as payroll into code, all of our teams, from engineering to payroll operations to legal and compliance, have to work hand in hand, having trust in each other at each step on the journey. This translates into a culture where documentation, communication and transparency are of utmost importance. 

We also need to “earn the trust” of anyone who decides to partner with us. We have a practice of sharing detailed retros with customers in the aftermath of any incident. We’re transparent with them about what happened, how we fixed it and our plan to prevent it from happening again.


What is Check’​​​​​​​s vision? And how do your values help support that vision and set your team up to achieve its goals? 

Today, too many small business owners spend hours every week wrestling with their data in order to run payroll. Our vision is for a future where payroll is simple, seamless, and automatic, for a net result of stronger local businesses and more financially empowered workers.

As a result of all the complexity we have to navigate to achieve this, from working with partners and developers to staying up to speed about developments in the payroll world, our values are a prerequisite for succeeding in what we do.

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