Coming up with core values for a high-growth company during a pandemic?
Not for the faint of heart! But totally worth it!
We first started talking about core values in November of 2019. With the transition of transforming a 10-person company to a 40-person company in mind, we knew we had to take time to define what it meant to work here at Pushnami. What do we stand for? How do we empower our team? How is cultural success defined?
After interviewing employees and coming up with the first iteration that we were happy with, we decided we didn’t want this to be something we just rolled out and shared in a meeting.
.“We thought on our next retreat, we could focus on core values and that we could ingrain them into people’s brains and physical bodies,” Pushnami Head of People, Angela Benz, said
But Covid-19 had other plans.
Our retreat was postponed and then indefinitely canceled. And with that, the business was changing, too.
We knew as a company that we would have to find a new way to implement core values. We were working virtually and hiring remote employees. With companies across the globe struggling to find ways to keep employees engaged and happy, it was difficult to ascertain what values would resonate with a team that would be remote for the foreseeable future.
We wondered if the original values we landed on still would make sense. So we restarted the process. Solidifying our core values was a Q4 priority for us last year.
“We had this culture that I was able to build and articulate not only through my words but through my actions to employees when we were a small company,” Our Founder, Emerson Smith, said. “As we grew, we had these certain themes that were important to us, but they weren’t formalized anywhere. Yes, we want to be the best place to work in Austin, but what does that mean to us? What does that look like? The company that pays the most? The company with the happiest people?”
“They had to mean something to us now and to inspire people to where we’re going,” Emily Jansen, Director of Marketing, said.
We used employee input as well as a focus on where we wanted to be in the future to establish the core values.”
“We wanted to make sure these values meant something to everyone involved,” Angela said.
As a company that puts so much value into collaboration and employee engagement, nailing down these values became that much more important.
The values were rolled out one week at a time in January. The gradual rollout allowed for us to focus on an individual, department and company level on what the values meant to us personally, professionally and developmentally. Each core value had its own time, space and energy for our employees to really chew on.
After introducing a new value in a company-wide Zoom call, we would break out into small groups to give feedback while it was fresh on our minds. Our Slack now has channels devoted to each value where we recognize and celebrate employees who are exemplifying the core values.
For each value introduced, we embarked on a corresponding activity to make it stick.
Our core values
No Guts, No Glory
We are a team of risk-takers. We empower and take ownership while challenging the norm.
True to Our Word
We strive to do the right thing always, act truthfully and with integrity, and are unafraid of being our true selves. And we do it all even when no one is watching.
Give a F*ck
We go above and beyond to care for our team, shareholders, customers and the local community to ensure the stability and success of everyone at stake.
We believe in using technology over manpower to make big things happen. Our technology offers solutions the world has never seen.
Here’s what our team is saying about the values:
My favorite Pushnami value – give a f*ck. It embodies agency, compassion and integrity. The last 12 months haven’t been easy, and this company has grown to meet (unprecedented) challenges, doing more for its employees and clients, creating room for stability and growth in business and personal terms. Everyone here tries because everyone here cares. Evidence of our success lies in the success of our clients and the continued corporate emphasis on both financial and intrinsic rewards. I’m proud to be part of this team!Selina Yee, Enterprise Account Executive
A lot of organizations can be set in their ways. This can create a stagnant and dying business. If you look at human history, the risk-takers have built some of the most successful companies in the world. At Pushnami we promote ideas and build them because without guts you can’t have glory.Ryan Bartholic, President of Affiliate Operations
My favorite Pushnami value actually lies at the crux of No Guts No Glory and Innovate. Both of these values align with my personal value to Keep Moving Forward. I never want to become mired in my past successes or failures, but to continually strive to discover and learn and grow even when the path ahead is filled with obstacles.Kevin Humphries, President of Affiliate Operations
Curious about what our founder, Emerson, has to say about the values?
“Our core values articulate not only who we are, but serve as a beacon to empower people to make decisions on their own about what they should do, and what’s right or wrong, without having to ask somebody else above them. The values state who we are and help guide us. They establish how we live this culture by giving us a guide.”
Emerson’s Thoughts on “No Guts, No Glory”
“We are risk-takers here. It started with me. I’m a highly risk-tolerant individual. I like to go for the long shot and I like to really feel it. I’d rather take a long shot and make $100 than bet safe on two dollars. I find it much more fun and enjoyable. We moonshot it around here from time to time. I balance it with the fact that I have employees who are counting on me. When you work here, you have to go for it. I’m not interested in stopping at being a $30 million dollar company. I want us to go to $100 million and $1 billion and the only realistic way to get there is to take risks. Working hard and staying where you are won’t get you all the way there.”
Emerson’s Thoughts on “True to Our Word”
“This is an easy one, but not easy to practice, though. We do not lie at this company. If a client asks us something and we give a response, they can be sure that what we’re saying is correct. We take care of a lot of people’s data and we have a lot of faith in our clients as far as revenue and what’s going on. They have to be able to trust us. And they should be able to. I’ve built my entire career trying to do the right thing. And that has really paid off over time.”
Emerson’s Thoughts on “Give a F*ck”
“Saying “give a fck” is risky to a certain extent. It doesn’t fit into the Fortune 1000 cultural narrative of how you should do things, but it’s also the only real way we can truly explain it. For some, it’s easy to say ‘I don’t give a fck’ and take the client’s money and do whatever with it. But we care. When it comes to this value, in real life, this is exactly how we would say it—so that’s what we’re doing. This value articulates exactly how we feel. We care.”
Emerson’s Thoughts on “Innovate”
“We’re a tech company so terms like ‘innovate’ can be thrown out loosely. But can everyone who says this actually back it up? Our company has shown several times that it can come up with innovative things that nobody else has thought of before. We take those things and do something in a way nobody else has seen and are committed to doing that.”
Want to join this empowered team? Check out our open roles.