A few years ago, we didn’t have company values. Well, we did have them, but they were irrelevant and unknown – harking back to a time when TDP was a two-woman band, teaching Social Media basics from printed A4 paper on Sunday afternoons. Needless to say, these values weren’t exactly at the forefront of our identity, informing all of our hiring decisions and permeating our culture. But that was then. Since we’ve defined and brought our values off the paper I genuinely see how they shape every element of our business, the most important being the people that we attract and retain. Here’s how our company values helped us land our dream team
We don’t shut up about them
For values to have any meaning at all, they need to be understood – not just by existing members of the team but by our broader community and those who may one day be part of the team. If you follow us on Social Media, it won’t come as a surprise when I say that we are somewhat er… transparent. There isn’t much that we don’t cover on socials, and one topic that we certainly don’t shy away from is our company culture. We’ve been so open about our values journey, and about who we are and what we celebrate that our expectations around values couldn’t possibly come as a surprise to current and future members of the team.
Modern businesses can no longer expect that a short paragraph on their website is enough to effectively communicate who they are and what they want from their teams. If your company is values-led? Shout it from the rooftops. Be certain that every person who consumes your content [whether it be anywhere from your Website to LinkedIn to TikTok] has an understanding of what you stand for and who you hope to attract. Creating a company culture that is centred around a particular set of values starts well before the employee first steps through the door, and a values misalignment cannot be overcome by even the most compelling company handbook.
We hire with values in mind
While they definitely started out as fairly run-of-the-mill, our interview questions have really evolved as TDP has grown. While we still throw in some of the old favourites [we will always want to know your biggest Digital Marketing fail], we also design questions to specifically track for each of our values. We now understand that if we want a values match [and oh my do we ever], then the onus is on us to really look for it. Once you’ve laid the groundwork of putting your values out there for public consumption, it’s up to you to make sure that people you hire really are compatible with the culture you’re trying to cultivate. We make sure that we have at least one interview question that speaks to each of our five values. On the surface, these questions seem like the fluffiest – almost conversational – parts of the process, but in reality they’re the only questions that truly are make or break. Why? It would be setting every candidate up for a fail if we welcomed them into the team, knowing that fundamentally they were incompatible with our values.
We know when to call it
This is a big one, and let me start by telling you that it wasn’t always the case. We’ve only had a couple of values misalignments throughout TDP’s history, and admittedly we didn’t always know what to do about it. As we’ve grown, though, and made our values a constant part of our dialogue as a team, it’s much easier to see just how incredibly aligned to our values our whole team is. When we do find that a member of our team can’t live into our values, we owe it to the whole team [them included!] to look at why. Please don’t misunderstand me – a values mismatch does not mean they aren’t also great at their job, but it may mean that we’re not the right place for them. For example, if you’re an incredibly autonomous, independent worker, perhaps a company that bangs on about collaboration isn’t going to meet your needs or fill your cup.
As employers, it’s our responsibility to monitor not just quality of work, but also the contribution that each employee makes to our overall culture. We’re so lucky to have a team of ridiculously talented humans who make our workplace better by constantly living into our values. We owe it to them to protect that culture, and to call it early if we know that our values will never align with our new members to the team.
We celebrate what we have
It’s all well and good to ensure the whole world knows your values, and that every person who steps through your doors is a living embodiment of all of them [this doesn’t happen btw – we are human people and we cannot be all the things all the time], but it’s all for nothing if you don’t celebrate [and retain!] the humans that define your culture. In addition to making a huge song and dance about our values, by way of our famed golden chicken, we also understand that investing in our employees should be a holistic process. If we want happy, values-led people, we need to look after them in more ways than simply calling those values out.
We would love to know, what are your company’s values, and do they align with your personal values? Tell us in the comments!