When a business is born, its culture germinates from its founding members and first few employees. As the company grows, and the team expands, there comes a need to take a more active role in harnessing and distilling the core values that underpin this culture. The goal is not to prescribe values onto the business, or create a meaningless slogan, but to agree a common purpose, truth and direction that every single team member can buy into. We were extremely proud to have our commitment to workplace engagement recognised recently, with an Outstanding rating from Best Companies.
Currencycloud’s growth and success is fuelled by its people – so these people were our starting point for developing our ‘North Star’ and brand values. We interrogated our purpose, and why Currencycloud exists, and we dug to the bottom of our previously unspoken internal culture to frame a code for how we approach our work, each other and our clients.
I feel strongly that for values to mean anything, they have to be engaged with and understood at a much deeper level than just ‘words on a wall’. We spent plenty of time talking to our most senior executives to understand their vison and direction for the business, and the management team, picking out common themes and subjects to capture common ideas and words. This is crucial – if the leadership team doesn’t embody these values, they will ring hollow with the wider team.
Then we tested these words with every single one of our employees, over a series of workshops, to understand what those words mean to them. This was a lot of fun – the idea wasn’t for people to sit in a room and be ‘talked at’ with a flipchart! We asked people to present back creatively on each area, prompting a flurry of GIFs, poems, videos, and even Virtual Reality. What would someone be doing if they were ‘thinking like a leader’? How can we empower people to do this? What does it mean to ‘never sit still’?
The sense of care, passion and enthusiasm came through so strongly in these sessions. Our team is committed to working together, driving the business forward, and creating a better tomorrow for each other, as well as the businesses we work with – and the community we work in.
With a shared buy-in around not just what we want to achieve together, but how we want to achieve it, our Values Team now makes sure that these principles ‘live’ in our day to day work. Our values form the basis of the nominations for employee of the month (better known as the Golden Goat at Currencycloud – long story!), and sit at the heart of our appraisal, recruitment, and on-boarding processes.
Equally importantly, employees have jumped on it. We constantly hear people talking about our values – in conversation, having a laugh, and as a way to challenge each other in meetings. We see emails go around the office to congratulate or thank people and promote great work, with hashtags like – #bettertogether and #ownedit. To me, this is evidence of a set of values that have really been absorbed into the collective subconscious, and are guiding our day to day interactions.
We’ve also introduced a whole range of initiatives in line with these values – from L&D programmes that are in development around leadership, to a zone of hot desks where people can go to be ‘fanatically focused’. We have Friday stand-ups to share progress on important projects so that we can be ‘better together’, and have given everyone a CSR Day – an organised volunteering programme to give back to the local communities, to show that we are ‘Human’. And we’re not stopping there! We have plenty more up our sleeves to ensure that every single member of our team feels the weight of our commitment to this charter, and the degree to which we want to embed it.
Our people are our engine – the brains behind the strategy, the creative minds behind the ideas, and the know-how behind our cutting edge technology. We’re on a journey together, guided by a common understanding of the destination, and how we want to get there. Our brand and our company has really evolved and grown up over the last year and I for one am immensely proud and excited to be part of it.