Blog post hero

Implementing Core Company Values from the Top Down

Cassandra Rose, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Roisin O’Ha­gan is Vice Pres­i­dent of Human Resources at Unosquare, a com­pa­ny that pro­vides cus­tom soft­ware and agile soft­ware deliv­ery pro­fes­sion­als to health­care, finan­cial ser­vices and high-tech clients.

Roisin’s moth­er was an HR pro­fes­sion­al — one could say that HR is in her blood. She joined Unosquare as a start­up and was quick­ly pro­mot­ed to VP. The com­pa­ny expe­ri­enced extra­or­di­nary growth dur­ing the pan­dem­ic, expand­ing from 400 to 800 employ­ees inter­na­tion­al­ly. As the com­pa­ny grew so did its values.

We sat down with Roisin to dis­cuss the val­ues behind Unosquare, why hav­ing the exec­u­tives on board and excit­ed about those val­ues is essen­tial, and why they believe in pri­or­i­tiz­ing their peo­ple above all.

Adapting in the Face of the Pandemic

The pan­dem­ic changed so much about the way we think about how to bal­ance work and life. While this was an extreme­ly hard time for many, it also pro­vid­ed oppor­tu­ni­ties to learn, grow and change with the world.

Like many com­pa­nies, Unosquare has always been active­ly engaged. They liked to put on events and orga­nize meet­ings between employ­ees. Onboard­ing for new team mem­bers was done in per­son and over coffee.

The pan­dem­ic stripped every­thing back — sud­den­ly every inter­ac­tion had to be done via a com­put­er screen. HR pro­fes­sion­als like Roisin were faced with how to keep employ­ee engage­ment alive and how to con­tin­ue to grow while encour­ag­ing healthy com­pa­ny culture.

Tri­al and error were part and par­cel of fig­ur­ing out the best way for­ward. Unosquare orga­nized remote events through Teams and Slack. They even imple­ment­ed a com­pa­ny-wide 1K run, where par­tic­i­pants shared pho­tos of them­selves after their run. It was a dif­fer­ent way of doing things, for sure, but it helped to bring the team togeth­er, even if they couldn’t be togeth­er in person.

Implementing Values — and Getting Executives On Board

Unosquare pri­or­i­tizes its peo­ple above all else. This, cou­pled with a vul­ner­a­ble and trans­par­ent lead­er­ship style, pro­motes trust and yields a trust­ing team. Roisin main­tains that your company’s val­ues are an essen­tial part of the orga­ni­za­tion as a whole. They can give your team a real sense of belong­ing. Core val­ues pro­vide a sol­id pur­pose and Unosquare iden­ti­fies five key val­ues, apt­ly named the Five Fs:

  • Fit
  • Fam­i­ly
  • Free­dom
  • For­tune
  • Fun

These work as a frame­work for con­vey­ing a clear mes­sage to their 800 employ­ees by let­ting them know what the com­pa­ny stands for.

“For­tune” is one of the more inter­est­ing val­ues. For Roisin and Unosquare, for­tune is about hav­ing con­fi­dence in their future. This means ensur­ing that team mem­bers under­stand that an impor­tant core val­ue of the com­pa­ny is that it is a sta­ble place to work. They have a com­mit­ment to pro­vid­ing long-term employ­ment and growth, which is com­fort­ing in these tumul­tuous times.

The exec­u­tive team at Unosquare is active­ly involved in con­nect­ing with employ­ees and there­fore imple­ment­ing those core val­ues. It isn’t just up to HR — man­agers, team leads, and even the CEO put in a real effort.

The CEO, Gian­car­lo Di Vece, decid­ed to hold an ​“Ask Me Any­thing” ses­sion, which he con­tin­ues to host twice a year. Any­one in the com­pa­ny can ask him a ques­tion, whether it be per­son­al or pro­fes­sion­al. It gives team mem­bers a direct link to a senior mem­ber of the com­pa­ny and breaks down those prover­bial bar­ri­ers that may exist between senior man­age­ment and gen­er­al employees.

Driving Values Home and Creating a Brag-Worthy Culture

Ensur­ing that the Five F’s are a pri­or­i­ty — and estab­lish­ing them as a norm across the globe — was essen­tial to cre­at­ing a ​‘brag-wor­thy’ cul­ture at Unosquare. With employ­ees based in dif­fer­ent time zones and speak­ing dif­fer­ent lan­guages, it was essen­tial that these val­ues were clear and easy to under­stand. No mat­ter where you’re read­ing them, no mat­ter who you are, from trainee to senior man­ag­er, the five val­ues have to be clear and relatable.

Com­mit­ment from the exec­u­tive team and CEO is piv­otal in any type of orga­ni­za­tion. It’s cru­cial for every­one to be on-board, from top to bot­tom, and that every­one is famil­iar with the core val­ues. There’s no point in hav­ing such a strong frame­work if no one knows about it.

This can be done by hold­ing month­ly all-hands meet­ings and small­er meet­ings if nec­es­sary. It means get­ting HR, finance, IT, oper­a­tions, pay­roll, etc. togeth­er and con­tin­u­al­ly going over the val­ues and the mis­sion. You should also talk about them in inter­views with poten­tial employ­ees, to set the foun­da­tion for the start.

Anoth­er one of Unosquare’s Five F’s is ​“fit.” That means mak­ing sure that there is a match between the company’s vision and the employ­ees’. The COO heads tal­ent acqui­si­tion and he does a cul­tur­al fit meet­ing with every sin­gle team mem­ber who walks through the door. Is it time-con­sum­ing? Yes. Does it make all the dif­fer­ence? Absolutely.

Don’t under­es­ti­mate the impor­tance of review­ing your val­ues. Make sure that as your orga­ni­za­tion grows, your mis­sion and your com­mit­ment to that mis­sion, grow with it. Be open and trans­par­ent with your employ­ees: tell them what’s going on in the busi­ness. Your team wants (and needs) to know as much as pos­si­ble about the com­pa­ny that they’re oper­at­ing in. Keep that door open, always.

Even if you’re bring­ing in A Play­ers, if your cul­ture isn’t strong from the top to the bot­tom, they’ll nev­er suc­ceed. If your com­pa­ny cul­ture is strong, then your peo­ple will become the cul­ture. If it’s weak, the cul­ture becomes the peo­ple. Remem­ber that as you cre­ate your own brag-wor­thy culture!

Check Out the Full Episode

If you’d like to learn more about Roisin and her lessons from Unosquare, lis­ten to our full inter­view by tun­ing into the pod­cast on Apple or Spo­ti­fy.

Look­ing to build your own Brag­Wor­thy Cul­ture? Fringe can help. Fringe is the num­ber one lifestyle ben­e­fits mar­ket­place. Give your peo­ple the pow­er of choice and save a ton of admin­is­tra­tive headaches by con­sol­i­dat­ing exist­ing ven­dors and pro­grams into a sim­ple, auto­mat­ed plat­form. Talk to our team to get started.

Request demo

Subscribe to the Fringe newsletter.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.