After more than a decade of growth, change, and innovation, the DialogTech team has revisited our mission statement and core values to guide us into the next stage of our life as a company. Re-examining and redefining the very values and ideals that steer an organization is a major undertaking and has wide impact on company culture and talent nurturing.
I sat down with Amy Dolan, DialogTech’s VP of People and Culture, to talk about the importance of mission statements and core values and how DialogTech’s experienced a renaissance.
What are mission statements and core values and what do they mean to a company’s culture?
Amy: Mission statements and core values are the foundation of every organization. It’s important for a company to know who it is, where it’s going, and how it will get there, so nailing these were critical to our foundational preparedness for achieving our growth goals. The six core values we designed represent the company we are today and also what we aspire to be.
The impact of core values in an organization has a broad reach, so it’s very important that they are intentionally and meaningfully developed. It can, among other things, steer culture, impact major decision making, and shape how the company is perceived as a whole.
Core values also act as the guideposts for a company on the path to achieving its mission—that includes the talent we bring onboard along the way. At DialogTech, we use our core values in particular, to guide us through the processes of hiring, current talent assessment, and performance management. We also look to our core values for direction when we cross-collaborate amongst our teams.
What prompted a revisit to DialogTech’s mission statement and core values?
Amy: DialogTech has made a lot of changes over the past year. Doug Kofoid became our new CEO, we have fresh talent on the executive team, and we’re working in an industry that is constantly evolving.
Doug and I sat down to explore all of the changes we’ve experienced and determined that it was time to rethink the foundational beliefs and standards we hold as a company. We felt that as the company grows and changes, our products, operations, and culture will evolve, and so should our goals and values.
We also recognized an opportunity to bring the voices of all of our employees into the process to create something that is truly representative of who we are and what we want to achieve.
What was your process for developing the new mission statement and core values?
Amy: We started with our people. The entire DialogTech team was really integral to the process. Doug and I sat down with each functional team to talk about our culture, how we collaborate both intra- and cross-team, how they gauged morale, and what their satisfaction level was with their jobs and the company overall. It added up to more than 25 individual teams that we spoke with so it was a very involved process but well worth the time spent.
It was really important that we also include our remote employees and satellite offices in Cleveland, Ohio and Hilversum, Netherlands, so we sat down with those employees to have a similar conversation but with the focus shifted to how we can better collaborate across our multiple geographic locations to build more cohesive, integrated teams.
We knew from employee surveys, awards we’ve been honored with, and the general culture of DialogTech that employees consider us a great place to work. What we wanted to uncover with these conversations was a deeper understanding of why they think it’s a great place to work and how we can be intentional about continuing to provide a rewarding experience for employees.
Some very candid conversations emerged from those sit-downs and I think that speaks to Doug’s leadership style of openness and honesty. He went in wanting to hear both the positives and negatives—to understand why people love working at DialogTech and what we can do better—and people were really receptive to that approach.
We then took all of the valuable feedback we received and identified what was actionable and what we needed to further build upon. We held brainstorming sessions and focus groups that consisted of employees across different roles and departments, continually polishing and shaping the mission and values as each new voice had a chance to contribute.
How did you ensure you were getting honest feedback?
Amy: We pride ourselves on having a very open culture at DialogTech. One of Doug’s mantras is to always embrace “radical candor” among our colleagues—that said, when it comes to sitting down with the CEO soliciting employees’ unfiltered views on their workplace, we realized not everyone was going to feel super comfortable opening up.
The first step we took was to remove managers from meetings. This allowed people to speak a little more freely and know that whatever was said in the room would stay in the room.
Doug also did a great job of reminding our teams, “We are soliciting this feedback; there are no wrong answers.”
We then held separate meetings with managers to get their perspective and ensure all voices had an equal opportunity to share.
What story do DialogTech’s new mission and core values tell?
Amy: First and foremost, they tell the story of how we put our people first. They speak to just how critical having the right team and culture is to our success as a company. We commit to excellence, innovate, and collaborate together. We are honest and accountable to one another and selfless in our actions.
The mission statement itself is very powerful. It shows we are committed to delivering the best to our customers and that we are pushing ourselves and the industry towards bigger and better, towards things we have not even imagined yet.
How is DialogTech operationalizing the mission statement and core values?
Amy: Our mission statement guides us in making decisions about the company and our products. So we have to ask ourselves if each decision, especially the more strategic, game-changing ones, brings us closer to achieving that mission.
For core values, we are ingraining these into our hiring process, how we manage talent, and how we determine when someone is ready for a promotion or new opportunity. By incorporating questions into our candidate assessments, we are able to better hire for “culture fit”—which is not just an evaluation of whether someone will get along or fit in well with our existing teams, but rather of if they demonstrate our core values throughout the process.
We will also be working core values into our performance management process as well. Going forward, employees will be measured in performance reviews on how well they uphold and embody our core values.
We believe putting guidelines such as these in place, then measuring and testing their application, will continually reinforce the importance of our mission and core values and will serve as those guideposts towards continued success for DialogTech.
To learn more about what it means to be a part of the DialogTech team and to see current job openings, visit our careers page.
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