Keeping our values real as we grow


alues… In a lot of  companies, employees see values as simply words on a wall or the company website. They sound nice but often mean little with many employees feeling removed from the values and how they affect and influence life at work. But a shared set of values in a company can help everyone to understand the attributes and qualities that define success, what’s important in how we go about our jobs that align to a common sense of purpose, usually identified in the Company vision and mission.

So, how have Open Cosmos not only brought to life our shared set of values, but done this through both remote working and accelerated growth?

Very early on, our founders established and defined the values , recognising how important these would be in helping to shape and evolve the business, as well as helping them find the right talent to take the business forward. This means at OC, we’ve been recruiting against our values since the very beginning. Now, we have a shared way of working, our whole team understands what it takes to be successful and how the values affect their roles.

Alongside recruiting to our values, it’s important that they are present in everyday life. We recognise people for their contributions aligned to the values - our peer nominated Open Cosmonaut of the quarter award nominations specifically ask what values the nominee demonstrated in going about the work they were nominated for. We run workshops as part of our team building,  taking a deep dive into the values, how they help us, how they might hinder us, and what we might need to change in the future to align more with the underlying principles of the values.

Even within our leadership team, we hold each other accountable to the values - whether an idea is really efficient, whether we are being honest not just with each other, but with ourselves, if we are being ambitious enough, the list goes on.

And now, as we take our next step of growth journey, the values will become even more important. We will filter them into our performance enablement cycle, succession planning and team building to name a few. But the most important thing we can do as a team is hold each other to account against the true meaning of the values every day, making sure all of our new Open Cosmonauts understand how the values affect theirs and everyone else's operations.

To wrap this up, I think it’s important to point out that I struggled a little to write this piece. When I think about it, it isn’t for any lack of things we do to reinforce the values but more because the things are simple, they are part of daily activities, living within the team and how each one of us goes about our work - they are what values should be, something subtle that firmly guides how we get things done - aim high, go beyond!