As a CEO, there is truly nothing better than learning that your team members are inspired and motivated by their work. To know that my colleagues feel validated and that they look forward to walking through Finicity’s doors every day is exceptionally meaningful. So I was completely delighted to learn that Finicity earned a place on Comparably’s 2019 Best Company Culture list. This ranking is based on employee feedback on issues like work environment, compensation, leadership, and perks and benefits.
Here at Finicity, our corporate culture centers on one word: UPLIFT. Encompassed within this one word are the values that inform everything we do – the “why” behind all of our actions. These values are Urgency, Purpose, Leverage, Insight, Focus, and Teamwork.
Our Company Culture
Before we look at each of those six values closely, I want to share some of the things we’ve done at Finicity to take abstract values and translate them into meaningful actions that can take place in our offices each and every day. When we first developed the UPLIFT framework, we crafted a book detailing each value and attribute. From cover to cover, this book communicates the Finicity story and work ethic. We broke each core value down into individual attributes, 23 to be exact, and the book shares examples, case studies, and memorable quotes related to each one.
Once we had the book in hand, we brought the team leads from across the company together for a leadership training. We knew that if we wanted our UPLIFT message to resonate, we had to make sure every team lead understood the principles and had the tools to share those principles with their team members. That kickoff event was just the jolt of energy and enthusiasm we needed to hit the ground running.
We now hold regular company-wide UPLIFT trainings. Each team member gets a copy of the book and I have the pleasure of facilitating each training session in our Salt Lake City office. It’s important to me to spend this time with our team members, to share my own passion for these values and to get feedback from the people that live them each and every day.
Critically, this initiative doesn’t stop with our Salt Lake City team members. We’re fortunate to have a large team in Mumbai, India. It’s been inspiring to watch them take these UPLIFT values to heart, even incorporating the values into their physical office space. It’s programs like this one that keep us united as a team, even when we’re separated by oceans and time zones.
Finally, we’ve incorporated the UPLIFT attributes into our monthly peer-nominated awards. For years, Finicity has recognized team members in each of our monthly all-hands meetings. It’s always wonderful to read the nominations that pour in month after month and to honor and validate the fantastic work happening across our offices. Team members are recognized for the commitment to urgency, purpose, leverage, insight, focus, and teamwork.
Now let’s dive into each of the values and why we’ve chosen to focus on them.
Anyone in business knows that success comes to those who hustle. Worrying a plan to death is a sure fire way to get absolutely nowhere. So, at Finicity we remind each other that it’s “progress before perfection” and that “urgency eliminates complacency.”
While we’ve had a lot of pivotal successes as a company, it’s imperative that we keep pushing forward, searching out new opportunities, reaching new milestones. As a team, we approach each new day with renewed energy and drive.
Simon Sinek famously explained this principle with his Golden Circle. While a company clearly knows what they do, what products or services they offer, they must also understand how they get this work done and how they can differentiate themselves from other players in their field. However, neither of these will lead to any kind of significant impact unless team members understand the why. This has nothing to do with revenue or making money. Rather, it’s your North Star, the reason your company exists, the foundation of values that underscores everything you do.
To make sure that we don’t get distracted by the what and the how, Finicity team members know to always ask why and to strive to do the right thing every time. Our customers are firmly front and center. Always. We know that our work has the potential to dramatically increase financial inclusion, empower consumers, and help people make the best financial decisions. And that’s the fuel that powers our company.
This value is ultimately about recognizing that we can’t succeed alone. We encourage our team members to step up when something needs doing, to take the time to lift each other up, and to tap into all the resources their team members offer. It’s easy to say that “simplicity is genius,” but it’s quite another matter to make sure our actions reflect that belief. Leverage is about finding the most efficient way to reach your target. So if your team member can help you get there faster and do a better job, there’s no sense in struggling to reach that goal alone.
If there’s one thing that drives our work day in and day out, it’s our determination to never settle for good enough when best is out there. We chase that best by maintaining constant curiosity. We’re always asking: “What would happen if we tried this?” “I wonder what we might learn if we dug a little deeper?” “Should we loop in another team member to see what they think?”
Moving forward with insight also means reflecting back on our own progress. As German writer and statesman Johann Wolfgang von Goeth explains, “There is nothing so terrible as activity without insight.” So while we’re always reaching for opportunities, we also know that inches add up to milestones. It’s important to recognize these inches and the power in each step. To take the time to analyze each step and look for learning opportunities. Because each step takes us closer to our goals.
Going hand in hand with Insight is Focus. The ability to hone in on a task and to make every minute matter is what turns insight into action. Remember the dog in the movie Up? Whenever we sense that we’re veering off track, we take a breath and remind each other: “Don’t chase the squirrels.”
And while we do pay attention to all those inches that add up to milestones, part of Focus is remembering that not everything can be measured like really great ideas, investing our time wisely, and improving our skills, not to mention our lives outside of the office with our families and friends. When we choose to focus, we make the best use of our time and resources. It’s this focus that contributes to a healthy work-life balance.
This final value is the one that pulls all the others together. Teamwork is what fuels Insight and Urgency, it’s the manifestation of Purpose and Leverage. And while it may seem counterintuitive, the best teamwork allows us to really Focus and pay attention to what matters most, minute to minute.
I like to remind all of our team members that in our offices, there’s no place for titles (or egos). We are team members and each one of us is equally important to delivering great products and creating an ideal work environment and culture. Words matter. How we treat each other matters. You can’t expect to make a positive impact on the world without first attending to your teammates. Outward success is dependent on internal collaboration.
So, there you have it. Our UPLIFT values. It’s my hope that other leaders can take what works for them and implement it into their own company culture programs. I want to thank every Fincity team member (or as we like to put it, “Finitizen”). Thank you for dedicating so much of your time, your energy, and your effort to contributing to our company’s success and to the success of our partners and the consumers that use our products. This award is a reflection of all the actions you take, both big and small, that make Finicity a great place to work.