Using values to grow an organization

With the rapid expansion of its development team, Santa Barbara-based Procore realized that taking a close look at the company’s cultural DNA would give it a powerful filter for evaluating new hires.

At the same time, stakeholders wondered, can a culture be too cohesive? Did having too many team members of the same age and life stage, coming from the same educational background, risk creating a company whose views were too insular? If so, would this compromise hiring efforts?

An anthropological assessment. As a first step, Applied Storytelling worked with a team of a dozen senior team members to explore the qualities that made life at Procore distinctive and rewarding. After helping leadership to define the company’s vision and mission, we explored inflection points in its development, individuals who embodied the organization’s spirit, and key decisions the company had made. Adopting an anthropological approach, we looked at the specific rituals, traditions and language the organization had developed, too.

Through this effort, we identified three core values company leadership prized above all others: openness, optimism and ownership. After defining these three values in detail, we set out tounderstand the extent to which employees throughout the organization bought into them and
lived them.

Internal survey insight. An extensive internal survey yielded results that confirmed a healthy, well-integrated organization. Responses from virtually every employee affirmed the desired values, both as an aspiration and a reality. Despite this reassurance, the company took steps to identify a few areas of relative weakness, including working to combat the risk of silo-ization between key functions, to focus on in the coming year.

Making the most of a milestone moment. Moving to a larger office with a space plan designed to foster the company’s values even further, Procore used the milestone event to share the values, survey findings and future plans with its entire staff. In addition to integrating values-based behaviors into HR materials, Procore also hired a company videographer whose primary task was to capture the life of the office—and the lives of the individuals and teams who comprised Procore’s newly defined “culture of accountability.

“With our vision and values in place not only to guide us but also inspire us, we now have the foundation for scaling our remarkable culture into the future as far as we can see.” — Tooey Courtemanche, Procore CEO

“The first step to developing a sustainable company culture is to look past preserving what you have to ask, ‘What are the qualities that will help us to continue to create, grow and adapt to change?’”

— Eric La Brecque