Fully CHARGED: Search Influence Announces Seven Core Values
November 17th, 2015 by
Ten years. This January marks the tenth anniversary of Search Influence’s founding: quite the milestone accomplishment, when I look back on our humble beginnings around Angie and my dining room table.
In ten years, our company has evolved as it’s grown from the two of us to three to nearly 90 employees today. The ever-evolving Internet and the competitive marketing landscape constantly challenge us to adapt, evolve, and innovate for our customers. We’ve had our fair share of challenges, while forging ahead as recognized trailblazers both in New Orleans and nationally.
Amidst all the change and challenges to improve, one thing I am especially proud of is our company’s ability to remain true to our identity. As we continue to grow and set new goals for our 11th year in business and beyond, we’ve found it more and more important to put that identity into words: words to define what our customers can expect from working with us, skills our hiring managers seek in new Influencers, and values that our employees embody every day they come to work.
We’ve admired companies like HubSpot, WordStream, and Zappos, who transparently publish their values and culture, so we sought to do the same. Over the course of a few months, we made it a focus to define our identity and develop our core values.
Today, I’m proud to present the newly defined and adopted Search Influence core values:
The Journey to Define Our Values
Now that you’ve seen them, I’ll explain how we got there. It was important to us to get the perspectives of employees from across the company. With the help of our leadership team, we gathered a group of 20 employees from all departments, from almost every position, and with varying amounts of time with the company.
Ahead of our first gathering, we asked each employee to think about a story that embodied what they believe makes Search Influence special. Boy, did they deliver.
In our first meeting, there were a lot of laughs and even a few tears as everyone told their stories. Some of our more tenured employees reflected on the past and talked about the formative years of Search Influence. Here are a few of the highlights:
“When you work at a big company, you are also really replaceable and not made to feel that what you have to say matters. At former jobs, I remember times where I would see things that could be improved and ideas wouldn’t go anywhere. When I came to SI, it wasn’t like that. If an employee says ‘Hey, I have an idea about this one thing,’ someone typically says, let’s run with it. People listen.”
-Rebekah Durel, Account Manager
“Empowered is a good word for how I feel here. I started out in Production working on technical tasks but kept asking about Development stuff. I had no experience in this at all, but when I asked, people taught me. I thought ‘Oh my god, these people are actually going to train me on this just because I am interested. So cool.’ I had a total career change in about four to five months. That makes me feel really good about coming here every day because I know I have some investment in this, and they have some investment in me. Most companies won’t do that.”
-David Fransen, Web Developer
“Our company puts so many resources into training that we can take a college grad and turn them into SEO expert in a matter of months. And it’s always improving. This year, we spent a lot of time making sure our trainers had the right resources to be effective at teaching new employees. After Will and I presented at Google in New York last year, someone asked me what company I was with before Search Influence. My response was ‘College. We just kick ass at training.’”
-Gabrielle Benedetto, Partner Relationship Manager
“Over four years ago, I was about one month in at SI when I took over the QA department. We had a less than adequate transition, and I basically had to learn everything on my own. I started relying on the Development team and Account Management team to make this role more efficient. I was hovering over Developers’ screens and AMs’ screens about the same amount of time I was at my desk. I was in constant contact with the Dev team, and we were constantly working on how to improve our production. I like telling potential employees in interviews that we are all a big team at SI. For myself and my team, each department collaborating together is crucial to our success. We don’t ever feel like we can’t get something done.”
-Jeff Ramos, Internet Marketing Team Lead
Hearing all of the stories was quite the humbling experience. Rather than just starting with a brainstorming of value words, we had real examples and stories, springing from which were clear threads and connections that made the next steps almost easy.
From Stories to Value Statements
A core group of us took the notes from all the stories and analyzed the themes and common words that flowed throughout. Taking all the descriptive words we thought best described us, we grouped them together into themes and reconvened the entire group to make sure everyone felt as though their stories were represented.
The feedback came with full force (we expected nothing less!), which sent us back to the drawing board once or twice, but there were a few values that everyone agreed on right off the bat: collaborative and agile were two.
Finally, we arrived at seven core values with some words to further describe each. The next step was to develop statements to further define each value.
The Company Kickoff
In our October company meeting, we rolled out the new values and gave out mousepads featuring our new statement and acronym: Search Influence employees are CHARGED. We had some members of our core group present their stories as we introduced each value to personify them and help the larger team believe in our process.
To keep the values top-of-mind and help our team continue to integrate them into their daily lives at Search Influence, we took an already thriving initiative, our Kudos board, and stepped it up a notch. Our ever-brilliant graphic design team developed kudos cards related to each value.
Now, when our employees recognize one another for their contributions, it all ties back to what matters most: that we are Collaborative, Hungry, Agile, Reliable, Genuine, Effective, and Dedicated.
What Search Influence’s Core Values Mean for You
As a customer, you can expect to get what you’re paying for: effective results and peace of mind from a group of good people.
As a partner, you can rest assured you’ve selected in Search Influence a dedicated partner who’s focused on agility and effective results to grow with you.
As an interviewee, you should embody these core values and do so genuinely.
As an employee, you can expect to come to work in a genuinely positive and collaborative environment where the dress code is casual but our work pace is not.
Are you CHARGED and think you have what it takes to be the next great Influencer? Apply to join our growing team today.