5 Keys to a Successful Evolution of Core Values

By: Candace Nicolls, SVP of People and Workplace

Change is often a necessity. But it’s rarely easy. As Snag continued to grow and our product offerings became more robust through a series of acquisitions and new developments, our product vernacular became a little confusing. It was this changing environment that prompted the rebrand from Snagajob to Snag in early 2018.

The evolving dynamics of our organization also created a necessary yet natural evolution of our core values. It was time for a change, which wasn’t something we took lightly. Our core values—collaboration, accountability, and passion—have history, and they serve as a touchstone for the way we work with each other and our customers. They’re what guide our behavior, attitude and decisions.

How did we do it?

Step 1. Bring the team together. Change requires buy-in, and the best way to accomplish that is through involvement that encourages ownership. This doesn’t occur in a vacuum, and never works when it’s forced from the top down. We needed to have a group of about a dozen Snaggers to help—people who embodied what we look for in a Snagger. They were from every office, and from every part of the business, and with this diverse group, along with our external partner, we held a day-long workshop to take a deep dive into what changes we should make.

Step 2. Facilitate progress through candid discussion. We realized there are four important buckets of behavior that make Snaggers unique. These things are an evolution of our core values, not a polar shift away. With only one round of revisions, we developed core values with context around each one—what it means in what we say and do, and why these matter. Since core values are the cornerstone of what we expect from everyone here, it was important that we spent some time with them to understand what it means to live them.

Step 3.  Take the time to spread the message. Awareness is a crucial step when seeking buy-in from the organization. Dissemination of core values doesn’t just happen in an email. We unveiled our new core values—Solidarity, Candor, Unconvention and Fire—at our in-person, full company, beginning of the year kickoff. We talked about them in the context of the evolution of Snag and made sure to highlight the process we undertook. We spotlighted that Snaggers were deeply involved in these conversations and why and how we reached the ultimate decision.

Step 4. Leverage engagement to facilitate understanding. You need to make sure that people realize and appreciate the importance of a change in order to make it permanent. You cannot launch and then walk away. Knowing this, we took everyone through a series of exercises to learn more about them. We had a “story safari” where employees went to different parts of the conference center to hear how these values were already alive and well at Snag. We did a live Q&A with leadership. We discussed common problems, and how living up to the new values could solve each problem. We asked Snaggers to write a commitment statement about the value they were going to focus on improving. At the end of the day, people were already using them in conversations and talking about them more than any other part of the kickoff.

Step 5. Stay consistent. No matter how elaborate the rollout, a change needs to permeate through the organization. We updated all of our internal and external materials and created a page on our intranet dedicated just to them. We launched each value as a hashtag and leveraged tools like Reflective and Slack to find internal recognition of our values increased by 120% in the months that followed the launch.

Today, they are part of our everyday vernacular—used in everything from shout outs, to performance reviews, to communications from our executives. Most importantly, Snaggers are living by them and holding each other accountable to them.

We were able to update one of the most important elements of Snag’s culture—our core values—in a way that adds ongoing value to the business and in a way that everyone has been able to rally behind.

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