Company values: What they are, why they matter, and how they shine at Miro

10 min read

November 16, 2023

Company values: What they are, why they matter, and how they shine at Miro

Company values do more than show customers what a company cares about. They also show employees that the company cares about their career growth and happiness.

Company values are a statement, but more importantly, they’re a promise. And with each passing day, more brands are finding that this promise isn’t just a bonus: at this point, it’s an expectation from both customers and employees.

A survey across 25 countries showed that 70% of customers buy from brands that reflect their personal values. In another survey, 56% of workers said they wouldn’t even consider working for a company if they disagreed with its values.

When companies choose their values thoughtfully and put in the elbow grease to bring them to life, amazing things can happen for everyone. Let’s look at a broader company values definition and why they’re important, then zoom into Miro’s values and how they come to life every day.

What are company values?

Company values, also called corporate values or organizational values, are the core ideas and principles that drive a business from the inside out. They shape the internal culture of how a business operates and makes decisions, including how a team engages with each other, its clients, and its stakeholders.

Company values help to explain the company’s purpose, making a statement about the brand’s mission and goals. They’re a big contributor to the company’s brand identity and how the public perceives it.

Elements of core company values that really work

Unfortunately, it’s all too common to see brands establish values, but either fail to follow through on them or find that they aren’t having the expected impact. To avoid this, the best company core values have a few things in common:

  • Authentic. No fluff, no BS. If a company value statement is hollow and doesn’t have actual follow-through, it’ll be obvious very quickly. 
  • Meaningful. What’s the true impact of each value? What effects will it have internally on your team members and stakeholders, as well as externally on your community and even the world?
  • Actionable. Strong core company values aren’t vague and ambiguous. They’re concise and specific, with a clear path to how they can be accomplished.
  • Inclusive. The core values of a company shouldn’t only be applicable or accessible to certain members or groups. They should take everyone into account and accommodate different experiences and perspectives.
  • Integrated. Company culture and values simply can’t thrive in siloes. They need to be woven into the way a company runs, with threads that connect every person across every function and role.

Why are company values important?

Simply put, companies with clearly-defined and well-integrated values thrive and outperform those who don’t. Values help to set and solidify a company’s identity, and help employees make decisions faster, collaborate smoother, and retain talent for longer. This all helps the company achieve its goals faster, and contributes to customer and stakeholder satisfaction. 

Customers want to know that companies are operating with responsibility, accountability, integrity, and ethics. And today’s workforce wants to know that employers have their back. 

They want to know that their employers are actively working to create a supportive, judgement free environment where they are supported in reaching their professional and personal goals.

Brands that offer these conditions have more loyal and satisfied customers, as well as cohesive, more productive, and overall happier teams.

Miro’s 4 core company values

Miro’s core company values weren’t picked by the executive board, they were co-designed by the people who live them every day – Mironeers across all functions of the company. 

Back in 2017, inspired by Asana’s philosophy to treat culture as a product, we set about defining Miro’s values. As a company deeply rooted in product-led growth, we found that this mindset truly resonated with the way we work. 

We used agile development and design-thinking frameworks to create our first prototypes of the Miro values. We tested them, iterated, fixed “culture bugs”, and continuously improved them – just like we do with our product. 

This approach led to a high engagement and deep insights shared by Mironeers of all levels, all functions, all walks of life. We found that values that are co-created by the “end users” are easier to communicate, drive, and scale. There is no change management needed because our employees themselves initiated the change, and felt in the driver’s seat throughout the process. 

Here are Miro’s values.

1. Play as a team to win the world

We work, learn, and celebrate in collaboration rather than alone.

This value isn’t about play for the sake of play, but coming together as a team to achieve big, ambitious results. We believe that working together helps solve problems faster and more efficiently. On top of that, the solutions are often downright better: two (or more) heads are better than one, after all.

You can see this in even the smallest, most routine parts of the workday. For example, when a member of another team reaches out for input from cross-functional partners instead of running their project in silos, or when a team celebrates success together at the end of a sprint.

At Miro, every team member participates in every stage of developing a new feature. You’re engaged in the process from brainstorming to analyzing the results of a new feature, regardless of your role in the team.

Yulia Mustaeva

Yulia Mustaeva

2. Practice empathy to gain insight

We look from the perspective of customers, users, and each other to deepen understanding.

How can you keep learning and growing if you never see things from another perspective? Empathy is the ultimate tool for building relationships and driving any mission forward.

At Miro, empathy is built into everything, from hiring to team building to product development. For example, product designers hold user interviews and run empathy mapping exercises with users to understand their pain points and get new insights for development.

Empathy is especially important in a multi-cultural environment like Miro, where team members of over 100 nationalities work in 12 hubs located in 8 different countries. One Mironeer says, “Our Dare to Lead sessions helped me understand how empathy builds trust in the team. It’s not only about customer centricity, it’s about all of us being human.”

3. Focus on impact and make it happen

We dream big, prioritize outcomes that matter most, and own our commitments.

Dreaming is one thing. Bringing those dreams to life is a whole new ballgame. To be able to do it—and to do it consistently and reliably—planning, prioritizing, and accountability need to be built in at a foundational level. Miro teams run on processes and frameworks that do just that: identifying the biggest points of impact and guiding everyone toward those goals with as little friction as possible.

Every sprint starts with a planning session to prioritize their task backlog. As a team, we ask “What deliverables could have the most impact and what would delivery look like?” Teams work with agility, scoping problems proactively and pivoting to remove any blocks that come up along the way.

4. Learn, grow, and drive change

We reflect openly on our successes and failures and apply learnings for our work, team, and self-development.

Miro’s growth culture can be seen everywhere: various cross-functional learning and development sessions and talks, mentorship opportunities, candid and supportive feedback on how to improve and better collaborate (even if it’s tough), and manager meetings with team members to understand their career goals and how they can move toward them, just to name a few examples.

Success and failure hold equal weight in their ability to make us better. But the problem is, failure is often a source of shame that keeps people quiet and closed off. Our Fail Night events are one way to embrace failure as part of the journey, encouraging Mironeers to share their failures and how they inspired growth.

At Miro, we are given a safe space to try out new things, make mistakes, and ultimately learn from them, and I believe this is the best way to grow professionally and personally.

Laura Plank

Laura Plank

Company-wide rituals that bring Miro’s values to life

Miro’s rituals are the engine that keeps everything running. We define these rituals as shared actions that are recurring and purposefully designed. These rituals aren’t static—each team can come up with its own based on what team members feel brings the most alignment and efficiency.

I couldn’t possibly list them all, but here are a handful to give you an idea. They’re categorized into groups based on what the rituals accomplish for individuals, teams, and the company as a whole.

Hit the ground running

To be successful and feel integrated into the organization, new team members need a detailed, attentive, and inclusive onboarding experience. Every new Mironeer is put into a cohort with other new starters, where they go through a series of onboarding sessions.This process as a whole reflects Miro values: the cohort and interactive sessions are a collaborative time experience in miniature. In these sessions, they learn:

  • About Miro as an organization, including its values and behaviors
  • How they can work in ways that align with those values and behaviors
  • The foundations of Miro tools
  • Where to find support and have their questions answered

This allows them to build relationships across functions and hubs and to practice ways of working remotely with their multi-cultural teams.

Align and collaborate for productivity

When your team is all over the world, your alignment and collaboration game needs to be strong. Miro’s hub-centric, hybrid working model, affectionately referred to as Miro Together, is fueled by powerful rituals (and plenty of brainstorming sessions) around how teams can work well together across any medium, function, and location: from in-person huddles to Zoom meetings that span multiple timezones.

Then there’s the monthly All Hands meeting, which brings every Mironeer together across the globe. The goal of this meeting is to help everyone feel connected and aware of what’s happening across the business, highlight key company wins, celebrate and recognize the work we’ve accomplished, align on our global OKRs and metrics progress, and energized for the road ahead.

On a micro scale, team-level agile meetings like sprint plannings, retrospectives, team offsites all help teams to align and collaborate, and be more productive as a whole.

Celebrate and share positive feedback

You can’t feel like a true part of the team without being appreciated for your hard work. After all, one person’s win is the whole team’s win. And that’s an actual ritual: Friday Wins, where Mironeers working remotely or from different hubs get a chance to connect, present and celebrate their work, and most importantly, meet the faces behind the features, experiments, and ideas developed at Miro.

There’s a #miro_you_are_awesome Slack channel where people can publicly praise others for their work and alignment with the company values. Say for example multiple team members are tagged in a message that thanks them for their dedication to finding and fixing the root cause that was blocking a release.

Teams also regularly use icebreakers and games at the start of meetings to get to know each other, establish common ground, and get their creative juices flowing.

Build together, learn together, connect together

Locally and globally, Mironeers have tons of opportunities to build, learn, and connect on a professional and personal level. Bi-annual in-person and hybrid hackathons bring teams together to ideate and push the boundaries of what’s possible. Mironeers can team up with colleagues they don’t typically collaborate with and work intensively for multiple days on a feature or idea they’re really passionate about.

Miro believes that understanding each other’s cultures and backgrounds helps tremendously in practicing empathy and gaining insight into diverse ways of thinking (which doubles as a win-win to help us understand our diverse customer base too). That’s why Miro is home to over a dozen employee resource groups (ERGs) that honor and celebrate the histories, cultures, and contributions of those groups, including hosting events for occasions like Pride, Diwali, Latin Heritage Month, and Black Futures Month—just to name a few.

Locally, Mironeers can regularly join in on hub events and cross-hub regional events to meet their peers IRL (that’s “in real life” for anyone who doesn’t speak in memes).

Miro Connect is a casual monthly offline event that gives Mironeers the opportunity to share their work and experience with other teams organized in Amsterdam, Berlin and Yerevan. It’s organized like a science fair, where teams can grab a table and brainstorm, test ideas, share experiences, celebrate, answer questions, and present things like prototypes, sketches, and code.

There’s also “Events by You,” a program that empowers and enables Mironeers to run social gatherings that suit their style and needs, instead of relying on top-down, one-size-fits-all approaches.

Values create value—for everyone

From customers to employees to stakeholders, all parties stand to benefit when a company takes the time to create meaningful values, and truly practices them every day. Companies have more opportunities to build trust and loyalty in the market, while building strong and satisfied teams that stick around for the long haul.

Whether you’re a business leader looking to grow the brand and keep your employees engaged, or a career hunter looking to join a team that will support you every step of the way, company values are something to look out for. (And don’t forget about Miro on your hunt!)

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