Looking back over the company’s seventeen years, Bachana noted that while some employees have remained and flourished, those who left or were dismissed never seemed to fit in. Realizing that the employees who thrived shared many common attributes, he decided to pose a question to the staff: “Why are you here?”
This simple question elicited a discussion about the common ideals held by DPCI employees. A year later, staff members say they felt passionately about their association with DPCI, but agreed it was important to distill those feelings into key concepts. The list they created highlights the company’s core ideals and the value employees offer clients both as individuals and as a team.
Innovation, responsiveness, courage, integrity and fair witness are a few of the terms the group came up with. Bachana says that listing these values has helped staff better understand themselves and their direction as a group.
The list has seen its greatest success in its impact on hiring. While in the past the company had relied heavily on prospective employees’ knowledge and experience, it began to focus more on these new ideals during prospective employee interviews.
Placing the list on the company’s “About Us” page has also affected hiring by attracting potential employees who share similar ideals and deterring those who do not. The list serves as a benchmark against which DPCI can measure candidates and has resulted in significantly fewer hiring mistakes.
Beyond aiding with hiring success, putting the list on the website helps customers better understand DPCI’s culture. “It conveys how we operate,” VP of Technology Joozer Tohfafarosh said. “It shows clients what we’re about and what values matter to us.”...
For current employees, the list functions as a reminder of why they are at DPCI doing the work they do. The list also helps them maintain a level of self-evaluation and improvement that is crucial to DPCI’s success. During monthly meetings the staff regularly discusses how to improve as individuals and as a team in specific areas on the list. Whenever ethical dilemmas come up, staff members return to the values and concepts as a litmus test to be sure that decisions stay on course with the group’s ethics.
Vice President Tracy Gardner said having the list keeps employees focused on the same objectives. Before the creation of the list, employees offered inconsistent responses when asked about DPCI’s values. “The list gives employees more perspective on what is important to the company as a whole and enables us to better communicate those values to customers,” Gardner said.
While there are practical reasons for the list from a human resource standpoint, Bachana insists on focusing on the big picture of the list’s purpose. “It’s an attempt for me, as I try to build this organization for longevity, to imbue it with guiding principles,” he said. “It helps employees understand what governs company decisions and develops DPCI into a self-sustaining, self-correcting company.”
Putting the concepts into practice literally happens by itself, since everybody at DPCI is dedicated to the same ideals. Commitment to embodying these ideals, and a deeply held belief in their importance, has served to motivate employees and tie them together. The list provides employees with a shared sense of the objectives and values that will guide the company now and into the future.
Over the past years, employees at DPCI have witnessed the remarkable effects of a team meeting in which they created a list called “The Things That Matter Most to Us.” The meeting, led by DPCI President Joseph Bachana, launched a staff initiative to better understand the company’s shared values and culture. Since then, the list has served as a guidepost and reference point for current and prospective employees as well as customers.