How Hokodo Embeds Value Into Day-to-Day Processes | The Financial Technologist

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Every company – fintech or not – likes to talk about their values. They’re listed on the web...

Every company – fintech or not – likes to talk about their values. They’re listed on the website, pasted into job adverts, and posted on LinkedIn. Firms shout about supporting diversity, and share pictures of office events and offsites with gushing captions. But sometimes, you land a job at one of these businesses, and quickly learn that they’re all talk. This can be really disappointing for a new starter – especially if one of the reasons you joined is because the company values resonated with your own. Other times, though, you stumble upon a company that truly lives their values every day; not just at company away days, and definitely not just on LinkedIn. When I joined Hokodo, I was thrilled to discover that our values aren’t hidden away in the dark corner of an unused deck, or gathering dust in a frame on the wall, but an essential part of our day-to-day operations. Determining our values Since inception, there has been as much focus on fostering a culture of excellence at Hokodo as there has been on building our payment terms solutions. Over time, Hokodo’s values have evolved alongside the business, and it was 2021 when they took the form in which you see them today. The team was asked what it meant to them to work at Hokodo, and to identify the values they felt embodied life as a ‘Hokodian’ (we like to add ‘Hoko’ to words around here). “Our people are genuinely excited to fly the Hokodo flag. You just have to take a look at our mentions on LinkedIn or chat to one of us at an event to see the enthusiasm our team has for Hokodo as a workplace.” The end result was a list of five values that captured the spirit of the team then and still do to this day: • Own the outcome • No passion, no point • Be genuine (no BS) • Trust and build trust • Never be satisfied Perpetuating our values I know what you’re thinking – it’s all well and good for me, someone who works at Hokodo, to tell you how great our values are, but you’re going to need a little more than that. I hear you – let’s talk a bit about how we preserve and perpetuate our values. Owning the outcome of the hiring process The People and Talent teams have done an exceptional job of ensuring that the Hokodo values are reflected in our recruitment and onboarding processes. For example, interview questions are built around finding out if our values resonate with applicants and whether they’re able to add to our culture. That last part is important. We don’t look for culture fit because there’s a risk we’d end up hiring lots of similar people. We hire people who we think will add to our culture and make it better. Once they’ve proven they’re a good addition, the onboarding process teaches new joiners more about how we work and what we value. It’s a great way of getting buy-in from new starters right from the word go. No bullsh*t career progression Incorporating our values of trust and being genuine into Hokodo’s career progression framework helps all team members reach their full potential. We’ve created as much transparency as possible around professional development so everyone knows what’s required to get to the next level. No guesswork, no surprises, no BS. In practice, this has manifested as standardisation of job titles and a career framework that very clearly sets out the requirements to take the next step up. Accommodations are made for personal preferences, such as those who want to manage people and those who don’t, and support and encouragement can be found for Hokodians who wish to move from one job function to another. Building trust through knowledge sharing At Hokodo, we trust each other to make the best decisions and put the interests of the collective and the company as a whole above individual ambitions. But this wouldn’t be possible without a solid foundation of knowledge sharing and learning. All our research and processes are documented in Notion, while files and assets are available for all to access on the company Google Drive. Public Slack channels dedicated to different teams or projects enable clear visibility on the latest developments for anyone who needs or wants to know. Lunch and learn sessions and a new ‘HokoLearn’ space in Notion are designed to enhance the working lives of our people. Armed with a wealth of knowledge – and an understanding that there’s no such thing as a stupid question – my colleagues and I are trusted to get the job done. Championing our values Twice a year, at our bi-annual company-wide offsites, the team collectively chooses an ambassador for each of our five values. This is perhaps one of the most significant elements of our values strategy because it puts our values back in the hands of the team. It’s all about ownership and accountability. If you were recognised for your passion, your ability to build trust or, my personal favourite, your no bullsh*t attitude, wouldn’t it make you want to embody that value even more? Why this is so important Ok, so what am I really getting at here? I’m not telling you that Hokodo is the only workplace where the team lives and breathes their values. That would be a pretty bold claim. What I am saying is that it’s rarer than you might think. Our people are genuinely excited to fly the Hokodo flag. You just have to take a look at our mentions on LinkedIn or chat to one of us at an event to see the enthusiasm our team has for Hokodo as a workplace. And this is in no small part thanks to a set of realistic and relatable values that are promoted and owned by everyone in the business, from the founders right through to the newest starters. Invest in values for your employees, and your employees will invest value back into your business. It really is as simple as that. Read more articles like this in The Financial Technologist. Download your free copy here.
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