Growing from a startup to a large business requires consistent focus and dedication, and you can typically find those driving principles in a company's mission statement. While mission statements are usually more for investors or employees, they're a great way to find out what your favorite companies value.
These five companies have embraced strong corporate values, each operating under a unique set of guidelines that have helped these once, small companies grow into the tech giants they are today.
The company's mission statement is one simple sentence, "To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers." One might argue that, technically, there is one barrier -- and that's the 140-character limit on Tweets, but let's not split hairs. Ultimately, Twitter wants to help create "free and global conversation," with a focus on constantly improving that discussion, rather than distracting from it.
While Twitter has remained fodder for quips or as a way to keep up with your friends and favorite celebs, it's also entered a national discourse on the social network's place in social issues and politics. For example, in 2011, Twitter dominated the protests and revolution in Egypt -- some said it may have accelerated the riots, while others say it gave a voice the voiceless in the country, and helped inform the outside world on what was happening. And, more recently, President Elect Donald Trump has received a lot of attention and criticism for his enthusiastic and voracious use of Twitter. It's a good thing Twitter has established a mission and core values -- because the company will need them as they navigate their place in the current political climate.
Airbnb is one of the latest tech startups to successfully navigate the "sharing economy." Initially the idea of renting out your house, condo or apartment on a website, or alternatively, staying in a stranger's place, seemed odd. But, just as consumers have embraced Uber's ride-sharing, Airbnb has also carved out a place in the mainstream.
Airbnb has accomplished this through developing a solid set of core values, which include staying collaborative and authentic, embracing a commitment to their mission, maintaining a holistic approach to the company, fostering entrepreneurial mindsets, keeping things as simple as possible and always being open-minded.
Airbnb touts its corporate culture, which has been defined and molded by these values -- employees get a yearly credit to use on Airbnb so they can experience the service as a customer. Airbnb wants to give everyone -- including its employees -- a new way to experience other cultures, countries and cities without going the traditional hotel-route. What better way to improve your own product than to encourage your employees to actually use it?
Adobe has been around since 1982, but that doesn't mean the company is stuck in traditional corporate thinking. In fact, one of the more recent core values Adobe has established is a fastidious commitment to diversity and inclusion. Not only is Adobe dedicated to recruiting a diverse workforce, the company has also been named as one of the Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index, earning a perfect score of 100. The company ensures a discrimination-free workplace for LGBT employees, while also providing transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits and domestic partner benefits.
Last year, the company also released data on its diversity pay, noting women made 99 cents for every $1.00 earned by male employees, and citing absolutely no gap between white and non-white workers. The company promised to consistently continue to evaluate equal pay at the company, with Donna Morris, executive vice president of Customer and Employee Experience noting "gender and ethnicity should have no part in driving pay decisions."
Samsung had a rocky start to the year after widely reported issues with the Galaxy Note 7, but taking a look at the company's core values, it's easy to see how they bounced back from a dangerous PR nightmare. Samsung cites people, excellence, change, integrity and co-prosperity as the foundation of the company's mission and core values. As a business, Samsung dedicates itself to helping people by providing the best products possible, staying on top of the biggest technological changes, maintaining responsible corporate citizenship and following a moral compass of "fairness, respect for all stakeholders and complete transparency."
While the Note 7 may not be considered the "best product possible," you can see Samsung's values at work in how it responded to the situation. Rather than downplay the reports, or sweep them under the rug, Samsung took responsibility and immediately jumped on recalling and replacing every Galaxy Note 7. The company worked over months to ensure no device went unnoticed and that every Galaxy Note 7 that wasn't returned, was at least rendered useless. With a demonstrated commitment to getting potentially dangerous devices out of users hands as fast as possible, it's safe to assume Samsung works hard to live up to its own expectations of integrity and social responsibility.
It's easy to imagine that a company dedicated to helping customers create healthier habits would want the same for its employees -- and that's certainly the case with FitBit. Arguably one of the most popular wearable fitness tracker brands, FitBit's core values center around keeping employees active at work and encouraging healthy habits. Employees can use treadmill desks, attend weekly fitness classes and join in-office running groups.
FitBit also offers a fully stocked kitchen, but instead of the sugar and carb filled treats you might find in the kitchens of other tech companies, FitBit focuses on providing healthy snacks and meals. But that doesn't mean employees can't have any fun -- the company also hosts happy hours every week, because even a healthy lifestyle requires some balance.
Fitbit's core mission will only become more important moving forward, because while the company currently has its hand in consumer electronics, CNBC reports that FitBit CEO, James Park, sees the company's future moving towards becoming a "digital healthcare company." That might mean offering discounts on health insurance based off user's activity, which can help businesses save money. With an eye on the healthcare industry, which involves more ethical responsibility around privacy, ethics and patient data, FitBit will need to remain committed to its core values more than ever before.
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.