Help Scout's Nick Francis on the importance of shared values

Patrick Campbell Mar 23 2021

A 2021 Mac Pro with a 2.5GHz 28-core intel Xeon W processor with 1.5 TB of Memory, two Radeon Pro Vega II Duos, 8TB SSD Storage, Pro Display, and Stand will cost you $66,850.37. An Acer Chromebook with barely any storage and not even a full featured operating system will cost you—$110 plus tax. 


With one, you have a top of the line computer that allows you to create mind-melting worlds at unheard of speeds. With the other, you have the modern day equivalent of a paper notebook and a pencil. Which do you choose? Value is a tricky thing. If you only want to work with the top of the line machine and you have the cash, then you’re going with the Mac Pro. If you just need a utility machine for something to do while you're watching TV, around email, you're probably going to go with the Acer Chromebook. 


Of course our decisions get more complicated, but we’re all constantly making value tradeoffs and in our SaaS businesses it’s no different. Yet, to make these decisions quickly and efficiently, we need to look at them through a consistent framework and lens, especially because these decisions happen constantly. And this is where values come into play. These values makeup the compass that guides you towards your north star. Without these values your compass ossifies, making it challenging to aim for true north.


No one understands the importance and magnitude of values more than Nick Francis, the co-founder and CEO of Help Scout. Nick has built a company with purpose. His standards are sky high, but not rooted in snobbery. Instead, Nick has built a beautiful product by seeking excellence. His pride and appreciation for hard work and craftsmanship are driven by ideals close to his heart. And we’re going to go deep here and elsewhere. 


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Here we summarize the main takeaways for you to implement or hand off to your team for implementation.

 

Key term

What are company values?

Company values are the beliefs, philosophies, standards, and principles that essentially drive your business.

 
Why are they important?

Company values are extremely important to have because they significantly impact the employee experience, customer relationships, as well as your relationships with partners and shareholders or investors. It defines the company you are or want to be.

Furthermore, company values also have an impact on the people that work for you. Having clear company values in place will help to ensure you’re hiring the right people—people who are aligned with your company values. Your values are key in attracting the right talent, and retaining them.

 

Action plan:

What to do today: 
  • Follow Nick Francis.
  • Schedule a time to meet with your exec and leadership teams to discuss your company values, as well as your people operations team.

What to do next quarter:

If you have yet to establish your set of company values, the time is now. If you already have them, or have an idea of what they are, it’s time to solidify them. However, it’s crucial that they are in alignment with the rest of your company—your people. Your people are what will essentially determine your company’s success. 

According to Gallup, only 27% of US employees believe in their company’s values. So, it’s important to establish values that resonate and unify your company and your people. This will lead to everyone working toward the same goal. More importantly, the people helping your company reach its goals, will be doing so with their heart in it.

Here are some things to consider when choosing or clarifying your company values.

 

  • Examine your mission statement
    • This is a good place to start, as a lot of it may be turned into individual values.
  • Talk to your teams - Help Scout’s values were informed not by the founders, but by their teams.
    • Take the time to interview your team members about what they find important and what they value.
    • Gather key phrases and keywords to find trends or commonalities. 
  • Be intentional 
    • The values you choose will form your brand and should influence and impact all decisions made.
    • Your values will be a reflection of what you believe in, and that’s how your customers, business partners, etc., will see you and your team.
  • Make your values easy to remember
    • By making them easy to remember, your teams will also easily follow them.
    • Making them too complex will make it difficult to understand and instill, which could negatively impact your business.
  • Lead by example
    • Everyone should be held to the same standard when it comes to adhering to the core values you establish. When your teams see the leadership team practicing those core values, they won’t hesitate to follow.

What to do within the next year:

Once you’ve solidified your core company values you need to ensure they’re communicated—daily. This doesn’t just mean writing them down and putting up posters in your office. This means, as Nick puts it, making it part of your vocabulary and daily operations. When your values permeate throughout your teams, every decision made will be automatically based on your set of values. 

Furthermore, evaluate on an ongoing basis to ensure your decisions are aligned with your values and that you’re honoring them. Always take steps to continue strengthening your values.


Who should own this? 

The leadership team and people operations (or HR) should work together as early as possible to establish company values, as it will establish your company’s direction and help to hire the right talent. Both of which are crucial for growth.

 


Who's coming up next week?

Next week Ryan Deiss, founder and CEO of DigitalMarketer.com, discusses the cyclical nature of marketing.

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This is a ProfitWell Recur production—the first media network dedicated entirely to the SaaS and subscription space.

 

 

 

By Patrick Campbell

Founder & CEO of ProfitWell, the software for helping subscription companies with their monetization and retention strategies, as well as providing free turnkey subscription financial metrics for over 20,000 companies. Prior to ProfitWell Patrick led Strategic Initiatives for Boston-based Gemvara and was an Economist at Google and the US Intelligence community.

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