Developing a Strong Company Culture: Nosto’s Core Values

The story of Nosto began, quite simply, with three people who shared a common idea…

Having worked in other growth companies, we shared an understanding of how important organizational culture and values are to fostering success. As a founder in previous ventures, I’ve experienced first-hand how the internal environment of an organization has a massive influence on people and, ultimately, performance as a whole.

So before we began recruiting our dream team, we took some time to define and develop a cultural “foundation” with which to build Nosto.

We started this process by reflecting on our experiences and asked ourselves four important questions:

    1. What do we value?
    2. Why do we value it?
    3. How important is this value for our future team?
    4. Will this value help us succeed together?

As you can imagine, our initial list of values was a long one. In the end, we chose three core values to focus on. And our organization’s cultural foundation – the way we do things day-to-day  – should promote these core values.

Nosto’s initial core values – and why we value them

Our goal has always been to build and develop a values-driven startup aligned with an inspiring vision and strategy – an environment and culture that positively drives people’s behaviors and decisions every day. Besides, we describe ourselves as “an innovative group of creative professionals, who embrace change and collaborate.” We literally create solutions that bring delight to consumers and have purpose.

And by operating according to our core values and principles, in pursuit of a vision for the future that inspires us, we maximize our collective well-being.

Value 1: Be one step ahead

This mantra is tossed around a lot, but when you’re competing in a global marketplace, these words have never rang truer. It’s crucial to keep up with trends in the industry, approach these trends creatively and boldly anticipate what the market will need tomorrow. After all, building a solution from a scratch takes time, and time to market is crucial to the success of any startup.

To stay ahead, we acknowledge that we have to also embrace change. In an ever-evolving marketplace, change can be a major advantage: we believe that it’s OK to change the way you work, the tools you use and your opinion on what it takes to get things done. As Jeff Bezos says, “the smart people change their minds”.

To stay ahead, we also keep the ultimate end-user of our personalization features – the consumer – in mind and in our focus. We’re in the business of making online shopping more enjoyable. By doing so, we are helping retailers to succeed and by succeeding in it we get paid.

To stay ahead, we have adopted a global mindset from the very start. Our competition is literally global; it spans to all parts of the globe.Thus, we make sure our product, our environment and our objectives reflect that mindset. Today, Nosto is an international organization with a multicultural team. Currently, there are approx. 30 nationalities in our team. 

Nosto values - Being one step ahead

“Being one step ahead” requires courage to innovate fearlessly towards common goals

Value 2: Accomplish daily

We value small, working pieces over a “work in progress”; in our eyes, a product is never truly “finished”, and through incremental learnings, we can accomplish great things.

Accomplishing daily involves courage – to do crazy things, fail quickly and learn quickly, and think outside the box to find new paths to our objectives. We are never afraid to ask questions – even the simplest ones we think we already know – make mistakes or welcome those moments when “shit hits the fan”. If it’s not hitting the fan, chances are you’re not getting things done. We share our progress, our learnings and our failures to establish a strong sense of collaboration.

Nosto values - Accomplish daily

“Accomplish daily” means for example that product releases take place every day

Value 3: Have fun

We’re professionals who tackle a number of challenges daily, but we always have fun doing it.

Even the smallest achievements deserve to be celebrated together, and that mindset has helped Nosto build a team of people who work just as hard as they play.

Nosto values - Have fun

“Have fun” is about positivity over negativity and although we are doing challenging stuff, having fun while doing it

Evolving our company culture

The very definition of culture recognises that elements of the culture will be passed on. New recruits are taught and learn for themselves as they decipher the norms and assumptions through feedback from older members. And as our company evolves, each team member individually adds to this mix. And in this process, we’ve evolved and expanded our 3 core values to current 6 values. Some of the tools for maintaining Nosto’s company culture include recruiting, reward systems and naturally communication. During our recruitment process, we prioritize finding a “cultural fit”. Communication practices such as All Hands (a monthly, company-wide catch up), our onboarding process and employee development programs help in communicating our cultural values.

In this space, you’ll hear from individuals across various areas of our organization: showcasing valuable ecommerce knowledge from their professional perspectives; how their role within Nosto helps nurture our company’s values;  how they empower retailers, and themselves, to succeed.

Nosto founder - Juha Valvanne

Nosto’s co-founder Juha Valvanne and author of this blog post

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