Iterating on Values in a Maturing Business

May 14, 2018 Aezed Raza

A brief history of Onfido values

In 2015, Onfido was growing fast, and we needed a framework to help embed our culture of empowering individuals. After a collaborative process that involved the whole company, we identified four values that described the most effective behaviours that existed in our team. To help personalize these behaviours, we assigned them four animal mascots, whose evolution and survival best exemplified those values.

  • Take Pride - Lion
  • Find a Better Way - Finch
  • Learn Things, Share Them - Chimp
  • Succeed Together - Penguin

You can read more about how we chose them here, but suffice to say that these values have been a huge success for Onfido. Our growth has continued to boom over the last three years, and these values have provided cultural guidance for our team throughout that time. But now we need a new value – one that highlights a more outward looking, customer-centric perspective.

Putting the customer in focus

How did we get here?

We believe that effective company cultures come from the ground up. That’s why we began by asking the Onfido team whether we needed a new value at all – and if they thought we did, what should it be about? The overwhelming majority did want to add a new value, and of those, more than 85% emphasized the need to put the customer back at the heart of Onfido culture. 

Need established, we put together a cross-functional squad composed of representatives from every area of the business. We were looking for a value that guided behaviours, but also one that was unique, catchy, and ambitious.  Over the course of a few weeks, and after several rounds of feedback from the rest of the team, we landed on a name for our new value:

“Create Customer Buzz”

At its heart, our new value recognizes the need to pay attention to what our customers and prospects want. Sometimes, this means going beyond what customers say they want. Instead, we need to truly understand where the market is heading so we know what they’ll need before they do. Customers want something better - and our deep understanding of their market will help us to address both their short-term needs, and their long-term dreams. Our product should be game-changing for our customers and, once they use Onfido, they should never look back. We don’t want to create superficial hype, but rather a lasting buzz borne out of our customer obsession.

Let’s break it down:

Create shows that we’re leading the process of collaborative production with our customers

Customer is at the heart of everything we do, from creating the best products to  delivering the best service

Buzz is about converting our customer knowledge to customer success, and turning all our customers into promoters

And there’s another reason we’re buzzing about our new value...

The Honeybee

Once we had our value, we needed a mascot that demonstrated the behavior. But what?


Honeybees! Here’s why:

Pay attention to what customers want: 
Bees spend a lot of time 'researching the market' to see which flowers have pollen. In fact, a recent study showed they have a sixth sense for this - they're able to perceive the electric fields of flowers, and use that to deduce where key opportunities lie!

Communicate Our Findings Effectively: 
Bees use the 'waggle dance' to communicate information about the location of resources to the rest of their nest-mates.

Add Value:
Bees pollinate the flowers they visit - and with huge efficiency. They pollinate around 70 of the 100 crop species that feed 90% of the world. They're responsible for $30 billion a year in crops. Without them, it's not only humans that would suffer - the environmental knock-on would be felt across all species. A third of all the plants we eat have been pollinated by bees.

The final touch was finding a colour for our new mascot. We chose purple. A colour traditionally associated with royalty, power, and excellence, we used a purple background to lend our bee some gravitas.

How we put it into practice

To help drive customer-focused behaviors, we spoke to a handful of team leads across the company. From them, we learned that it’s important to integrate the new customer focus into our career ladders, so that we can bake the behaviors into our professional expectations. We’ll also be having sessions dedicated to customer understanding during our weekly meetings, and ask that all Onfidoers attend at least one customer call or meeting per month. We think this will help embed our new value into our culture, and renew our dedication to doing the best for our customers.


About the Author

Aezed Raza

Aezed is Solutions Engineer at Onfido.

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