Sales Director Ken Rahn on Learning and...
What does the Medallia Sales team have in common with a Navy aircraft carrier’s nuclear power plant? Ken Rahn says there are more similarities than you might think. In this...
Your message has been received and we will contact you shortly.
Get the best in Customer Experience content delivered straight into your inbox.
At Medallia, our values are our true north. They guide our decisions, drive our behavior toward our customers and one another, and define our identity. We believe that “living our values” shapes the Employee Experience, which in turn has a profound impact on a great Customer Experience.
With 1,300 employees and counting, maintaining that foundation is more important than ever as we grow. This is an inflection point in Medallia’s journey—an opportunity to honor our unique legacy while solidly aligning all Medallians, whether they’ve been here for six months or six years, around a clear and steady path to a sustainable future.
That’s why we recently honed in on five core values (from nine) that best encapsulate the spirit of Medallia and Medallians: Create Customer Value, Value People, Fight to Win, Push for Great and Be an Owner.
The outcome of more than a year of careful consideration and global feedback, this update not only clarifies our values, but also offers concrete guidance for putting them into practice. For new Medallians, it provides valuable context to help them better align with and contribute to our culture. It also helps quell the anxiety many people experience as a company grows: Will we lose what makes this place special? Will we lose who we are? While our practices and processes may evolve or change over time, the values that ground us remain core.
This effort began well before I joined the team, when Medallia started growing rapidly in 2016. The values back then captured our spirit—but they were a few too many, open to interpretation, and challenging to remember. The Operating Team recognized the need for clarity and got to work starting with a series of global focus groups with longtime and newer Medallians.
It was clear to me from my first conversations with our co-founders Amy and Borge how invested they were in the company culture. I was impressed with the commitment they and the rest of the leadership team showed to getting the values right, and to finding a leader for the People team who aligned with their vision. They asked tough questions—and so did I. As soon as I joined, we got to work reviewing the focus group feedback and collaborating on new language that would make it crystal clear what our values truly mean—and what they don’t mean.
I have also had the privilege of discussing Medallia’s core values with our new President and CEO, Leslie Stretch. He is fully aligned and amplified the importance of treating others—customers, colleagues, investors—as we would like to be treated, with trust and respect. He also echoed our sentiment about being honest with employees about our performance in the market, and the challenges we face as a company.
The result of that collaboration, combined with the focus group input, consideration and debate is Medallia’s five new core values, each of which will guide us in our day-to-day decisions as we grow.
Create Customer Value
While all five values are important, this is where we begin—because it is the foundation of everything we do at Medallia. When the organizations we serve are successful, so are we. Creating customer value doesn’t mean doing whatever our customers ask. Rather, it means listening carefully to their needs, developing partnerships, and finding the best ways our products and services can add real, tangible benefits and help them achieve their goals.
Context is key for understanding this value, because it can be interpreted many ways. At Medallia, valuing people means treating each other and our customers with trust, humility, and respect. It means being our authentic selves—even when it’s difficult.
Because we value people, we are committed to fairness and honesty whenever we give feedback. We invest in each other’s development, and we have the courage to not sugarcoat performance issues. And, just like our product, we honor each of the experiences that build our people. At Medallia we hire the whole person, not just a part of them.
Fight to Win
When Medallians decide to do something, we give it our absolute best. We act with urgency and intensity, and we are relentless in pursuing our goals. Most importantly, we never give up.
For this value, the word “fight” is key: We are willing to work hard. We aren’t aiming for easy wins, and there is no coasting. Because we believe so strongly in what we’re trying to do, we are energized in the face of daunting odds. We are focused on long-term success. We believe we can win.
Be an Owner
This value is about accountability. It’s about owning your mistakes instead of passing blame, and living up to your promises.
It’s also about bringing an ownership mentality to everything we do, including issues that are outside our individual areas of responsibility. As we grow, we must understand there is no such thing as “not my problem.” Medallians are stewards of the company’s success. We invest like it’s our own money, and we put the team before ourselves.
Push for Great
At Medallia, we reject mediocrity and challenge the status quo. We hire people with potential, we invest in their growth, and we encourage Medallians to focus on continuous improvement through ongoing feedback. We strive not for simply “good enough,” but for excellence through continuous learning, purposeful improvement and innovation. These are the hallmarks of a growth mindset, which is a foundation of Medallia’s culture, and based on Carol Dweck’s research. We believe a person’s talents aren’t fixed, and that learning, not knowing, is the path to greatness.
To unlock the power of these new core values, we must put them into practice. To that end, we are integrating them into several current Medallia programs and introducing two new ones: a “Living our Values” speaker series, and a “Spotlight on Values” recognition at each quarterly company meeting.
We are about to launch the “Living our Values” speaker series, where we will invite Medallians from across different teams and geographies to share their interpretation and execution of a core value. Each quarter we will focus on one particular value. The “Spotlight on Values” program launched in June 2018 recognizes teams and cross-functional groups that achieve incredible results in a way that exemplifies Medallia’s values. It is about recognition, not awards. It’s about sharing stories—explaining the great work each team did and how they accomplished it, and celebrating their success with their teammates company-wide. We also post the spotlights on our company intranet, and we’re planning an end-of-the-year celebration for all the Medallians who are recognized.
Additionally, our onboarding, goal-setting, and performance review processes will reflect our refreshed values, and a new toolkit will give managers and employees additional resources to help operationalize them. Our values also form the basis of the Good Medallian compliance program—including our code of conduct and ethics, anti-harassment training, and international business best practices.
Through these programs and the work of each Medallian, we can make our values not just words on a website or poster, but the very means by which we serve our customers and attract and develop talent. If we strive to create customer value, value people, fight to win, be owners, and push for greatness every day, in each decision we make and every action we take, we will continue to set Medallia apart and grow both as individuals and as a team.