Welcome to Sisense Surprises, where we showcase unexpected and thought-provoking aspects of the Sisense culture. We describe what makes Sisense a special place to work and allow existing and prospective Sisensers to realize how their work matters.
As a leader in the business intelligence and analytics industry, Sisense has worked hard to embed the unique qualities that drove its success and growth into its corporate DNA. It also has an incredibly diverse leadership team that encourages employees to act as owners and innovators.
A company’s values impact and describe its culture, brand, and business strategies. In a recent Glassdoor survey, nearly 56 percent of employees felt culture was more important than compensation when choosing a new job. Additionally, 63 percent of consumers consider it important to buy from purpose-driven brands.
So as we begin 2020, Sisense published company values. As a rapidly growing startup, this has been an essential process, which was led by Chief People Officer Nurit Shiber.
Shiber a positive leader that sets direction at Sisense
Walking through the halls of the New York Sisense office, it’s impossible to avoid Nurit. As a driving force and culture evangelist, Shiber is passionate about the Sisense People team and establishing values that reinforce winning corporate behaviors.
Nurit is a working mom who’s spent the last 4-plus years overseeing much of the company’s growth. What separates her from the vast majority of HR professionals is her ability to engage others with empathy and a human touch. These qualities are in full display as she executes her role, building the employee infrastructure and creating an internal support system. She also is passionate about providing balance for a leadership team that is hyper-focused on growth and establishing market dominance in a competitive industry.
“I see my role to be a voice of the people and our culture to the executive team. We are in a unique position, I want to help us scale but also architect an organizational design and fabric that helps others to be successful,” Shiber said. “The best part of my role is to help people realize their potential and increasing impact, both personally and professionally. People that make an impact are happier.”
The right values at the right time
The precursor to Sisense’s official values was a mantra to be “Sisensers” or do things “the Sisense way.” Employees were part of a community and team that thrived on collaboration, in an environment that was welcoming to newcomers. These values will build on that lineage and better guide Sisense’s path into the future. And they are important because as a fast-growth company, maintaining a culture is among the most important areas of focus.
Following the Periscope Data merger and based on the growing size of the company, this was the logical moment to formalize company values. A formal explanation of Sisense culture is also forthcoming, encompassing the company’s origin, its offices, and the veteran employees that drive its culture. For now, codifying the Sisense values is an important step to more formally guiding employees in building a culture and the company that will win the future.
“As a rapidly growing startup, it was essential for us to go through this process. There are a few ingredients that go into making good values. They have to be memorable, short, actionable, and the whole team has to be passionate about them,” Shiber added. “Our culture is the sum of our people, and by defining our values, we have set the compass and direction for our cultural path as we go forward to clearly provide behavioral guidelines around how to act.”
In an evolving industry, values contribute to a unique Sisense voice
Before establishing these values, Sisense did some base-level research, but primarily looked inward and was inclusive while asking both long-standing and new employees around their ideas for what reflected Sisense’s unique success and true character. And while not everyone embodies every value to the same degree, Sisense’s culture marketing platform is extremely important.
According to Nurit, “Our people are authentic and are extremely collaborative across each of our international offices. They push for impact and bring their best selves.”
Nurit gave a great example of Sisense values at work in the real world of software sales at a fast-paced startup: closing a deal. The Sisense data and analytics platform can fundamentally change the way businesses make decisions, and often the advocacy and support to close a deal requires numerous functions across the organization to huddle closely and work together. Nurit says that relationship-building and teamwork are part of what makes a successful “Sisenser.”
“Customer obsession is a differentiating aspect that carries through the entire company and it relates to how we engage all of our people — both our end customers and our internal colleagues. This often seems obvious here we take it to an extreme. We reward innovators because in so many ways we are challenging so many entrenched, highly-resourced competitors.”
Building the future of Sisense (and analytics)
The culmination of these values is that Sisense sees itself as a people-first (both employees and customers) and collaborative company. In every way, recruitment efforts are aimed at attracting those that embrace this challenge. Recent headcount growth exceeding 30 percent over the past year creates new challenges, but Sisense is regimented about maintaining its authenticity around its culture.
“We are looking for people committed to achieving new heights, who want to work at a technology company that includes real people and authentic relationships.” Shiber commented, “But we aren’t perfect, we surveyed the whole company twice a year to get regular feedback and we take it seriously. Our leadership team is accountable to our people and we constantly reinforce that.”
A company’s values should guide what it does on a daily basis, whether it be creating a new feature, helping a customer, or writing a blog post. They are the fundamental beliefs of an organization and they guide and influence its behavior and actions.
As Roy Disney put it: “It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.”
Brian Becker runs content marketing at Sisense. He’s previously held similar roles at Chase and Thomson Reuters and is a regular speaker at marketing conferences and quoted in media outlets such as Digiday, AdAge, Business Insider and the Content Strategist.