No organisation can be successful without a work culture it has intentionally created and nurtured collectively by all its employees who share a set of beliefs. Meesho has been cognizant of this since day one. My co-founder Sanjeev Barnwal (CTO) and I have made it a point to lead by example with every choice, interaction, and business move. Even as we were starting up we knew a great work culture cannot be shortchanged for anything else.
I have spoken at length about how important it was for both of us to have a set of guiding principles in writing, and why it needed to be passed down from one new joinee to the next. These guiding principles have served us well in ensuring that all of us demonstrate the company core values in every action we take at work. The collective commitment to do so even led to fulfil our previous vision of enabling anyone to start their business without investment.
Why we needed core values 2.0
Having turned six and becoming a unicorn in 2021, Meesho is gaining at unmatched speed towards our vision of enabling 100M small businesses in India to succeed online. To fulfil this goal we needed to hire exceptional talent, and help them grow; we needed to reiterate the scaling with speed; we needed to never lose sight of the bigger picture. Enter our new core values rechristened as Meesho Mantras.
These Meesho Mantras remain true to the foundation set by the preceding core values and have been iterated and updated through a democratic process of taking into account the opinions of all stakeholders across the company.
Our guiding principles
Right off the bat, we know that the Meesho values had to:
- Be distinct and memorable
- Reflect the employee behaviours we value
- Reflect trade-offs and act as counter balancing forces
- Act as a decision making compass, when no one is looking
- Inspire Meeshoites to go above and beyond basic employee expectations
So, we got to work, reflected on what worked (and didn’t) so far, refined our strongly-held beliefs that shapes our worldview, and leveraged feedback and data from internal stakeholders. We adopted and adapted while staying true to our roots.
Brainstorming among key stakeholders
We had a team of stakeholders brainstorming together to understand which existing values needed to be a part of Meesho’s DNA, which among them needed to be sharpened and revamped, and which needed to be replaced altogether. These decisions were reached through diligently collected Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) data, qualitative insights from one-on-one discussions, and weekly company-wide All Hands.
It was pertinent to ask ourselves several important questions as to what qualities as a company mattered to us and what we would value over business or profit, especially in the context of our current stage, size and audience. The answers to these questions helped us sharpen our values and rearticulate them in a way that was far more approachable and liveable.
When values became Mantras
This new name reflects Meesho’s commitment to serving its users across India’s tier-2, tier-3 cities. We are ultimately solving for “Bharat” and all our properties and events — from the Meesho Sabha (weekly All Hands) to Chai pe Charcha (one-on-one interactions with C-level leaders), uphold this spirit.
And so the nine new Meesho Mantras were born -
- User First
- Think 10X, Think Long Term
- Problem-First Mindset
- Hire and Grow Exceptional Talent
- People-Centric Workplace
- Speed Over Perfection
- Stand Up and Speak Your Mind
- Act Like an Owner
You can learn all about the Mantras and what they mean to Meesho here.
Disseminating the mantras
Once we decided what our mantras were going to be, the only thing remaining was to share it among all Meeshoites and help them imbibe these nine new core values as well as they did our previous ones. The best way to go about this was to employ the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) — principle.
The framework we came up with was pretty simple. Answer the basics — what do these mantras mean, and what they don’t. Then, explain how adopting them would benefit each of us and Meesho at large, with plenty of instances around culture stories. And to reinforce each of these mantras, we introduced rituals.
Rituals cement mantras
Rituals imply active participation and actually living a particular mantra through certain actions. For instance, one of our core mantras — User First is complemented by our Listen or Die programme, a core part of our onboarding experience.
This entails new joinees calling Meesho users within the first few days of their joining to listen to their Meesho experience, understand their feedback, and present insights to a panel of senior leaders. Many key insights shared during these presentations have even been known to drive important business decisions.
We have also been holding Meesho Masterclasses where business unit leaders pick up a mantra and pick it apart until all attendees are fully onboard with it. These interactive sessions have received great feedback from employees. Along with this, we also have weekly newsletters to address each mantra separately.
Embracing the new mantras has allowed us to rally behind united causes and work with integrity and in tandem with each other. From scaling up and moving quickly to breaking down every problem to its atomic form (we are all about the First Principles approach), we are living Meesho mantras everyday as we move closer towards the goal of democratising e-commerce for all of India.
If you resonate with our mantras and are passionate about building the ultimate ecommerce destination for Bharat, come join us.
Also read -
A loftier mission of democratising internet commerce and bolder vision
How to solve for the next billion users with a brand new set of core values