Celebrating Sonatypers

September 20, 2022 By Savanna Hajdasz

3 minute read time

 

After we unveiled our values at the beginning of 2022, we were faced with a challenge: how do we make sure they truly become part of the day-to-day culture at Sonatype? 

Once again, we found our answer through a cross-functional group of volunteers and it wasn’t long before we had found our solution and built the infrastructure of the Values Champion program.

The Values Champion initiative is a peer-nominated, peer-selected program designed to celebrate employees who holistically live up to Sonatype’s Core Values:

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Read more about our values here.

How it works
The rotating Selection Committee is staffed by volunteers chosen on a first-come, first-serve basis. We keep a rolling list of volunteers who want to serve each quarter, with one representative from each department. There is a final Facilitator role (myself) who does not have voting power but supports the Selection Committee by running meetings, anonymizing submissions, and more.

The nomination form is composed of questions that help the Selection Committee understand what the nominee did, why it was exceptional, what the impact was, and how it applies to our Core Values. Anyone can nominate anyone.

Once the submission period has closed, the Selection Committee reviews the anonymized submissions and comes together to discuss them. This is where having a cross-functional group is extremely important: representation from each department allows Selection Committee members to advocate and provide context as to why a certain nomination is exceptional. Selection Committee members have the opportunity to debate and make a case for the nominations they feel the most strongly about and then it goes to a vote.

Each Selection Committee member has 6 votes to distribute as they wish. For example, they may choose to give all 6 votes to one nomination, to split their votes evenly between multiple nominations, or to weight across multiple nominations (e.g., 4 votes + 2 votes).

In voting on the winners, the Selection Committee is asked to consider the following guidelines: 

  • Think like an owner: if you were the CEO of the company, what type of impact would you be looking for? 
  • Embrace inclusion: be mindful of representation and have an open mind across geographics, cultures, departments, gender identities, etc.
  • Seek excellence: consider whether the submission truly displays values excellence (vs. baseline expectations or standard job responsibilities)
  • Look for holistic embodiment of Core Values: does the nominee demonstrate excellence in multiple values (vs. in one value and is antithetical to the others)? 
  • Balance effort and impact: did the nominee have outsized effort with little business impact? High impact with little effort? 

After voting, the results (still anonymized) are made known to the Selection Committee to validate the results and determine the appropriate number of winners based on the data. There is not a set number of winners; the intent is to honor the employees who holistically live up to the Core Values, without striving to hit a specific number ‘just because.’

Following finalization, the winners and their nominators are revealed to the Selection Committee. The nominators are notified of their status and asked to keep the secret! We then ask for their help in producing a personalized video to showcase the reveal as part of a specialized Town Hall.

Celebrating our winners

Huge congratulations to our Values Champions – these folks have been nominated and selected by their peers for their holistic embodiment of Sonatype’s Core Values.

Q1 2022 Winners:

  • Sue Jasmin (Virginia, USA) – Agile Coach, Product & Engineering
  • Richard Panman (Chilworth, UK) – Customer Outcomes Manager, Customer Success
  • Ankita Lamba (Massachusetts, USA) – Senior Security Researcher, Product & Engineering
  • Frank Tingle (Guildford, UK) – Sales Engineering Manager, Sales
  • Savanna Hajdasz (Colorado, USA) – Senior Strategy Manager, G&A

Q2 2022 Winners:

  • Alexis Del Duke (Virginia, USA) – Senior Growth Marketing Manager, Marketing
  • Joe Tom (Virginia, USA) – Senior Quality Assurance Engineer, Product & Engineering

I am excited to share more on their stories soon!

Tags: Sonatype culture/awards, Sonatype Core Values

Written by Savanna Hajdasz

Coming from a background in management consulting with experience in new product adoption, go-to-market strategy, and M&A, Savanna is a Senior Manager on Sonatype's Strategy & Operations team. In addition to supporting overall strategy development and running special projects, her recent focus has been growing Sonatype's culture and employee experience through the Core Values and related programs.