Okta’s Core Values: Empower Our People with Alice Marsh
Our people are our identity, and we’re fortunate enough to have a vibrant, passionate group of them. Our final core value is to “Empower our people” to be their best selves, both inside and outside of the workplace. Alice Marsh, recruiting coordinator hiring in EMEA, embodies this core value through focusing on a candidate’s whole journey and always championing her people.
What does “Empower our people” mean to you, and why is it important?
Empowering our people means being a team player—being part of a workforce that collaborates together and strives for the same goal. For us, that goal is to enable anyone to use any technology. We’re able to achieve that goal through partnering with other teams and championing one another’s success.
Empowering our people is important because whenever there’s an issue, big or small, trying to solve it on your own is rarely the best solution. Instead, you have to be willing to solve it with others. Everyone at Okta goes above and beyond to help one another, and at the end of the day, it all comes down to winning together.
Where do you see this core value exemplified at Okta?
Okta has a unified sense of camaraderie and team spirit, especially when it comes to championing one another’s success. Championing others is built into our culture because it ensures that people feel valued and stay motivated. For example, each quarter, people can nominate someone who embodies our core values to be a Ball Bearing winner. The Ball Bearing awards provide an avenue to give back to someone who helped us out in the past and may not always get public recognition for the work they do behind the scenes. It’s not often that we can step away from our daily job and thank someone for helping us, but when we do, it feels rewarding for both sides. When you’re in a growing organization, it can sometimes feel demotivating to be a small fish in a big pond, but Okta does a great job of empowering its employees and making them feel valued.
How do you embody this core value in your personal and professional life?
In my professional life, my “people” are my candidates and hiring managers. I work closely with both to ensure I equip them with the information they need to make the best hiring decisions. When candidates come on site, I’m the first face they see, so I try to accurately reflect Okta and our core values. I want our candidates to see our core values in me and in the company in the short amount of time they have with us. In my personal life, my best friends and I are all one another’s biggest fans. I’m always trying to build them up and be their support system.
Can you provide an example of a time where you used this core value for a specific project?
As a recruiting coordinator, my role doesn’t stop once I’ve gotten a candidate through the door; I’m focused on their entire journey with Okta. It’s important that I empower our new hires by enabling them to have the best possible start and then further excel in their role. As a stretch project, I’ve partnered with our HR Director in EMEA and the Sales Enablement team to build a strategic onboarding plan for our new hires that will educate them on our vision, core values, tools, processes, and more. The goal is to set our new hires up for success at Okta.
Is it ever challenging to use this core value in your day to day—how do you overcome that challenge?
It can definitely be demotivating when interviews don’t go as planned or candidates don’t show up; the reschedules sometimes feel endless. I personally try to remember what it felt like going through the recruitment process. When I first applied to Okta, it was nerve-racking not knowing what to expect, which is why I always try to present candidates with a true reflection of Okta. I set my daily hiccups aside and exemplify our core values, so that I can put my best foot forward and give candidates a seamless experience.
Do you have any mentors or colleagues that have inspired you to use this core value?
My managers from every single role ranging from retail to past internships to my current role at Okta. Each of them have inspired and empowered me in different ways, which taught me how crucial it is to make people feel valued in an individual and team setting. If people feel valued and like their work is impactful, that will be the driving force in motivating them further.
What advice do you have for how others can channel this core value?
People are often so fixated on doing their daily job that they forget to look up from their laptops and recognize those around them. I would advise people to take a step back and be a champion for those who help you. It’s free to tell someone how great they are, so why not do it today, especially if they’ve made your life easier. For example, I once asked someone if they could switch rooms with me for an interview even though it meant making their life harder. Despite now having the smaller room, this person was happy to switch. Instead of simply brushing this gesture aside, I made sure to thank them for their kindness. When someone helps you, recognize that and champion them.
If Okta had a sixth core value, what would it be?
Always give back. Okta for Good is an integral part of Okta’s culture and identity. For example, we give out free licenses to nonprofits, and employees have three volunteer days a year. Okta for Good is incredibly important to how I view Okta because I feel proud to work at an organization that gives back to our local communities. It helps give me purpose and emotional commitment not only to Okta as a company, but also to my own career. Everyone truly embodies the fact that they want to give back, and I’m excited to see the impact we can make in the future as we continue to grow.