Below is an email I sent to all Benefitfocus associates

Hello Cats,

Over the years I have observed a rare phenomenon at Benefitfocus. I have seen a pattern time and again where a big project, customer need, technical challenge or even party to plan has come up and all of a sudden a random team of associates comes together to solve it. Amazing to watch- even more amazing when you think of our actual business results that have followed this pattern.

Over the past year I have had a bit of inner voice bringing this word, "Together", up over and over. I see examples of associates coming together in all sorts of creative ways. I got the sense that this word needed to be included in our Core Values on the "Back of the Badge."

I tend to resist adding to the badge. As you see in the front of our book, Winning with Culture, I outline what I think the difference is between Core Values and Culture. To me, Core Values are a short list of the highest level for all of us to aspire to. Culture consists of all sorts of phrases that describe the personality of the organization. So when it comes to the back of the badge I move very slowly, measured in years.

The first two values came with the founding of the company. I always knew that if I ever had the opportunity to start a company I would want it to be based on Anticipatory Service. I am allergic to bad service. I also knew that I had a chip on my shoulder about how some folks look down on certain people for all types of reasons and therefore I wanted a basic Respect for the Individual deep in the soul of the company.

After several years we added Celebrate because we saw it as a unique value to our group and also something we felt we needed to teach new folks. We saw that many people joining the company had never been with a company that did a lot of celebrating and so we needed it to be foundational. I took at least three years to add that even though I knew it was key to who we are.

So now after twelve years I sense that it is time to put in stone a fourth core value: Together. This one is mostly because I have seen it throughout the years. It is who we are, and also because new folks joining may not have worked in an environment like ours. I have been thinking about this for some time and recently in a meeting I just decided to go ahead and put it on my badge.

Attached is a photo of the back of my badge. Together is now part of the Core Value foundation from which we all can build upon. I hesitate to say it is a new core value because it has been here all along. It is more of an acknowledgment, along with a way for us to communicate with new associates moving forward. It is also a reminder to each of us as we solve big complex problems for our customers that when we work together we always win.

I am sure I could have written this in a more sweeping fashion, drawn some larger context, made my points better. But I wanted to send along the photo and ask you to join me in adding Together to the back of the badge. Feel free to hand write it on your's. I am sure we will work out the details to get it formally added to new badges going forward.

You all are an awesome bunch. I continue to be amazed at the technology you design and engineer and the fantastic service you provide to our customers. Thank you so much.