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Curating a customer-obsessed, purpose-driven tech company culture By Todd Riesterer, chief people officer, LogicMonitor

The link between work cultures that compel top talent to join and stay, and encourage top-line growth and bottom-line profits is becoming clearer by the day. In fact, a joint study by MIT Sloan Management Review and Glassdoor found that nine out of 10 CEOs and CFOs surveyed believe that improving corporate culture would increase their company’s value. Nearly 80 per cent ranked culture among the five most important factors driving their company’s valuation. On the flip side, employees that are actively disengaged cost their companies between $450 and $550 billion a year in lost economic performance, according to research from The Engagement Institute.

Employees today care deeply about the culture and cause of the companies they work for. Brilliant people who are passionately pursuing their craft – who are the kind of people employers want a disproportionate share of within their employee ranks – have a multitude of job options. Wondering what goes into engineering a great tech company culture, one that gets high performers to become customer obsessed and build a world-class product and business? Nothing draws and galvanises the best like the three P’s:  

1. Build a world-class, essential product

This is always listed at the top of ‘how to build a business that lasts’ lists, but arguably, it’s not just because it entices so many to buy. There’s no more powerful rallying cry – not just for tech talent, but also sales, customer success and all supporting functions – than being associated with a product that users rave about. When employees are proud of the product and brand they represent, they are more likely to see value in their own job roles and remain at that company. They are more likely to act as brand stewards who are engaged and able to help customers maximise value from that particular product. As a result, employers win because they benefit from a stable and motivated workforce that actively works to strengthen corporate brand, reputation, financial success and longevity.

2. Hire and grow only the best people

For better or worse, most working adults spend the majority of their waking hours engaging with work colleagues. The last thing employees want to do is work alongside team members who don’t pull their weight or who bring them down. Iron sharpens iron, and top talent begets more top talent as they spur each other on to do their best work, deliver a world-class customer experience, and grow together. Ultimately customers and all stockholders benefit from this. 

However, once top talent is on board, employers will need to be on their toes in creatively offering a multitude of learning and growth opportunities. For most top talent, as soon as the learning stops, they leave. It’s very challenging to keep up with a mass number of insatiable appetites for development and ‘getting ahead’. But this is a go/no go proposition for employee bases and wider company culture, so employers will need to excel in it.  

3. Instil purpose

A company’s purpose sets the tone for everything else: a strong customer value prop, diversity and inclusion, fairness, philanthropic work, solutions that make businesses run better and make consumers’ lives easier. Every stakeholder meeting, every sales call and every decision an employee makes should be motivated by their company’s purpose. 

However, a 2019 Gallup finding reveals that “only 27 per cent of employees strongly believe in their company’s values, and less than half strongly agree that they know what their organisation stands for and what makes it different.” Company leaders should find this concerning. I know I do.

Businesses must clearly define their purpose and the value they bring to their customers so employees can connect their work to something larger than themselves. When company leaders, managers and front-line employees actively embrace this purpose, they will feel more closely aligned with each other, the business and the importance of their individual roles. 

In today’s highly competitive world, the best companies increasingly understand that to create something great in the marketplace, they first have to build something great within their workplace. Indeed, a positive work culture with a laser focus on customer success doesn’t just make employees happier, it makes the business more profitable and productive. And that’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

About Todd Riesterer

Todd is the chief people officer at LogicMonitor, the leading cloud-based IT infrastructure monitoring and intelligence platform for modern enterprises, and recently named a Best Place to Work in Austin. Todd has devoted his career to helping leading-edge technology companies scale their business by curating high-performance growth cultures. He has led large global human resources teams for iconic software companies such as VMware, McAfee, Business Objects, and Cadence Design Systems, while more recently taking the Chief People Officer helm at emerging, hyper-growth companies like Kony. 

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