When we talk about a purpose-centric organizational culture, what do we mean? And how is it expressed? It’s a strategy, a way of thinking that creates a culture that’s both employee-centric and customer-centric. It works to forge and nurture the emotional connection that’s so necessary for a successful business today.
A flourishing organization has a purpose-centric culture: employees find purpose in their work and feel appreciated with a sense of belonging and alignment with the company’s purpose. Customers are the focus of company decisions and their wants and needs are accurately anticipated, which benefits your business and provides a massive competitive edge and requires a strategic, intentional customer experience. A purpose-centric culture differs greatly from business-as-usual – here, you create meaningful experiences and forge emotional relationships.
The normal organizational culture
Your company is unique, of course, but your current culture likely fits into one of the most common types of organizational culture. While lip service is often paid to create an employee-centric and customer-centric culture, it’s all too easy to adopt the status quo – a transactional mode – a decision that can have a huge impact on overall success. Four of the most common types of culture dominate global organizations:
- Clan culture. This type of organizational culture veers too much into the “touchy-feely” category. Employees form superficial “family” relationships where feelings matter more than productivity. In these organizations, consideration of employee feelings can supersede those of the customer. Because there’s so much importance placed on people’s feelings, tough decisions are often tabled.
- Adhocracy culture. You may have heard of the “move fast and break things” philosophy. It’s popular with startups and creates an entrepreneurial work environment. Growth and innovation are on a pedestal, and the focus is to come up with the latest thing rather than on people. This culture is neither employee-centric nor customer-centric. It’s more of an everyone-for-themselves environment.
- Market culture. It’s all about the results, which doesn’t leave much room for connection. It’s competitive, but not in the right way. It’s a toxic environment that pitches employees against each other to meet company goals, regardless of cost. There’s no priority to nurture customers here, either. It’s all about the competition. Results? Sure. But at what cost?
- Hierarchy culture. People aren’t robots, and neither are customers, but this type of culture makes it seem that way. Leaders value process and procedure over innovation and connection. There’s a procedure for everything, and woe to the employee who has an original idea.
Exceptional organizations think about culture differently as a valuable adjunct to their overall business strategy. They develop and sustain a culture that engages employees in a way that flows naturally into a customer-centric experience. A purpose-driven company is ambitious, attracts the best talent, cultivates continuous learning, inspires innovation, and makes quick decisions. Customers have more trust in these types of organizations, and they also engender loyalty. It’s about institutional self-awareness. Here’s how it happens.
What marks a purpose-centric culture
Making money is a primary objective for any business, of course. It’s how you go about it that creates resounding success, mediocre results, or dismal failure. You can think of a purpose-centric company as one that is conscious, with a willingness and desire to look inside, warts and all. To begin to find the reasons your company exists beyond the goal of making money. Here are some of the vital characteristics that characterize a purpose-centric organization.
- Alignment between individuals, teams, and the organization to shared goals and company values.
- Emphasize human connection. A purpose-centric company that is also employee-centric and customer-centric knows that all organizations are run by humans, for humans. The people within it organically and genuinely care for each other and care about their customers.
- Share love. Yes, it’s work, but successful firms are powered by purpose and passion above cash. Profits are earned when companies help customers, investors, employees, partners, communities, and society thrive. These companies are authentic and work in positive ways that all stakeholders value.
- They solve customer needs and wants. These companies focus on the creation of desired products and services, work hard to create a remarkable customer experience, and constantly solve for the customer’s wants and needs through the delivery of experiences.
A purpose-centric culture serves as a catalyst for both employee-centric and customer-centric growth. Its focus is to develop customer relationships that include creative problem-solving and a fundamental understanding of the customer and also ensure employees are nurtured and valued.
A customer-centric culture includes the right talent, customer empathy, and transparency
Customer centricity has a big payoff. Just a 5% increase in customer retention boosts profits by more than 25%, and it’s been shown that consumers will spend more with companies that truly deliver exceptional customer experiences. It’s a case of “if you build it, they will come.” Social media has made word-of-mouth even more powerful: 44% of buyers say they tell their friends when they’ve had a positive experience. But customers aren’t the only beneficiaries of a customer-centric culture: these companies empower their employees to make decisions so they can do their best work.
Customer centricity works as a growth strategy as well as a strategy to create a strong overall company culture.
When you build a customer-centric company, you:
- Hire the best talent. This shouldn’t be difficult – job seekers today value authenticity, and once they are hired, a customer-centric culture means they are more engaged and more likely to stick around. From the very first interview, make sure they’re aligned with customer-centric thinking. This means you must prioritize customer needs, and HR and marketing should collaborate to gauge the applicant’s customer orientation.
- Operationalize customer empathy. Empathy is a bit of a buzzword today, but in practice, it is the ability to know – even anticipate – a customer’s need, understand why they have that need, and respond effectively and appropriately. Empathy must be interwoven as a cost of entry into every customer interaction.
- Are transparent. All employees must have access to customer insights. How else can they understand your customer-centric strategy? Shine a light on what worked and what didn’t, and share this information – this will increase customer understanding, push your customer-centric goals forward, and elevate the customer experience.
- Facilitate improved interactions. It’s not appropriate for everyone in your company to interact with customers, but employees can observe focus groups, listen to sales and support call recordings, and attend customer events.
It’s essential to be able to measure your customer-centric efforts and how they impact results, and instead of tying compensation to sales, connect it to the customer to produce goal alignment. A successful organization today will adopt a culture and strategy that is purpose-centric, customer-centric, and employee-centric. Create connections that propel outstanding company success and see profit margins increase. Because when you measure unconventionally, it shows up in the most fascinating places.
Learn more with Advantages
The Advantages team is poised to help you make deeper connections and forge stronger relationships with your customers. It starts when you learn to infuse your purpose. Let’s connect to discover what we can do together.