Stats and Trends Title

THESE organisations have a clear purpose

HR experts from Quorn, Lily’s Kitchen and Aster Group weigh in...

Words by Sophie Parrott | Design by Matt Bonnar

Words by Sophie Parrott

Design by Matt Bonnar


A clear and defined company purpose can help organisations excel. In fact, research highlighted in PwC’s 2016 report Putting Purpose to Work: A study of purpose in the workplace found that 79% of business leaders believe that company purpose is central to organisational success. Separate research has also pointed towards some of the additional benefits that businesses can reap from having a strong purpose. For example, a study from Deloitte found that almost three-quarters (73%) of staff who work at a ‘purpose-driven’ organisation are engaged with just 23% engaged at firms lacking purpose.

Purpose can also help boost those areas which HR has main jurisdiction over – like retention and hiring. Data published in TinyPulse’s Employee Retention Report found that employees who believe that their company has a higher purpose than just profits are 27% more likely to stay at their organisation in future. This can have follow-on benefits for the business too in terms of commercial success. To showcase some of the companies that appear have a clear company purpose, looking at what they’re doing, HR Grapevine has compiled a list of three organisations.

Read on to find out more.

Lily’s Kitchen

One organisation that claims to have a company purpose that has stayed true to its roots since the day it was founded is the pet food brand Lily’s Kitchen. In a previous interview with HR Grapevine, Georgina Cameron, HR Director at Lily’s Kitchen explained that the company’s purpose has always been to inspire owners to feed their pets with high-quality and natural food. “Alongside this is a desire to prove that businesses can be a force for good while also being commercially viable,” she added. Actively harnessing these qualities has helped the brand to attract new talent and consumers.

According to the firm’s HR lead, Lily’s Kitchen’s purpose informs the businesses’ policies and shapes the decision-making process which ranges from product packaging, to remote working arrangements and how they look out for staff, adding that this “permeates our culture at every turn”. She added: “Moreover, as an accredited B Corp organisation we are required to consider the impact of our decisions on our workers, customers, suppliers, community, and environment.”


"As it is for a person, so it is for a company: having a sense of purpose is invigorating and motivating” – American Sportscaster Job Miller

"More than half of UK consumers (53%) prefer to purchase goods or services from organisations that stand for a shared purpose that reflect their personal values and beliefs" – Accenture



Tongwen Zhao, Director of People and Planet at food brand Quorn – a role which combines all the key elements of a Chief People Officer with a focus on sustainability and environmental impact – told HR Grapevine that everything she does is to try and bring the purpose of Quorn “alive”. She explained: “Our company purpose is very simple. We say we want to provide healthy food to the people and the planet.” When asked why company purpose is so important – and the importance of employees feeling that their work is purposeful – Zhao pointed towards research which illustrates that people are becoming more concerned about social and environmental issues. This is a sentiment which she said has “channelled through the expectation of the employees”. This notion dovetails with research from Totaljobs – as was reported by Jigsaw Business – which found that almost 30% of UK workers would leave their current company to work for an organisation they considered to be more environmentally friendly. “…From our own [company], I feel like the emotional attachment from our colleagues to our purpose is just phenomenal,” Zhao added.

To read more about Quorn’s purpose, please read this issue’s cover feature here.

"Almost eight in ten (79%) business leaders feel that an organisation’s purpose is key to business success" – PwC

"73% of staff who work at a ‘purpose-driven’ organisation are engaged, compared to only 23% of those who don’t" – Deloitte

Aster Group

While company purpose may look different from business to business, Rachel Credidio, Group People and Transformation Director at the housing association Aster Group previously told HR Grapevine that ‘purpose should be at the heart of every organisation’. Aster Group’s HR lead explained that as a housing association with a strong social purpose, the firm’s values are “intrinsic to the way we operate”. She said that making company purpose visible to every employee in the business will ensure that they are united and driven by the same set of goals.

To help the firm achieve this, Credidio previously told HR Grapevine about a set of cultural principles – dubbed ‘The Aster Way’ – that the firm works to which are embedded in the business’ purpose and ensures that staff have a clear sense of direction. “I think it helps that our vision – that everyone has a home – is so tangible. It motivates people,” she added. This aligns with Deloitte’s research which found that almost three-quarters (73%) of staff who feel that they work for a purpose-driven company said that they are engaged at work.

Credidio went on to explain that the association’s employee forums – from the Colleague Council to the Transformation Network – allow employees to provide feedback on the company’s approach and the way that things are done. “By involving employees in our purpose and values, we’ve found we’re more likely to retain and attract talent as they know they have a voice in shaping our identity,” Aster Group’s HR lead added.


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