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Embedding a purpose in a complex business (Part 2/4)

How do you embed a purpose in a complex business with over 10,000 employees and many contractors? Read Helen Pitcher OBE’s tips and tricks for getting this right.

1 Feb 2021 | 13 min read


Here at Rungway, there's one belief that is at the heart of what we do - from the product we build to the way we work together as a team: Every Question Matters.

We recently hosted a webinar entitled “No turning back - leading differently in 2021”. 

We had more questions from attendees than we could answer live, and we didn't want to leave them unanswered.  So we sent the questions to our two panellists to get more of their knowledge and experience, and we will publish their responses over the coming weeks. To watch the webinar on-demand click here

What advice would you give to embed a recently launched purpose in a complex business with over 10,000 employees and many contractors?

Helen Pitcher OBE.png

Helen Pitcher OBE
CEO Coach, Chairman and Board Facilitator

That's a difficult one, and it depends how the purpose was formed, what the consultation process was, what the communication process has been now that it exists, and what kind of training and support are the unit line managers being given. If you've got all of those employees and they’re dispersed, it can't be done just from the centre. It has to be “local touch”, and it has to be with people who buy into that purpose and are very clearly and visibly ambassadors of that purpose. So, that's one way.

Another way, which we're doing with one of my businesses, is we’ve allocated non-execs an area or region of the business that they are responsible for engaging with.  Under corporate governance rules there are new requirements about engaging with your workforce, and to evidence that you are doing so.  So NEDs are holding, along with either the country president or general Manager, open zooms.  Like the old town halls, but people, oddly enough, will speak up more on Zoom and post more questions. 

Rungway’s a great way to get this sort of feedback too as people can be anonymous and ask questions when it suits them, not just around one event. So you're getting much more of that connectivity.  Having sessions around purpose, some people will say, “Isn’t this a waste of time when frankly we just need to “survive” through this pandemic. Isn’t this just words?” This is where the line manager and the NED have to be able to have that conversation in a very open way and explore why somebody thinks that. But also to explain why your purpose is so central to aligning everybody, and getting everybody engaged with the organisation’s survival, so that it will once again thrive. 

This is the sefcond article based on audience questions during our webinar “No turning back - leading differently in 2021”. To watch the webinar on-demand click below.


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