November 6, 2013 in Events (live blogging), CIPD Annual Conference 2013

#CIPD13 – Creating cultural purpose and vision

One-sentence summary: A clear mission which articulates the impact you want to make on society provides a powerful unifying mission which helps to engage people in delivering to those you serve.


Shaun Rafferty (Joseph Rowntree Foundation)

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation inspire social change and does so through a long-standing approach of research, trying things out, and then changing society through research and evidence. Their approach to employee engagement has a significant historical roots through the work of Joseph Rowntree over a 100 years ago. Shaun highlighted the challenge of ‘in-work poverty’ and how this can seriously hamper engagement and can contribute to mental health problems.

Shaun shared some of the work of Engage for Success, and the definition of how having employees committed to the organisation’s goals and values leads to motivated people which leads to enhanced sense of well-being. There can be many barriers to engagement and a number of examples from care staff illustrated this point very well.

Turning values into engagement starts with a conversation where everybody needs to see their own attachment point. At JRF, this means that the Board ran lots of interactive workshops and there is an ongoing dialogue about how things are going. When the plan was launched, it was launched as a cartoon on which people could also draw their own contribution and impact.

The second step of turning values into engagement was to demonstrate this. This involved role-modelling the behaviours (e.g. paying the living wage). There was also a new set of management standards (including performance management) to monitor how well the values were being demonstrated. All care staff also have an involvement in action learning sets to reflect on how things are going.

The third step has been to celebrate and recognise alignment and to collaboratively review where things are.

The benefits have been significant with a reduction in staff turnover (26% down to 10%) with a financial saving, and an improvement in the dignity survey results (completed by residents). Engagement can contribute to performance if rooted in values.


Stephen Lehane (Alliance Boots) @StephenLehane

Stephen opened the session by looking at how the mission of Boots has evolved in the light of changing social circumstances and is now to “champion everyone’s right to feel good”. The mission was described as not being a passive one, with an active focus on making this happen without just waiting for people to walk in the door. The mission has evolved over time but has always had a focus on being socially responsible.


It was interesting to reflect on how much of our impression of Alliance Boots comes from our experience of the person delivering the service. Stephen expressed it well and said that you can’t create a great place for people to shop unless you create a great place for people to work. He also showed the clear connection to business results where they look at the financial impact of customer-focussed leaders + capable and motivated colleagues + improved customer satisfaction, and showed that even small improvements can impact the bottom line by tens of millions of pounds.


Boots found that the biggest differences came from:

– Leadership alignment and engagement

– Embedding the brand values

– Performance leadership

– Colleague engagement

– Celebrating success

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