Home Business News Half of UK employees would quit their jobs if the business failed to meet its purpose

Half of UK employees would quit their jobs if the business failed to meet its purpose

by LLB staff reporter
9th Jul 24 8:34 am

New research from Given, part of Anthesis, the largest group of dedicated sustainability professionals globally, has found that nearly half (49.6%) of UK employees will leave their job if their current employer fails to meet their corporate purpose.

Businesses are under increased scrutiny from consumers and investors to put their statements on sustainability, activism and CSR into action. But employers must also now acknowledge how their action – or lack of it – affects employees.

Given surveyed 1,000 UK employees across different industries to assess how they feel their company performs against its purpose statement and values, and how important this is to them and the future of their employment.

Business are falling short on delivering their purpose: 52.3% UK employees feel that purpose statements made by their company either conflict or only partially aligned with their day-to-day experience.

Sector contrasts

Over a quarter of respondents in Finance (25.93%), IT & Telecoms (25.61%) and Legal (25%) sectors stated they are actively thinking about leaving their current employer as a result of a failure to deliver on corporate purpose. Across the spectrum of sectors, 13% of all respondents stated they were actively considering leaving their roles because of this, demonstrating the importance of action against words.

These sectors have the highest rate of conflict between their purpose statement and day to day operations (35% of Legal, 22.3% of Finance and 22.5% of IT & Telecoms), demonstrating the important role that purpose plays in the professional services.

Respondents in other sectors place a lower importance on purpose, however. Just 5.2% of those in Manufacturing and Utilities and 6.7% in Education are actively thinking about leaving their roles due to their current employers failing to fulfil their promises towards action on corporate purpose.

C-suite more positive about purposeful operations

Perhaps unsurprising, people in the C-suite are more positive about purposeful operations – after all it should be their responsibility. But the research suggests they are seeing their business through rose-tinted glasses: 37% of C-suite believe that impact is currently being made through purpose, in contrast with only 18% of managers.

The research revealed a commitment from C-suite to align with their company’s corporate purpose, with 67.3% of those in C-suite roles stating they would leave their jobs if they failed to deliver the corporate purpose they set out.

Ben Hayman, Executive Director of Given states, “The job of corporate purpose is to unite and mobilise a company and its people around the positive role the business can play in the world and the problems it can profitably solve.

“But it doesn’t stop at creating a purpose statement. The company must then embed their purpose into all decisions made across the business – and this research reveals the impact purpose has on employee attitudes, engagement and long-term commitment.

“Clearly, employees care about purpose, and are holding their employers accountable. It’s now up to the businesses to make sure they act accordingly – or else they risk losing their people.”

Given works with businesses across the world who are identifying and implementing purpose as a management strategy – including those who are well known for their purpose such as IKEA, Lloyds Banking Group and John Lewis.

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