Going Beyond

– This Much I Know with Ann Chambers, HR Director, Ecotone UK

The HR World speaks to industry leaders about their careers and life – what advice would they pass on and what wisdom brought them to where they are now.

Ann Chambers, HR Director at Ecotone UK discusses the need to offer added value to employees as part of a workplace culture that makes people feel fulfilled.


05 July 2023


Story by
Ann Chambers, HR Director, Ecotone UK

Ann Chambers, HR Director at Ecotone UK discusses the need to offer added value to employees as part of a workplace culture that makes people feel fulfilled.

We think about people beyond their ‘work self’; the hours they work and the outputs they produce.

Their lives outside of work have huge influences on who they are; their ideas, priorities, opinions and personalities, and add to the true value of what they bring to the business. When we consider ‘the whole’ person and bring them on the journey with us, we can build a more inclusive and resilient business.

Going through our first B Corp assessment over three years ago has strengthened what it means to be a responsible and caring employer in all facets of how we function as a business. We are proud to be part of a growing movement that balances profit with driving positive societal and environmental change.

A recent article via FT.com titled ‘The Struggle for the soul of the B Corp Movement’ questions whether pulling in more multi-national businesses is diluting the values-driven system. While I understand the argument, personally, I don’t think it is. The ultimate B Corp mission is to build an inclusive and sustainable economy that works for everyone. It needs both SMEs and multi-national businesses to  fully adopt this new kind of business.

Building a truly sustainable business

Ecotone was recertified as a B Corp in 2022 and achieved the highest score for a multi-national food company of 116.5, which is 21.7 points higher from our first audit – this  helps us measure how far we’ve come and areas for further development.

What makes us and other B Corps different is that we hold ourselves to account and consistently work towards a triple bottom-line business – with people valued as much as profit – and our cumulative impact on the planet. We consider the affect our business decisions have on all our stakeholders – our employees, consumers, trade customers, suppliers along with the wider communities we operate in.

This means understanding what motivates each person individually. There is a growing trend known as ‘conscious quitting’ currently circulating on social media. It is predominantly occurring in the Gen Z camp, and refers to the decision to leave employment if they feel the company values aren’t aligned with their own. When we say values that could be sustainability, diversity and inclusion or health and wellbeing; it depends on what matters most to each employee.

The global pandemic was such a pivotal moment in people’s mindsets and caused many to re-evaluate their life priorities, which resulted in the Great Resignation in early 2021 with people voluntarily moving on from their roles.

How can businesses continue to provide more for employees and look to retain and recruit people with values that align?

A purpose-driven culture

Prospective employees often talk about our company culture as a motivation for joining us. Our mission-led status and commitment to Food for Biodiversity stands out as a purpose that people can be a part of and truly shape. It’s essential to get that alignment between personal values and company values  to build an intelligent workplace culture that makes people feel fulfilled.


Working with purpose is powerful. Having a goal that we’re all heading towards – that guides our decisions and cements our achievements – helps to build collaboration and ignites personal passions.

Harnessing the power of Gen Z

Wellness from the inside out

There is a saying that is really poignant to our mindset when we talk about workplace wellness: ‘If you don’t make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness’. This has never held so much truth. To keep everyone mentally and physically well, it’s important as an employer to offer time and resources that allows employees to look after their wellbeing.

We implemented a programme internally called Flourish that gives employees digital access to webinars, fitness classes, workshops and one-on-one sessions with an independent expert. In the current climate, the finance clinics available have been particularly helpful to manage financial stress. Our Flourish programmes receive high participation and are consistently rated 4.5 out of 5 stars by our employees.

By taking this holistic approach to wellness – from nutrition and sleep advice to providing more social connections – we can make a tangible difference to an employee’s overall health and happiness inside and outside of work.

Striving for inclusivity

Building a greater sense of belonging in the business can be hard to quantify but the more employers can do to actively involve their teams, address unconscious bias and make sure people feel heard and valued, is a key part of striving for inclusivity.

Working collaboratively, and offering resources like webinars, workshops and TEDtalks, can help employees to self-educate and work more effectively as a diverse team. Everyone should be treated with fairness and supported to progress in their chosen career.

It’s part of a culture, a vision, and a promise that ensures people feel valued, supported and believe in what our business stands for. There’s no one size fits all approach.

Employees that feel part of a community that all work together towards one common goal; that’s what is needed for resilient and creative workplaces for the present and the future.

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