Establishing Our Purpose: An Organic Approach to Culture

By: Jen Molinaro, Vice President, Talent Management, Kontoor Brands Jun 03, 2019 Feature Story Tags: Leadership, Workplace

In my 20-year career as a talent-management consultant and practitioner, I have seen organizations both succeed and struggle to define who they are and why they exist.  For those who succeed in embedding a purpose-driven culture, research proves that those organizations are more resilient to market volatility and produce consistent long-term results.

A large part of what drives business performance in purpose-driven organizations is an engaged workforce that finds meaning in their work, and operates with integrity, inclusivity and accountability. This is the kind of culture and performance that we are setting out to cultivate at Kontoor Brands.

Watching Kontoor Brands come to life has been an exciting time for all of us. Recently, we celebrated our first day as a publicly traded, independent company after months of hard work to separate two companies.  Almost immediately after the separation from VF was announced last August, a team of leaders from across our Jeanswear organization met to discuss our approach to defining our culture. We all agreed: the process to develop our purpose, mission and values should be organic, simple and inclusive.

Over the last 8 months, we worked diligently to ask important questions about our company's purpose: What type of company do we aspire to be? What's our story? What type of culture do we want to create?

With that in mind, we set up focus groups and meetings with hundreds of employees from across our organization. These groups included employees with a diverse set of responsibilities, titles, backgrounds and ideas. In these sessions, they shared what is most important to each of them. We explored important topics, such as diversity and inclusion and employer and workplace culture. We listened.

After months of open and honest dialogue with employees, and collaboration with Kontoor’s Executive Leadership Team and Board of Directors, we developed a set of foundational elements that aim to define our culture and aspirations as a company:

Our Purpose: We are the common thread that inspires people to live with passion and confidence.

Our Mission: We grow our iconic brands through innovation, design and sustainable performance to excite more and more consumers.

Our Values:

  • We Are Kontoor
  • We Win Together
  • We Do The Right Thing

Shaping our culture, with purpose, mission and values as our foundation, is one of the most important steps we can take as a new organization. Now, it's up to us to take our collective global power and energy and embed our purpose, mission and values into how we operate every day to inspire those around us to be a positive force for our business, our employees, and the world.