Five ways your business can put people first
Maintaining mental health, building a balanced team, creating a work-life balance, engaging everyone in your mission and showing you care.
Today, more and more of the workforce make decisions about where to work based on the positive impact their work creates and how well an employer treats their team. B Corps believe in harnessing the power of business to create a positive impact for people and planet and to achieve ambitious social and environmental goals, they must ensure their teams are supported, healthy, happy and engaged in their mission.
Here are five ways your business can put people first, written by B Corps in the UK.
Maintaining mental health
By Ellie Westfold, Wellbeing and Workspace Manager, Abel & Cole
At Abel & Cole we want everyone to bring their whole selves to work and to know that whatever shape that takes, they will be supported.
To increase our understanding of mental health we trained some of our people to be Mental Health First Aiders and we now have 33 Mental Health First Aider volunteers who cover all 12 of our sites. We chose Abel & Colers at a blend of different levels to ensure good departmental coverage throughout the business.
Since the external training, we’ve made sure everyone knows they can access this support. To aid easy recognition we have posters that identify the Mental Health First Aiders, email footers saying ‘I’m a Mental Health First aider’ and for operational departments our MHFA logo appears on ID badges.
The mental health first aiders meet monthly in smaller groups and use this time to support each other and increase their understanding of Mental Health. A key element of being a Mental Health First Aider is self-care and anyone can step down from the role at any point, without judgement or repercussions. We also look for patterns within departments or locations to see if we can spot possible themes in work-related causes that we can help to resolve.
Although we’re very much at the start of our journey and have lots to learn, we’re bursting at the seams with ideas and it’s a very exciting journey to be on!
Building a balanced team
By Emma Forrest, Social Impact Manager, Simply Business
At Simply Business maintaining a balanced and fair workplace is a crucial part of our everyday thinking.
We’re a rapidly growing company, at the intersection of insurance and tech (areas not especially well known for taking great strides in diversity), so our approach to diversity centres around our belief that inclusion is everything. We focus on adding value through diversity and as we grow, attracting people to the company by seeing the individual and not recruiting to a specific mould.
Through evaluation of our recruitment process from beginning to end, we’re driving diversity and inclusive Meet-Ups and events (e.g. WomenHack, Intertech LGBT and Rails Girls). When recruiting, we look at a diverse funnel of candidates and ensure each interview panel is designed to have an equal gender split.
Our gender pay gap of 16% demonstrates that we’re in a positive position versus our insurance peers, but also shows we have work to do. We’re also reinforcing inclusive hiring through the lens of disability, and are in the midst of assessing our organisational accessibility, through work with the Business Disability Forum.
To achieve the greatest impact and make real change, start with your goals. Where do you want to get to? Not viewing these ambitions as an ultimate end, and more like steps on a journey, is a great way of shifting business mindset and keeping up momentum.
Creating a work life balance
By Chelsea King, Consultant, Kin&Co
Personal growth and development can be achieved in many ways but one of the ways we support everyone in the team to be well-rounded and productive at Kin&Co is through Wednesday Off-ternoon. Launched nearly three years ago, we close the office at 1:30pm every Wednesday to encourage the team to switch off from email and enjoy some time to relax, re-energise or even develop their skills in a personal passion area.
Some of the team have used this time to train for marathons, take art classes and volunteer for local organisations. Others have even completed professional qualifications. Not only does this give us a more fulfilled, productive team with a good work life balance, but the creativity, commitment and determination that these activities inspire benefits us as an organisation too.
We often get asked how we ensure people actually take the afternoon off, which is key to the initiative working. By role modelling at all levels, supporting each other to manage workloads, and by using some behaviour change tricks such as social norming and positive reinforcement, we make sure everyone feels empowered to take that time to grow as an individual.
Ultimately, we’d love to see Wednesday Off-ternoon become common practice for all organisations across the UK. We’ve already got a couple of businesses trialling it and we’re running more workshops to share our approach, get others involved in the movement and transform the way we work for good!
Showing you care
By Nicola Matthews, Marketing Manager, Tony’s Chocolonely UK
At Tony’s Chocolonely we have an ambitious mission — to make all chocolate worldwide 100% slave free. To achieve an ambitious mission, you need a team who are fired up and passionate about it.
We strive to be the best possible employer and to create a culture that prioritises equality, teamwork, performance and fun. So, what makes Tony’s stand out as a great place to work?
Let’s start at the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start — every new Tony has a week long onboarding that we call ‘Typical Tony’s Time’. They learn about the impact we create in Africa, get insight into each teams’ role in our mission from brand to finance, and make their own Tony’s bar in our choco kitchen too.
Once they’re a fully fledged Tony we ensure our team are always performing at their best by offering flexible working and unlimited holiday. Striving to change the world is tiring work so we all need time to rest and relax with friends, family or a snowboard.
We offer lots of great perks like a baby bonus when you have a Tiny Tony, free lunch, a personal development budget and a free gym kit every year to counteract all the free chocolate. But it’s not the perks that people love most about being a Tony — it’s the fact that they feel valued, listened to and everyone knows how integral their role is to our vision of 100% slave-free chocolate.
Uniting and empowering the team
By Bonnie Middleton and Sam Minas, TYF Group
At TYF, we believe in the importance of offering all employees in-depth training, workshops and organising frequent socials. These activities create a strong bond between departments and bring the team closer together, helping us to empower each other and feel involved in the company’s mission.
This year, our team training with Compass for Life (a foundation that helps you achieve your dreams) saw some of the team have phenomenal breakthroughs. We’ve also enjoyed a full day session learning about mindfulness, self-care and self-awareness and all staff have unlimited personal development coaching with Journey and Reiki specialist Sarah Middleton.
We like to choose unique activities to encourage employees to work out of their comfort zone and come together in new ways. An example of this was our recent swimming gala and BBQ, when the team got together to pull off a fun evening of pool games, food and music.
Collectively our team are fully committed to using business as a for good and we are always finding ways to push that message out into our community. We’ve started hosting clothes swap evenings as a way of informing people about fast fashion and in September we’re hosting a screening of the documentary, The True Cost. Our first film screening of fellow B Corp Patagonia’s Artifishal brought a full house, with some great discussions and everyone signing the petition.
Offering our employees workshops and fun socials have seen long-lasting benefits within our workforce and we encourage all businesses to take the time to drop the corporate stuff and help the team to bond. We believe that success comes out of the security of strong foundations. This same ethos attracts amazing people, creates a tribe who share their values, encourages continuous learning and motivates us to educate the wider community.
Thank you to Ellie, Emma, Chelsea, Nicola, Bonnie and Sam for contributing to this blog. If you enjoyed this article, you might also like to read ‘Five ways your business can take climate action’ or ‘A balancing act: creating a new economy and maintaining our own wellbeing’.
A first step for businesses interested in measuring their social and environmental impact is by using the free B Impact Assessment tool. Any company wishing to certify as a B Corp has its performance assessed by B Lab across all dimensions of its business. These companies are on a journey of continuous improvement to ensure business leverages its power to be a positive force in the world.
To get stories, news and insights delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter here.