All this month, we’ll be sharing stories related to B Corp’s “Vote Every Day” campaign. The third installment is from Financial Advisor, Leesa Childress Sluder.
As we continue to celebrate B Corps in March, I have been reflecting on my personal journey to seek out and work for a certified B Corporation https://bcorporation.net. The B Corp certification process is robust, and as a potential employee, it shows the priorities of the company and can help assure a match in values. In a tight labor market where companies are competing for the best talent, this certification can be a distinguishing factor to attract and retain employees. People like being part of the movement to use business as a force for good in the world.
Certified B Corp companies are required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community and the environment. To qualify for certification, companies need to have a triple bottom line (people, profit, planet) philosophy soaked into the DNA—they create a healthy workplace with competitive pay (living wage plus), benefits, and an atmosphere that is demanding, yet creative and empowering for the people that work there. This human capital strategy usually results in low turnover and employee engagement. In many cases, B Corps like New Belgium Brewing, Method, Patagonia and others have huge numbers of applicants for any jobs that they post. Word on the street is that working at these companies is fun, supportive, and growth opportunities abound. This is contrasted with many large companies that ask professionals to “punch a clock” (which feels like the opposite of empowering), while still expecting work to take place nights and weekends—ironically, my observation is that the tighter a company tries to control their employees, the higher the turnover, the more likelihood of reduced productivity, and the potential for on the job sabotage increases, as resentment grows.
“About eight years ago when I was running my own firm, Triple Bottom Line Consulting, I read about the B Corp certification process and told friends I would only return to work for a company if it was a certified B Corp.”
About eight years ago when I was running my own firm, Triple Bottom Line Consulting, I read about the B Corp certification process and told friends I would only return to work for a company if it was a certified B Corp. I stated this desire after decades of working in Fortune 50 companies, and experiencing the feeling that while I was successful from an external metrics standpoint, I often felt like a cultural mismatch on the inside. As I read about B Corps, I wanted to work in an environment that valued more than the traditional bottom line. When I first started looking for a B Corp, there were only two in North Carolina, and both did not have positions available that utilized my finance and psychology background.
Every few months I would visit the website to see if any new companies were listed, and in early 2015, Krull & Company (the predecessor of Earth Equity Advisors) showed up on the list. To make it even more intriguing, the company was headquartered in my hometown of Asheville! I sent Pete Krull an introductory email, and we met the next week for coffee. As they say, the rest is history, as I immediately felt like I was a cultural match for the firm. I felt confident that going to the effort to obtain the B Corp certification told me volumes about the firm’s philosophy and priorities.
The average full time employee in the US works over 2000 hours a year—that represents a huge amount of energy, effort and interaction with co-workers, so choose your employer wisely! It can be really helpful to be sure that you are a match for the corporate culture, and the B Corp certification is one way to identify companies that have gone to significant effort to align with these principles. Here is a link to learn more about B Corps, and the certification process https://bcorporation.net/certification