How B Corp certification can help you attract and retain talent

As part of edie’s Business Leadership month, Seismic outlines how the B Corp movement can help businesses retain talent during a time when climate quitting is becoming a growing problem for businesses of all sizes.

How B Corp certification can help you attract and retain talent

A higher percentage of people of colour reported witnessing or experiencing racist harassment or bullying among colleagues compared to white respondents.

The rise of ‘conscious quitting’ is fast becoming a concern for companies across the globe. Former Unilever Chief Executive Paul Polman’s publication of the Net Zero Employee Barometer – a survey of more than 4,000 workers across the US and UK – found that about half of employees claimed they would consider quitting and resigning from a position if corporate values did not align with their own. In fact, 35% of employees reported quitting a previous job because of a values misalignment with a company.

Defining your purpose and setting ambitious goals to become a more responsible business has therefore become crucial in differentiating your company in an increasingly competitive talent market. Finding ways to not only make your business more attractive for applicants, but also increase employee retention, is vital for business continuity. B Corp can be an incredibly powerful tool to help you do this. In this article, we explain why B Corp can help businesses attract and retain talent, and the benefits of a purpose-driven talent strategy.

Why B Corp?

Certified B Corporations, or B Corps, have been verified by non-profit B Lab, for meeting high standards of social and environmental performance. To certify, companies must complete a B Impact Assessment (BIA), a free, online assessment tool hosted by B Lab, and score a minimum of 80 points. Companies are measured across 5 impact areas: Governance, Environment, Community, Customers and Workers.

B Corp is a practical, action-oriented framework that looks at the entirety of a company’s business activities in order to help an organisation understand, improve, measure and communicate its impact on the world. As such, a company’s B Corp journey helps to elevate a business from its competitors, providing a signifier to candidates and employees that a company is determined to incorporate values within the business. 

Candidates care about a companies values and ESG practices

Research shows that as generations become more value-aligned to their workplace, mission-focused companies are becoming the favoured option for candidates searching for their next role. In fact, a B Corp community survey found that the majority of applicants researched the company’s purpose in the initial application stages; 70% explicitly mentioned a company’s B Corp certification as being a factor during the interview process (B Corp Community Survey).

With 80% of graduates wanting to work for a company with good environmental practices, it is quickly becoming a requirement to present your company’s impact and ESG strategy in the job description (Yale 2022). This is yet another area that is showcased by B Corp, with ESG standards being a requirement within the BIA. But the B Corp certification signifies more than a mission-driven company; it communicates the high standards of employee wellbeing and retention. 

Case study: creating and building strong client relationships with B Corp

Ignition Law, a values-led law firm based in the UK,  have set themselves apart by using B Corp to communicate their values and improve their employee experience. An aspiring B Corp, Ignition Law saw multiple benefits to joining the B Corp community. The framework itself supported their efforts to increase focus on employee wellbeing and mental health. In addition, they saw an opportunity to build relationships with a new network of like-minded clients through the B Corp community. By embarking on the certification process and communicating their journey to their talent pool and employees, the firm has been able to attract and retain a rich and talented team, which is markedly different when to huge city law firms, where attrition is high and burn out is common.

Why B Corp? What benefits can purpose bring to your business’ talent strategy?

Reduced employee turnover

With happy workers being more productive (Oxford), not only is their performance better, benefitting the company’s success, but business costs are saved from having to hire more employees to get the work done, either due to poor performance or high turnover. Patagonia, who certified in 2011, have only a 4% turnover rate and is flooded with applicants for each role (Inc.).

More engaged employees

This high retention rate is met with engaged, happy employees who perform to reflective standards. B Corps see a much higher than average employee engagement rate, with employees more likely to view their leaders as communicating a motivating vision. (Culture Amp). This is an integral element of employees searching for value-aligned companies and seeking this within their day-to-day role. 

High performing employees

In addition, the benefits of higher employee engagement are extensive, leading to increased productivity and doubled success rates (Harvard Business Review) and research shows that the highest-performing employees are three times more likely to work for a company with a strong sense of purpose (Hired).

What practical steps can businesses take?

  1. Complete the B Impact Assessment. The BIA is a free online tool for businesses seeking B Corp certification, but it can also be used as a framework to improve your impact even if you don’t certify. The BIA gives you a way to identify what you could and should be measuring as a business, and how you can do it.  
  2. Set targets and goals. The BIA will help your organisation benchmark your current performance and then set goals for improvement, but other external frameworks will work, too.
  3. Communicate your ambition. Keep your internal and external stakeholders informed of your current ESG performance and future targets. At Seismic, we use our annual impact report to publicly share our ESG targets, like our goal to score 125 points upon our B Corp recertification.

Pursuing B Corp goes so much further than environmental credentials; it is a communication tool to accelerate your recruitment and attract candidates that will grow with you in the long term. While becoming a B corp is not a small decision to make, it is a vital one for business leaders to make in an increasingly competitive labour market and maybe a direct counteraction to conscious quitting at your organisation.

edie Explains: Becoming a B Corp

edie has published a new Explains guide for businesses, listing all the key steps, considerations and benefits for organisations that are aiming to become a certified B Corp.

What businesses can become a B Corp? How does the B Corp process work? What is the B Impact Assessment? What are the business benefits of becoming a B Corp? What happens after an organisation has certified?

This new edie Explains guide, produced with support from Seismic, answers all of these questions and more.

Click here to download the edie Explains guide.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie