If there’s more to life than work — then it’s time to celebrate these B Corps delivering for workers

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We spend one third of our lives, on average, working — that’s 90,000 hours. And increasingly, people are wanting to make those hours count for something more than just punching the clock so you can get on with the ‘other’ things you really want to do. 

Workers are craving purpose, more than ever. We are craving flexibility, meaning, balance, and support — as well as opportunities for investment in our future stability, safety and security. And the companies who are listening, have the greatest chance of surviving the ‘Great Resetignatshufflink’ (the Great Reset/Resignation/Reshuffle/Rethink, of course). 

With worker wellbeing at the top of every business’ priority list, we are excited to announce the Best for the World in the Workers impact area. Achieving a B Impact Score in the top five per cent of businesses globally for this area, this list recognises exemplary business practices that positively impact an organisation’s employees.

Leading the way for a more equitable economy by prioritising their employees in innovative and necessary ways, we take a closer look at some of the policies and practices that impact workers’ lives far beyond working hours. With plenty to learn from each top scoring B, are you ready to take a page from their (workers) book?

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What it takes to be Best for the World: Workers 

B Corps can achieve high scores in the Workers impact area by going above and beyond to implement employee-friendly workplace policies and practices such as: 

  • Ensuring financial security;
  • Enabling career development and satisfaction;
  • Carrying out fair-chance hiring processes;
  • Allowing flexible working arrangements.  

Whether it be by furthering the cause of gender and racial equity or enabling high-quality engagement and job satisfaction for employees from a traditionally marginalised group, the Workers area of the B Impact Assessment recognises and rewards businesses and models that go above and beyond to benefit workers through what we call ‘employee ownership business models’.

A company’s ownership structure can be a powerful vehicle to drive equity and inclusion, which helps to build a stronger stakeholder-led economy

One example of an ownership structure that helps to drive equity and inclusion is a ‘Worker or employee ownership’ model. This involves a business granting shares of the company to employees as an additional benefit of employment, which can be particularly beneficial for workers who might not traditionally have access to equity-building opportunities, giving them the chance to improve their financial security and job satisfaction at the same time.

In addition to these kinds of business models, the B Impact Assessment also recognises and rewards businesses who have what we call a ‘Workforce Development’ model. 

A Workforce Development Impact Business Model is one in which a company has specific programs to hire, provide quality jobs, and professionally develop individuals who typically face barriers to employment. These barriers to employment may include, but are not limited to, traditionally low-income communities, people with physical or mental disabilities, people experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity, and communities with a history of experienced violence. 

Other things that may also be considered ‘barriers to employment’ are when there is evidence that a group or individual lacks access to jobs due to systemic and structural biases and discrimination in a particular market, based on factors such as gender, race, ethnicity, colour, disability, political opinion, sexual orientation, age, religion, or social origin, for example. 

There are typically 40-50 points available for businesses in the Workers impact area and B Corps in the top five per cent globally average a score of 45.0 in 2022. 

Of the 205 top scoring B Corps named Best for the World for Workers globally, seven are from the Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand region.

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Taking care of workers builds more resilient businesses  

Continuing exploitation and discrimination of workers has been a norm left unchallenged and upheld by businesses for far too long. According to B Corp CultureAmp, after the Industrial Revolution, activists and labour union groups began to advocate for better working conditions for workers who were frequently putting in 80 to 100 hours a week, often in gruelling conditions.

Across the world, the global B Corp community is showing how the private sector can deliver sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth while creating full and productive employment and decent work for all. 

The guiding principle behind the Workers impact area is that employees are the people who power the operations of a business, and thus, should be valued, respected and empowered by the organisation. 

The pandemic put an immense strain on employees’ wellbeing and finances, making the impact of thoughtful and considered flexible, hybrid and remote work arrangements so significant for workers across the world. 

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B Corps and world leaders, including Aotearoa Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, are seeing the traditional 40-hour work week less and less favourably. And in fact, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found that countries with the highest average number of working hours were some of the least productive.

Flexible working arrangements allow employees to approach their work in ways that work best for them, thus contributing to greater gender equity, diversity and inclusion. Flex policies can lead to improved mental health, an increased ability to support family and community, and contribute to an overall increase in job satisfaction and engagement

The most resilient and successful businesses have workplace policies and procedures that create positive impact for employees in both tangible and intangible ways, such as: financial security, a healthier work-life balance, and fostering just and liberating cultures by removing barriers for traditionally underserved groups. 

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JEDIs and the future of work

B Lab’s Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) strategy is central to all of our operations and provides a roadmap for B Corps to take meaningful steps on the path to change. 

A commitment to a JEDI framework means providing the space for workers to show up and develop as their full selves, both within the workplace and outside of work. These practices foster empowering and resilient work environments where everyone is supported to make unique contributions to the company and to the world. 

Psychological safety at work can be created through inclusive practices such as ensuring preferred pronouns are used to increasing the accessibility of executive roles to those who are traditionally marginalised.

In many industries, the pandemic has further exacerbated inequities that were already embedded deep within workplace cultures, and led many workers to reevaluate their lives and priorities due to burnout, values misalignment or inflexibility. 

Skill shortages are rising in Aotearoa New Zealand and there has been a 111.1 per cent increase in job vacancies in Australia since February 2020. These trends emphasise the importance of workplaces caring for their workers. For Aussie B Corp, Beamible

Modern workplaces need to be flex by name and flex by nature. And while progressive flexible policies are great, they’re only one part of the bigger picture. To bring flex work to life, those policies have to be actioned.

Beamible on fostering a flexible work culture

So, how are the B Corps named Best For The World in the Workers impact area going above and beyond for their people?

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Drum roll please…

A warm and buzzy congratulations to the seven Bs from Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand named Best for the World 2022 for Workers. They are: 

D3 Digital Limited | Workers impact score: 36.3 | B Impact Score: 83.3

D3 Digital is an advertising and market research agency that is 100 per cent Aotearoa New Zealand-owned and operated. They ensure their workers are financially secure, providing opportunities for career development and ensuring employee satisfaction and engagement. Developing processes that leverage technology and keep team members aware, engaged and supported, D3 also fosters an empathy-first mindset, which got their geographically dispersed team through lockdowns.

ENGEO Australia | Workers impact score: 41.3 | B Impact Score: 83.9

ENGEO is an employee-owned geotechnical engineer and engineering geologist firm. They have received numerous accolades such as Westpac Auckland Business Awards — Employer of the Year due to practices such as encouraging employee health and wellness by providing life insurance, comprehensive medical plans, and gym membership reimbursement. ENGEO’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan allows employees to become owners of the company, and they provide international opportunities for employees through their Bridge program, setting them up to work abroad for a year. 

Kin | Workers impact score: 66.5 | B Impact score: 112.5

Kin offers high-value, transparent and fairly priced recruitment solutions, doing things differently by putting people right back in the centre of the hiring process. Through their journey to balance profit with purpose, they provide genuine work-life balance for their team allowing flexibility in how they work, and investing in their worker’s professional and personal development. 

Lonsdale Solutions | Workers impact score: 38.3 | B Impact Score: 85

Lonsdale Solutions is a management consultancy that has reimagined the value of philanthropy by creating a strategy that is wholly owned by employees. By enabling charitable work to be aligned to their workers’ collective passions, Lonsdale Solutions’ supportive learning and development programs include relevant study support, external training, and membership of professional bodies. 

RetailOasis | Workers impact score: 38.9 | B Impact Score: 80.3

RetailOasis is a consultancy helping clients to become world-class retailers. Practices such as worker ownership of the company, employee benefits, offering job flexibility codified through corporate culture, and training and education opportunities all contribute to their ability to keep employees happy, healthy and satisfied. 

Senversa | Workers impact score: 58.5 | B Impact Score: 120.9 

Senversa is an environmental consulting firm with a vision to be the most satisfying workplace for quality environmental, geosciences and waste management professionals. With approximately 45 per cent of staff owning shares in the company, and a focus on enabling flexibility and responsiveness towards employee needs, Senversa has been providing a nurturing and fulfilling work environment since their inception. 

Viridian Advisory | Workers impact score: 49.1 | B Impact Score: 99.4

Viridian Advisory is an investment advisory firm created with the purpose of helping people to lead the life they choose. At their core is the principle of inclusivity, with the aim of having all workers as aligned ‘owners’ who share in the long-term success of the business. 

Putting this into practice, they are 100 per cent owned by employees and clients. Viridian believes that shared ownership ensures that workers feel connected to a larger purpose, rather than simply clocking in and clocking out. 

They also ensure workers’ health, safety, development, and engagement needs are all met and far exceeded by offering leave for birthdays, wellness, volunteering, study, and 13-weeks of primary carer parental leave. 

Viridian Advisory team. Black and white photo.

Image: Viridian Advisory

“It is so important for our people to continuously develop, and we recognise that their progress is our progress. We fund education for employees looking to develop core responsibilities or receive education credentials in the field.”

This mindset of continuous improvement is a key pillar of the B Corp community. Accordingly, Viridian recognises that — although their culture is one which they are proud of — there is still work to be done when it comes to diversity and inclusion. 

To that end, they are making bold strides to create a workplace that is reflective of the communities they serve, instituting a Board and Executive sponsored Diversity, Inclusion, Equality, and Belonging (DIEB) Council. 

“The introduction of a DIEB Council has brought employees from different backgrounds and perspectives together and has encouraged us to find ways for Viridian to further embrace diversity and foster environments for inclusion.”

A big congratulations to Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand’s Best for the World honourees in the Workers impact area, each contributing to a more inclusive, equitable and regenerative economic system.

Excited to learn more and get inspired by the top-scoring B Corps? You can now search the B Corp Directory by Best for the World! 

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