15 Mar 2023

B Corp certification: your competitive edge in talent attraction and retention

By Jessica O’Neill
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The rise of ‘conscious quitting’ is fast becoming a concern for companies worldwide. New research released by KPMG found that one in three 18–24-year-olds have rejected a job offer based on ESG records. Former Unilever Chief Executive Paul Polman’s publication of the Net Zero Employee Barometer (which surveyed more than 4,000 UK and US workers) found about half claimed they would consider quitting if corporate values did not align with their own, and 35% of employees reported resigning from a previous job for the same reason.

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 to applicants but also increase employee retention, is vital for business continuity. B Corp can be an incredibly powerful tool to help you do this. 

What is B Corp?

B Corp is a practical, action-oriented framework that looks at the entirety of a company’s business activities 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. 

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.

A company’s values and ESG practices get them noticed 

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. 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). 

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). The B Corp certification signifies more than a mission-driven company; it communicates the high standards of employee wellbeing and retention.

Case study – Ignition Law

Using B Corp to build  strong client relationships and improve employee wellbeing

Ignition Law, a values-led law firm based in the UK, set themselves apart and improved their employee experience by using B Corp to communicate their values. Whilst still an aspiring B Corp, Ignition Law saw an opportunity to build relationships with a new network of like-minded clients through the B Corp community. In addition, they used the framework to increase focus on employee well-being and mental health. 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 compared to huge city law firms, where attrition is high and burnout is common. Read more.

How B Corp brings purpose to your business’ talent strategy

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. 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 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).

Less employee turnover

With happy workers being more productive, not only is their performance better, benefitting the company’s success, but business costs are saved from having to hire more people 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 are flooded with applicants for each role.

Are you ready to B Corp?

If you are preparing your business to become a B Corp here’s a few questions you might find useful to percolate:

  • Do you have senior management buy-in? Do you know who will be your Exec Sponsor?
  • Do you have a B Team? Have you decided who will be included in your cross-functional working group?
  • Do you have dedicated resource in place to manage this project?

To get a comprehensive idea of how to prepare for achieving the gold standard of business certification and joining this progressive movement, you can download Seismic’s Are you ready to B Corp? guide.

Your partner for change

Seismic partner with organisations to help change society for the better. We help bring your ESG strategy to life, engaging your employees, customers and investors as you become an increasingly impactful force for good. Get in touch.