Technically People
Technically People

Episode 1 · 3 months ago

How B-Corp Status Can Make You an Employer of Choice

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Becoming a B-Corp certified company represents a commitment to people, planet, and profit — and that can make you an attractive employer for both candidates and employees, explains today’s guest Paul Hunter, Responsible Business Lead, Kin + Carta. Responsibility and sustainability are baked into the Kin + Carta brand. 

“Just as people are starting to prioritize responsibility more in the ways that they purchase goods and services,” says Paul, “they're also prioritizing it more in choosing where they work.” 

Millennials and Gen Z have long been hailed as the most purpose- and cause-driven generation of workers; this interview with Paul bears that out. Not only does Paul make the power of becoming a B-Corp for recruitment indisputable, but it tells the story of how one company did it — and did it well. 

KEY HIGHLIGHTS 

  • Limiting global warming to only 1.5 degrees Celsius will take commitment from businesses
  • Why Gen Z and Millennials value environmental responsibility in workplace values
  • How building B-Corp certification into your brand yields profitable partnerships
  • What your data retention strategy is costing the environment
  • What the B-Corp certification process is like — and how to begin

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Welcome to technically people, a community conversation by and for workplace futurists brought to you by the tech recruitment platform built in. The podcast features insights from leaders, thinkers and doers on the vanguard building human centered workplaces of the future. Along the way, you'll hear concepts that will stop you in your tracks, concepts that inspire you to ask yourself, what's the most futureforward way to approach my people leadership? We all know the future of work isn't waiting around, so let's get on with the show. Hello and welcome to technically people. I am Tiffany Myers. I'll be your host for this episode, in which will be chatting with Paul Hunter. So Paul is the responsible business enablements lead at Canon Karda so Kenan Karta. It's a global digital innovation firm, and Paul identifies ways to deliver outcomes that are both profitable for clients and simultaneously beneficial to society, to community, to the environment, and a huge part of that is Canan Karta's status as a certified be corporation. In order for a company to be certified, they need to be verified by be lab, which is a nonprofit and be lab evaluates how companies are really weather. Companies are placing equal emphasis on people, planet and profit. So Paul's going to talk about how can Karta lives and breathe it's be Corp status, but he's also going to discuss how the certification attracts customers, clients, and it also happens to be something of a talent magnet. So, Paul, thanks for being here, for lending your time and your expertise for this conversation. Absolutely tifany. Thanks so much for having me here today. So tell me. Why was it important for Kinnan Karta to pursue the certification? Yeah, it's a...

...really great question and there really are just so many reasons that pursuing the certification is continually important to us. And I think first and foremost, striving towards operating more responsibly has always been important to us. It's really at our core. But we wanted something that would also hold us accountable and we believed that the Be Corp certification would do that, with it being hosted and evaluated by a third party, as well as through its re certification process, which happens every three years. Is Certification also has a global brand recognition by both the general public and the broader market. So it serves as this form of accreditation and a signal to the world. And then, underpinning all of this, at Kinn Karta, we believe that businesses have a lot of power and we believe that power is a force for good. Businesses have a responsibility to work towards that equitable balance of people, plant and profit that you mentioned in your introduction there, and that was another inspiration for us. And then, lastly, the process of certification in and of itself has allowed us to identify areas of opportunity to address any gaps that we have. So, just to pan out from this picture he painted for Cannancarda, there are so many forces right now that are distabilizing to a small degree, are and intense degree, thinking just in terms of culture, politics, business, the environment, of course, and even just the way candidates are behaving and consumers are behaving. So one of those things made it clear to Cannancarda that it was time. Yeah, I mean, first of all, you're so, so right about the destabilization and all of those factors, and I think there's anything that the last two years have taught us, it's that we have so much work to do in order to meet the needs of our planet. I think the first and most pressing point of clarity for us was climate change, which is this challenge that's becoming more and more salient as time passes. Just in early August, you know, the intergovernmental panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, released what I would call a pretty harrowing report that found that, even if we take extreme action within the next few years, we only might be able to limit...

...warming too close to one point five degrees Celsius, which is the limit imposed by the world's leading scientists on climate change. In the general consensus is that one point five degrees is essentially unavoidable no matter what we do, and that truth that was predicted back in two thousand and eighteen and confirmed just recently in this report, continues to bring clarity to our ambitions. And then, in addition to that, in the market, we're seeing a lot of signals that indicate that sustainability and responsibility must be absolutely set control to a business is strategy in order to mitigate both the physical and transitional risks that climate change presents and then, even beyond those risks, we're seeing that consumers themselves continue to ask for more transparency around things like environmental impacts, labor practices, sourcing and research indicates consumers are integrating those variables into their decisionmaking processes at a greater rate than ever before, and they're even willing to pay premiums for products that align with those values. And then I'll say to that independent certifications like be Corp are just this wonderful tool for consumers and other firms to identify products and services that are making a real impact. So when you last mention this point about consumers, I did a little googling. I tug up a study that was conducted in partnership between IBM and the National Retail Foundation. It just bears out what you say, which is that shoppers, from generation Z to boomers, have become increasingly purpose driven. The majority, as you noted, would pay an average premium of thirty seven percent to buy products from companies that are socially aware, that are sustainable. But I also want to add it's not just consumers. This is very important to candidates today. They care and they care a lot. So how has this certification been a draw for talent? I mean it's been a significant attractor of talent. You know, as we've mentioned, it's this objective third party certification that demonstrates to candidates that a firm doesn't just talk the talk, but that were actually walking the walk to and when it comes down to it, forms of accreditation send signals to the broader market,...

...which include the labor market. And just as people are starting to prioritize responsibility more in the ways that they purchase goods and services, they're also prioritizing it more and choosing where they work. In something really interesting related to this, you know, just this year at Cannincarda, we worked with a group of students from the Geese College of business at the University of Illinois to better understand the GEN Z talent market and from their secondary research of generations, their research of our competitors and their own survey across the cohort of students, we learned that the young tech workers and those just entering the talent market for their first job value authenticity and transparency from companies more than any generation prior. For millennials, this kind of purpose driven ethos has been important for decades now, but the research suggests that it may be even more important to Gen z when it comes to the time, this moment that we're in right now. We've never seen a talent market as competitive and saturated as what we're seeing today in tech. So can in Karta, having this differentiator, a clear purpose and why that drives us, has played a huge role in how we're able to attract and retain top talent. Yeah, absolutely, and it's really aligned with what built in stands for. We have always seen generation Z to be, as you found, totally purpose driven. In millennials and generation Zee. One of our taglines is work your passion, live your purpose. So I think that we're all coming to this conclusion at the same time. So let's talk a little bit about your employer branding and you're hiring approach, maybe specifically with regard to generation Z which, as we all know, they're entering the workforce. So tell me how you communicate what it means to be a bee corporation in a way that really matters and captures the attention of this next generation of workers. In a lot of ways, for us, this starts with our purpose. Last year we added the phrase for everyone to our mission statement, and that mission statement in its entirety is we exist to build a world that works...

...better for everyone, and this signals that we care about the impact that we're making in the world, particularly as it relates to equity, and this really has become a core component of all of our employer branding efforts, anything from employee highlights to social media posts, the creation of partner pages, to employ award applications and beyond. And when it comes down to it, making a commitment to people, to everyone, is a key component of being a responsible business and of maintaining a be Corp certification, and for us this truly does include everyone, from employees to candidates, to clients, to partners, all the way to the end users who use our tech. And we've also embedded key elements of our unconscious bias training into our interview training program so every single interviewer I can in Cardi goes through that and we're constantly training up all of our interviewers on mitigating biased throughout the process. And even with all of that, I think what I love the most is really our certification has changed what we talked about with candidates, and that's something now that we naturally lead with. We lead that conversation with purpose and share that we are be corps certified in the very first call each candidate has with our talent acquisition team. And we do that because it matters so much and so deeply to us and we want our candidates to know that right up the bat. Yeah, absolutely, and on the flip side, we know that first call matters a lot to candidates. I think it's possible that sometimes people might see a be corporation certification as focusing solely or more on environmental or social good, but there's a huge emphasis on people. So a really important call out there. In my mind, these things cannot and really should not be uncoupled, because people in communities must absolutely be at the center of all of our environmental and social progress, because without that, in are rising to this occasion, there is no equitable future for all. There is just a future that maintains or even advances the inequitable ways of the present. Yeah, kind of an analogy to the climate...

...study that you mentioned early on. Absolutely so. So far it's become really clear that your be Corp certification matters to candidates and it matters to the people that work for you. But I'm curious to know about your partnerships, about your clients. Do find that companies are excited about your certification? Are they looking for a company that has that? Yeah, absolutely to me. I think first and foremost, the really great thing about be corpses that were this really tight knit com unity that we love to work with one another. So we definitely see a lot of interest on that front. And then we also see some of our enterprise clients that are looking to have conversations about their impact as well, because digital innovation really helps large enterprises meet those esg and CS, our goals that they have. And an example of that is, you know, collecting carbon data and driving insights from that data can help large enterprizes more effectively measure their impact and decarbonize their operations. And then we also share a set of values with our clients and our partners, and an example of that is that, like, we can do things like examining a client data retention strategy and we can optimize it for carbon reduction, or we can cocreate carbon reduction KPI as while we're building a digital experience for our clients, and that means incorporating things like sustainable UX design, green software development and really any other proven way that reduces the carbon impact of a user's journey? Interesting. So elaborate for me a little bit on the data retention strategy and what that has to do with carbon reduction. Of what you're grow about is a be carp yeah, definitely. I think to a lot of folks data is just kind of this pie in the sky idea that's a thing that exists, but not a lot of people know that all of the data that companies collect, all of the data that we produce, has to be stored somewhere, and that's on servers and data centers around the world, and those data centers use electricity and that electricity causes carbon emissions. And so when companies are collecting and storing data, and right now we're seeing an exponential storage of data over time, they'res of time where you need to examine your data retention strategy and how long you keep data, what data you keep, so that it doesn't grow...

...at this exponential rate and so that we don't consume or emit carbon at the same rate that we're storing data. Super Interesting. Yeah, I'm really glad that you called that out, because we definitely are seeing that exponential rate increase in in data retention. For sure. Yeah, it's pretty crazy and it's not something that a lot of people think about. And then one more thing I wanted to call out to is that this also shows up in the diversity of our teams that we bring to the table with our clients, and that's great, because more diversity and perspectives means that we can create stronger, more robust digital experiences for our clients and their users. Yeah, so again hearing you talk about the environment and, at the same time, people and in terms of innovation, so many DII experts continue to point out, it just makes no sense that the innovators who are making new products and services are not representative of the population it's going to be using it. So I think if be corporation status can kind of push companies to do that, or if this conversation can, that would be fantastic. Yeah, a hundred percent. I was going to say even in the realm of accessibility, I think the latest estimates by the CDC claim that close to thirty percent of people have some kind of disability, and if those disabilities, whether it be, you know, audio, visual, motor, speech, Noor Diversity, some other form. If those are not accounted for in the creation of your products, not only is your product not living up to the tenants of sustainability, but you're also missing out on a significant market opportunity there. I don't know, it's just really exciting to hear how how Expansive Be Corp Certification Really is. And you know, you mentioned in the beginning being able to identify through the process, being able to identify gaps in how you were operating as a company. Did that process push you to think about the spider web of impact that you could have like that process? What was it like? I imagine really rigorous. Yeah, it's extremely rigorous. I think in total, just for our America's...

...location, it took US close to two years the certification process really I always tell people, it leaves no stone unturned and it doesn't matter how long you've worked in sustainability like you will always learn something when you go through the BECORP certification process. And it also applies differently to different industries and I think, interesting enough, like applying the BECORP certification to a company like ours that works in digital innovation. It's something that's relatively unique because a lot of the times. But you know, firms that undergo a BECORP certification or producing physical products, for example, like that's a large portion of the community. So it's really interesting when you're a first mover in the space, becoming a be Corp in the digital innovation space, because you really are leaving no stone unturned and you're at the forefront of something really exciting. So, Paul, I think some of our listeners they are going to be thinking about be Corp Certification. What are two or three good places for them to start if they wanted to investigate a little further? Yeah, definitely. I mean, for if this session has inspired you, if you're listening, it's all thanks to the technically people podcast. I'm super humble to have been here today and just hope that this conversation sparks something for your listeners here. But as far as tips go for business the the first tip is really to take the first step. Do a current state evaluation. Log On to be loudcom go to the B impact assessment. Start one, open it, start filling out what you know, figure out where you're at so that you can think about where you want to be. The Nice thing about a framework like this one is that it makes sure that you're looking everywhere and it really leads you through the process of identifying your level of responsibility as you stand today. And then I would add on to that to say throughout the process, lean on reputable frameworks like the becord framework, and, believe it or not, I don't work for them, but I think I've said Be Corp Forty or five times. But lean on reputable frameworks and the tools that exist there. And then my second tip would be to empower the people within your organization who are passionate about this. In the past, like in the last couple decades, we've seen informal collections of employees that are starting to drive sustainability forward within their companies, but in the...

...last few years dedicated positions, I've started to crop up more and more and that's really exciting. It's absolutely necessary as well. So if you don't have a dedicated person or a team working on sustainability, my recommendation would be to find a way to take that step dedicate some resources to baking it into your business, because in order for it to be successful it has to be central. And then my last tip would be to build a brand around it in the caveat here is to use transparent measurements and data. To bolster that point and add me to the bones there. Don't just share your Pine The Sky Ambitions, but be specific about how you're going to get to where you're going and share measurements with the public that prove it along the way. Yeah, really great point. When we're talking about generation Z, are very skeptical of corporate intent and I think most consumers alive today are, and so if you are branding that your efforts, showing the data, showing really what you're doing, so that people see there's a real authentic drive to making a difference, is that is going to make all the difference in the world in terms of your branding. So I also just want to say I really do feel how comprehensive it is, and so I definitely get why having a dedicated role would make it possible. So yeah, absolutely, and I wanted to add on a point to the like. Data and transparency is really a way that you can cut through the noise that's happening right now around sustainability and there's a lot of firms that are, what I like to say overly enthusiastic about their sustainability claims, and so the way to cut through that is with data transparency. Really report to the public and show how you're moving in this space, because that's ultimately what legitimizes it. Fantastic points. So, Paul, tell me what's a good way for listeners to to get in touch with you if they want to talk with you about Be Corp or learn more? Yeah, if people want to reach out, Linkedin is my favorite. You can find me there by searching for me. My name is Paul Hunter, Paul Allen Hunter, Alan is spelled ale and or you can reach me by email at Paul Dot Hunter at Cannon Kardacom. Can like Latin for people and Carda like Latin for maps. Canon Kardacom. That is very cool. I did not know...

...the origin story behind your name. So can Latin for people and Carda like Latin for maps as pretty incredible branding, I would say so, Paul. Thank you so much. I love that you were able to bring this to our listeners and I so appreciate your passion and all of your deep expertise on this matter. I really appreciate your being here. Thank you so much for having me. Tiffany, I really appreciate it. To our listeners, thank you as well for joining us today. We go ahead subscribe on your favorite podcast player just to visit our website. Technically, peoplecom and, of course, we always welcome a five star review if you enjoy this conversation and you want to hear more like it. So thanks again for joining us. We will see you talk to you next week. Whether you're looking to fill opportunities or find them, built in Haws you've covered. If you're seeking to meet aggressive hiring goals, will help you attract sought after tech talent you might not otherwise reach. And if you're on the market for a career change, visit our site to explore exciting jobs with our customers and even with built in find talent, find opportunities built incom.

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