Becoming a B Corp – The Nuts and Bolts

Ask anyone about their B Corp certification experience and they’re sure to tell you it was an endeavor that required taking a long, hard look at the way they were doing things, and led them on a self-guided journey to new and better ways. What they may not tell you is that certification process is a long and rigorous one. Hitting that minimum 80-point score is no small task, and there will likely be more than a few moments when you find yourself elbow-deep in minutia wondering if it’s worth it.

If you’re thinking about pursuing B Corp certification, we want you to know it’s totally worth it. But we also want you to know what you’re getting into before you embark on this life- and business-changing journey. The B Corp process asks some big, important questions. And while it may seem tedious at times, we guarantee your company will be better for it.

As a follow up to our “Why We Became a B Corp” post we wanted to offer up our top four nuts-and-bolts lessons from the certification process. 

Quality time to fill out the assessment

Plan some serious time for the initial assessment. Go over once to get a feel for what’s needed. Then you’ll need a few weeks to go back and forth answering questions and pulling documentation. Don’t rush the process. Get your questions right the first time. The B Corp folks are experts in helping you nail down details and move toward the 80-point goal. But you have to give them the best picture possible of where you are so they can help guide you in the right direction. #WeCouldntHaveDoneItWithoutJulie

 

Dust off those HR policies

Since we don’t produce products, the old cliche is still true for us here at Brains…we are a company built of people and Macs. Our B Corp questions and points potential centered around our people, benefits, and financial transparency. Start sucking up to your HR/Benefits Manager now as they’ll be integral in helping craft the policies and procedures to get you to 80 points. This isn’t sexy stuff, but it is so valuable to how you protect and provide for your people now and in the future.

 

Keep the team small

 We typically love to get our whole team involved in something cool and exciting, but in this instance, more isn’t better. The B Corp process is full of cumbersome, nitty gritty details. You need a small, core team that should include at least one of the following; your organizational guru, financial person, human resources keeper, and your shareholders/owners. We saw the core benefits of becoming a B Corp early on as a team, but the average employee isn’t interested in crafting a Whistleblower policy or Babies in the Workplace policy. You’ll need everyone’s input and buy in, but a small group will be needed to make the decisions along with B Lab’s resources. Once you have the framework in place, then it’s time to share what it takes to get your company to 80 points and get full-team buy in. Trust us, all B Corp guidelines are powerful and impactful to overall health of your company. Your team won’t have a problem with any of them!

 

Just cause you say it doesn’t make it so

We’ve kinda sorta lived a B Corp life as a company since the beginning, but not consistently and not chiseled in stone. B Corp is all about proving you mean what you say. It’s not enough to say you value your employees. You have to prove it with thorough documentation of the benefits provided and a employee handbook anyone can read and immediately see why your a B Corp. Going forward the focus will be on being open to additional ways to add processes that support sustainability, local focus, mindfulness at work and inclusivity. Saying it out loud, proving it everyday to your employees and then providing metrics back to B Corp on an annual basis keeps everyone honest and innovative. B Labs have devised a smart process for keeping us accountable to our employees, other B Corps and to the world.

 

Are you a B Corp or considering becoming a B Corporation? Tweet at us and share your insights and experience!

 

*Big thank you to Amy Taylor for helping put this post together. 



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