Beyond Just a Job

Growing up, I was the kid who wanted to be a veterinarian. I loved being able to care for animals and the idea of healing a once sick animal made my little heart happy. When I finally shadowed a veterinarian though, these dreams were quickly dashed as I witnessed in shock as a hamster was put down. While the signs existed earlier that I may not be the best veterinarian (I’m not the best with needles or blood), I still knew I wanted to make a difference in the world beyond just having a job when I was older. 

I’m sure many of us can relate to my story. As kids, many of us want to be firefighters, doctors, police officers, and teachers. Our younger self is excited by these well respected jobs that truly do make a difference in our world. Kids grow up wanting to make the world a better place and parents rally around the noble aspiration. 

So, what changes? Why did many of us decide to pursue a job in technology, finance, and other areas of business rather than becoming the vets and firefighters we thought we’d be as kids? Well, we grow up and realize that, for one reason or another, we don’t want certain aspects of the job. Maybe it’s the physical demand of the job, hours, or we realize we won’t be able to euthanize a hamster. Whatever the reason may be, we begin to separate making an impact in our community from our 40+ hour day job. On top of this, business continues to create significant negative impacts for people, communities, and the planet. I don’t need to give examples as we can all think of examples of this both locally and globally.

If all of this is the case, shouldn’t we change the way business works to blend both our career and passion for making a difference? B Corp Certification is one of the best ways to hold businesses accountable and measure a company’s entire social and environmental impact. B Corp Certification is a designation that a business is meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials. Just like Fair Trade Certified or 1% for the Planet, B Corp Certification provides credibility and accountability behind what a company is doing. It can take a number of years to become B Corp certified and then, once certified, the recertification process takes place every 3 year. Deciding to become a B Corp is a true commitment made by the company and leadership. 

You might be thinking, well, my current company donates money each year to the community, we recycle, we organize Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts. Those are of course good things but your company could decide those things aren’t important tomorrow too. Becoming B Corp holds a company to account and creates lasting change

Each month at Ingage Partners we have Ingage Day. A day where we bring the entire company together for activities and company updates. I can recall my first Ingage Day as we broke into groups and each table discussed environmental equity and how we see this play out in Cincinnati. To have a company take time to talk about this, educate employees, and to have active participation in the discussion, it was one of those moments I knew I was in the right place. And as a B Corp, we know it’s not just one conversation, one person volunteering, one nonprofit that receives a donation, or one year of impact. Rather it’s an entire company rallied behind making an impact in the community year over year. 

Just like anything, becoming a B Corp doesn’t make a business perfect (shocker) and it doesn’t make an employee absolutely love their job every single hour of the day (another shocker). What it does do is hold a business accountable to truly making a positive impact on the world (no greenwashing here!) and provide an employee a purpose behind what they do each and every day. We still need our firefighters, doctors, police officers, and teachers but we also need businesses to think beyond shareholder value and be used as a force for good, every day. Let’s tap into the aspiration of our younger selves and champion a different model for business. 

We can all make a difference. Whether in our purchasing decisions, the way we run a business, or who we work for each day. So, as you walk through the grocery store next time, look out for the B on your product, review B Corps certified companies, and, if you are looking for a change in career, consider a B Corp.