B Corp Inclusion Challenge - How'd We Do?
by Crystal Wilson
Near the end of 2016 B Lab put out a challenge to all B Corps, the B Corp Inclusion Challenge. The inclusion challenge was the first B Corp wide challenge, and is aimed at giving solid markers for businesses to improve their practices to create a more diverse and inclusive space.
Flow jumped at the opportunity to take on this challenge and identified 4 areas to work on improving or building out over the course of the year. The challenge is complete now - let’s see how we did!
Metric 1 Diversity & Inclusivity Training
Stated Purpose: None of us are without bias, and creating an inclusive work environment will support both recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce, making for a more effective workplace.
Our Results: We provided our staff with a Training called "Bridges out of Poverty" which looks at working alongside those who have come from a low-income history and how to overcome the challenges associated with that. Read more about it in our reflection here.
Metric 2 Supplementary Benefits
Stated Purpose: Going above and beyond the benefits offered or mandated by government programs promotes inclusivity by providing higher quality or broader coverage for employees to protect their financial stability, health, and wellness
Our Result: We have begun the process of designing and implementing a benefits package for employees. A few of our team members designed a survey to identify needs and wants in this regard. All team members completed the survey, and a plan will be put in place to fill the needs and wants identified.
Metric 3 Advocacy for increased wages and benefits
Stated Purpose: Even in places living wage calculations do not exist, businesses are capable of both supporting initiatives that drive inclusivity in compensation structures for workers at an industry or national level, and support and contribute directly to a living wage for all.
Our Result: We have undertaken an advocacy role for increased base income, whether that be basic annual income, a higher provincial minimum wage or living wage. We are partnering with other businesses to bring awareness of the benefit of paying a decent wage to employers who may be struggling with Ontario’s upcoming significant minimum wage hike, and have been vocal about the benefits of piloting basic annual income projects. We had already been outspoken champions of our local living wage program.
Metric 4 Professional Development
Stated Purpose: Upward mobility is as necessary as a living wage to foster inclusion. Employer-supported professional development can be a powerful accelerator of upward mobility, giving all employees access to new skills and opportunities.
Our Result: We have committed to professional development opportunities. To date, our bookkeepers have all taken advantage of this to achieve Quickbooks Online certification at various levels.
We’re nowhere near done, but are proud of the progress we have made over the past year. The whole Flow team invested time and energy into this challenge and we’ve all gained a better understanding and appreciation of what is required for an Inclusive Economy to become reality