Governance and the B Corp™ mission
Jeff Hayes, CEO, The Myers-Briggs Company
We're here to inspire everyone to lead more successful and fulfilling lives.
And leaving a positive impact on the world aligns with our company's mission.
That's why we decided to become a Certified B Corporation® in 2018. If our company's purpose is to help people, we want to do that in all aspects of our business.
Ultimately, organizations like ours that are B Corps™ are for-profit organizations that strive to use business as a force for good. We don't just focus on our bottom line, but rather pay attention to the triple bottom line that measures our financial, social and environmental performance.
So, along with more than 3,700 businesses around the world, we're celebrating B Corp Month this month of March! But in this blog, I wanted to share specifically about the governance part of being a B Corp.
To become a B Corp, there are four areas where we have to make a measurable impact: our community, our environment, our customers, and our governance.
What is governance?
Of these four, the least intuitive and least understood area is governance. Governance is how a company is organized and how it operates. It's like the gears, cogs and pendulums that make a clock tick. Or nowadays, the power supplies, time bases and LEDs that make digital clocks ‘blip'.
At the center of our operating and business decisions (our governance) are our stakeholders… but we're not just talking about our customers.
The stakeholders for B Corps like us include customers, our employees, the communities where we operate and the environment. Taking these stakeholders into account when making decisions ensures that we're not taking advantage of any of the resources around us, knowingly or unknowingly.
Sure, it might save a few dollars to use a vendor that's less environmentally friendly (though we've found that's not usually the case!), but ultimately that decision doesn't benefit the greater good. Not investing in employee diversity, equity and inclusion training might free up time in people's calendars, but in the long run of becoming better at understanding each other, the greater good suffers (and so do our employees).
Asking ourselves, “how does this affect our community? Our customers? Our employees?” guarantees our decision-making, and ultimately how we run our business, are serving a higher purpose and benefitting the largest combined group. It's how we can use our business to leave our worlds better than we found them.
Governance at The Myers-Briggs Company
One of the important things we've done at The Myers-Briggs Company is have employees lead initiatives when it comes to governance. Governance is at the heart of how we organize and operate our business to achieve our purpose, so we wanted to give employees the opportunity to use their insights and creativity to lead our governance team.
Speaking of employees, here's what Sian Bishop, Legal Team Lead Counsel for our European offices, and one of the members of our internal team, has to say about the topic:
"Governance is about accountability, ethics and compliance. And when it's done right, it's the company's moral compass. Much of the work we did to become a B Corp in 2018 was formalizing the things that we'd already been doing – like sustainable practices, ethical vendor selection, buying environmentally friendly products, and employee health and safety."
"There are so many moving pieces, but having good governance helps steer actions in the right direction. And 3 years later, governance continues to drive us as we move forward with our 2021 climate change initiatives and commitment to NetZero by 2030.”
By giving our employees the power to form stakeholder-centered options, make recommendations and implement decisions, we're not only putting the power into the hands of the people that keep our business going on a day-to-day basis, but also engaging them with what's most important to them when it comes to contributing to the greater good.