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Considering B Corp certification? – a reason to refresh your employee reward offering

Why how you reward and engage employees is important

Whether you’re already certified or just exploring B Corp status, how you reward employees is important.

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Liz Hunter

Director of Equity Reward, People Services, Tax

KPMG in the UK

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Certified B Corps meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. They’re accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy, with a growing community in the UK. Here, we look at why reward and employee engagement is an area to optimise during a company’s accreditation process.

What’s the big idea?

The B Corp certification evaluates the overall positive impact of a company across a number of assessment criteria. It’s gaining in popularity as environmental, social and governance (ESG) aspects are increasingly prominent not just in regulatory matters but in the preferences of consumers and employee talent pool.

Certified B Corps achieve a minimum verified score on the B Impact Assessment (BIA)—a rigorous assessment of a company’s governance and impact on its workers, customers, community, and environment—and make their B Impact Report scores transparent. Certified B Corps also amend their legal governing documents (articles of association or constitution) to require their board of directors to balance profit and purpose.

The combination of third-party validation, public transparency, and legal accountability help Certified B Corps build trust and value. B Corp Certification is administered by the non-profit organisation B Lab. (You can find out more about B Corps in the UK here).

What impact does your reward strategy have?

To fulfil the performance requirement for B Corp Certification, a company must complete the BIA. The BIA assesses the impact of both day-to-day operations and the business model— i.e. not just what you do but also how you do it. B Corp Certification requires a minimum verified total score of 80 across all impact areas.

The questions in a company’s BIA are determined by company size, sector, and market, with around 200 questions total.

Certification must be renewed every three years. There’s therefore a need to constantly keep optimising and improving against best practice to ensure no lapse of certification.

The ‘Workers’ assessment area is where a company’s reward strategy can either enhance scoring or act as a factor that drags down performance.

The assessment can include questions such as:

  • How does the company’s pay offer to employees compare in the market?
  • Based on employee surveys, what percentage of the workforce is satisfied and engaged?
  • What percentage of the company is owned by full-time workers (excluding founders/executives)?

This last question is perhaps why we are seeing an increasing cross-over between B Corps status and companies which have adopted wider employee ownership as a business model.

How can KPMG help?

Companies that wish to certify or recertify as B Corps might seek expert independent review and support in relation to the company’s pay and reward strategy and practice, employee equity participation and wider employee value proposition (EVP).

This may include:

  • Creating a clear structure of job roles and pay bandings which can then be benchmarked to market;
  • Designing, implementing and communicating new all-employee share plan or indirect ownership structures via an employee ownership trust;
  • Reviewing the EVP to ensure this is current, attractive and engaging. This might include a review of car fleets to minimise carbon footprint, access to remote GP and employee assistance programmes to aid wellbeing and a flexible benefits programme that allows a diverse and multi-generational workforce to curate their reward elements according to needs and life-cycle stage based on a total reward allowance;
  • Reviewing and designing sales incentive/bonus programmes that reward desired values-driven behaviours and team collective performance results.   

We can support you to manage your reward and employee engagement to ensure your company delivers competitive value to incentivise your employees in a way that optimises your ‘Workers’ assessment scoring for B Corps purposes.

If you have any queries, or would like to discuss how KPMG can assist you, please get in touch with Liz Hunter, your normal KPMG contact, or email employersclub@kpmg.co.uk

© 2021 KPMG LLP a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG global organisation of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a private English company limited by guarantee. All rights reserved.

For more detail about the structure of the KPMG global organisation please visit https://home.kpmg/governance.

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