Best Practices

Through our podcast Responsibly Different™, we’ve had the privilege of exploring various best practices for businesses concerning social responsibility towards workers and their communities. These practices encompass a wide range of initiatives, such as offering Paid Volunteer Time Off (PVTO), implementing gender-inclusive workplace policies, and adopting Worker Exchange Programs like Rhino Foods and Lake Champlain Chocolate. Each of these practices showcases the power of corporate social responsibility in creating positive impacts on both employees and the wider community. While we encourage our listeners to explore and consider implementing these practices, we also emphasize the importance of not getting overwhelmed by the sheer number of options. Embracing even one of these initiatives can make a significant difference in fostering a more equitable and inclusive work environment. It’s about taking meaningful steps towards positive change, no matter the scale, and collectively making a lasting impact on the world around us.

Supporting workers with resources for their children is crucial for fostering a healthy work-life balance and promoting overall employee well-being. Initiatives like Badger Balm’s Babies to Work program exemplify the significance of such support. By allowing parents to bring their infants to work, Badger Balm recognizes the challenges faced by working parents and actively seeks to create a supportive environment. This program not only enables parents to maintain a connection with their children during their early development but also reduces stress and anxiety associated with finding childcare arrangements. It demonstrates a commitment to work-life integration and recognizes the importance of family in the lives of employees, resulting in increased employee satisfaction, loyalty, and productivity. We encourage you to explore our conversation with Badger Balm’s Co-CEO Rebecca Hamilton to learn more about their program.

In addition to programs like Babies to Work, implementing policies that provide stipends for childcare can significantly contribute to supporting families in the workforce. Childcare costs can be a major financial burden for many working parents, often leading to difficult choices and compromises. By offering stipends for childcare, employers can help alleviate this burden and enable parents to access quality care for their children without straining their finances. These stipends can be provided as a direct financial contribution towards childcare expenses or through partnerships with childcare providers to offer discounted rates to employees. Such policies not only support working parents but also contribute to a more inclusive and diverse workforce by removing barriers to employment for individuals with children, ultimately benefiting both employees and employers alike.

Tracking impact and setting goals and targets around that impact is crucial for social enterprises and aspiring certified B Corps. It enables you and your team to measure your progress, hold yourself accountable, and drive positive change in the world, and your customers will notice and appreciate it. By systematically tracking your impact, you can gather data and insights to allow yourself to make informed decisions and evaluate the effectiveness of your initiatives. Moreover, tracking impact provides a transparent and measurable way for social enterprises and aspiring B Corps to communicate their commitment to stakeholders, including customers, employees, investors, and the wider community, fostering trust and credibility. If you’re someone who is already doing this, and like many, struggle to keep it all organized, our conversation with Unit of Impact’s Co-Founder Polina Pinchevsky will be helpful.

By setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals, companies can create a framework for continuous improvement and progress. These goals also serve as a benchmark for monitoring and evaluating success, enabling organizations to celebrate milestones, identify areas for improvement, and course-correct if necessary. By publicly declaring their goals and targets, social enterprises and aspiring B Corps demonstrate their commitment to making a positive difference, inspiring others, and contributing to a collective movement towards a more sustainable and equitable future.


Having a formal giving or philanthropy commitment is of immense importance and value for companies, as it enables them to make a tangible and lasting impact on the causes they care about. One organization that exemplifies this commitment is 1% for the Planet. By pledging to donate at least 1% of their annual sales to environmental causes, companies affiliated with 1% for the Planet demonstrate their dedication to addressing pressing environmental challenges. This formal commitment not only provides a structured approach to corporate giving but also ensures a consistent and sustainable stream of financial support for environmental initiatives. By allocating a portion of revenue towards philanthropy, companies actively contribute to the well-being of the planet, investing in a future that is environmentally sustainable and resilient.

Having a formal giving or philanthropy commitment goes beyond financial contributions. It showcases a company’s values and commitment to being a responsible corporate citizen. It allows businesses to engage their employees, customers, and stakeholders in their giving efforts, fostering a sense of purpose and shared impact. By aligning philanthropic activities with their core mission and values, companies can build stronger relationships with their stakeholders and differentiate themselves in a crowded market. Furthermore, a formal giving commitment can inspire other organizations to follow suit, creating a ripple effect of positive change and encouraging collective action towards addressing societal challenges. Overall, a formal giving or philanthropy commitment is a powerful tool for companies to drive positive social change, reinforce their brand reputation, and create a legacy that extends beyond their bottom line. To learn more about 1% for the Planet have a listen to our conversation with their Eastern North America Account Manager, Celine Miranda.

As of 2022 64% of the US population was living paycheck to paycheck. For many workers, any unexpected expense can cause a cascading crisis leading to further financial burden. Two great programs that we have learned about through this show that address this issue and support workers is Income Advance programs and giving workers Access to the Earned Wages in between pay periods. Both of these reduce the risk of workers needing to depend predatory financial services if emergencies occur. 

We learned about Income Advance from Rhino Foods. The way it works is any worker can at any time request an income advance, it is runs through a local bank providing a low interest loan to the worker so they are able to pay for whatever need they may have, and then payments are deducted from their paycheck so they are able to pay it back at their own pace while earning credit. To hear our conversation and learn more, check out the show notes page for Rhino Foods.  PayActiv has created technology to allow workers to access the wages they have earned in between pay periods. To learn more about Earned Wage Access, listen to our conversation with Sabina Bhatia from PayActiv.

Paying workers a living wage is of paramount importance in fostering a fair and just society. A living wage ensures that employees earn enough income to meet their basic needs, such as food, housing, healthcare, and transportation, without relying on government assistance or charitable support. The MIT Living Wage Calculator is an invaluable tool that empowers both employers and employees to determine the minimum wage required to maintain a decent standard of living in specific geographic locations. By referencing this calculator, you can gain a deeper understanding of the economic realities faced by workers in their area, helping to initiate conversations around fair compensation and social responsibility.

However, the significance of paying workers extends beyond just meeting their basic needs. A thriving wage takes into account not only the essential expenses but also factors in the ability to participate in leisure activities, further education, and save for the future. Thriving wages empower employees to not only survive but also thrive, fostering a happier, healthier, and more motivated workforce. It is heartening to note that many certified B Corps, companies committed to balancing purpose and profit, prioritize paying workers at least a living wage, if not a thriving wage. These progressive businesses recognize that by investing in their employees’ well-being, they create a positive ripple effect that elevates the entire community. By championing the payment of living and thriving wages, businesses can lead the charge in creating a more equitable society and promoting human flourishing.

The Open Hiring Model employed by Greyston Bakery holds significant importance in reducing barriers to employment and promoting inclusivity while simultaneously addressing the high cost and time commitment associated with traditional screening processes. Unlike conventional hiring practices, which often involve extensive background checks, multiple rounds of interviews, and rigorous skill assessments, Greyston Bakery’s open-door policy provides job opportunities to individuals without subjecting them to such time-consuming and costly procedures. By streamlining the hiring process and eliminating these expensive screening measures, Greyston Bakery can redirect resources towards investing in its employees’ professional development instead.

This strategic investment in people, rather than screening them out, proves to be highly beneficial on multiple fronts. Firstly, it allows the company to tap into a diverse pool of talent that might have been excluded under traditional hiring methods, fostering a workforce enriched with a wide range of perspectives and skills. Secondly, by focusing on nurturing employees’ growth and potential, Greyston Bakery creates a supportive and loyal workforce, ultimately leading to increased productivity and efficiency. The Open Hiring Model exemplifies the idea that empowering individuals with job opportunities and investing in their development not only benefits them but also enhances the overall success and sustainability of the business. To learn more about Open Hiring listen to their episode on the podcast here.

Parental leave is a crucial aspect of promoting work-life balance and supporting families during significant life transitions. Recognizing that parenting responsibilities extend to all genders and family structures, offering inclusive parental leave policies is essential. Such policies provide employees with the time and flexibility to care for and bond with their newborn or adopted child, without sacrificing their career advancement. By not distinguishing parental leave by gender, employers demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion, acknowledging that all families, regardless of their composition, deserve equal support and consideration. In doing so, companies can create a more equitable and supportive work environment, fostering greater loyalty and productivity among their employees.

Best practices surrounding parental leave involve providing adequate and comprehensive leave durations, ensuring that employees feel confident in taking the time they need to care for their children. Companies that offer paid parental leave go a step further in alleviating financial stress for new parents during this crucial period. Additionally, ensuring job security and flexibility upon return from leave is vital for encouraging parents to rejoin the workforce without fear of discrimination or career setbacks. Employers should also implement clear and transparent communication about parental leave policies, making sure all employees are aware of their rights and benefits. By establishing and upholding inclusive parental leave policies, businesses not only demonstrate their commitment to the well-being of their employees but also contribute to a more family-friendly and supportive society as a whole.

Building a gender-inclusive workplace is crucial for fostering an environment where all employees feel valued, respected, and free from discrimination. An inclusive workplace recognizes that gender identity is diverse and extends beyond the binary notion of male and female. By embracing and celebrating this diversity, companies create a safer space for individuals of all gender identities to express themselves authentically without fear of bias or prejudice. In a gender-inclusive workplace, employees are more likely to feel a sense of belonging, leading to increased job satisfaction and productivity. Moreover, diverse perspectives and experiences brought about by gender inclusivity can lead to greater creativity, innovation, and problem-solving within the organization. By championing gender inclusivity, businesses not only uphold their social responsibility but also position themselves as leaders in attracting and retaining top talent from a diverse pool of candidates.

Pronouns play a pivotal role in building a culture of inclusivity and respect within the workplace. Acknowledging and correctly using an individual’s preferred pronouns is a simple yet powerful way to affirm their gender identity and foster a sense of dignity and acceptance. This practice helps to avoid misgendering, which can be hurtful and alienating to employees whose gender identities differ from societal norms. It also signals to all employees that the organization values diversity and is committed to creating an inclusive space for everyone. By encouraging open conversations about pronouns and promoting their use in day-to-day interactions, companies can build a more compassionate and understanding work culture. Creating a workplace that is sensitive to pronoun usage not only strengthens relationships among team members but also demonstrates the organization’s dedication to creating an environment where all individuals can thrive and contribute their best. To learn more about pronouns, check out our episode about Pronouns hosted by Benn Marine, an openly transgender man who has run many trans ally trainings for organizations across the United States.

Ensuring that your company’s health insurance offering includes trans-inclusive healthcare coverage is not only a matter of ethical responsibility but also essential for promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace. Transgender individuals face unique healthcare challenges, and denying them access to appropriate medical care can have severe consequences on their physical and mental well-being. By offering trans-inclusive healthcare coverage, companies demonstrate their commitment to supporting the health and dignity of all their employees, regardless of gender identity. This fosters a workplace culture that values diversity and prioritizes the health and welfare of its workforce. Moreover, inclusive healthcare coverage can lead to increased employee satisfaction and loyalty, as it creates a sense of belonging and trust within the company.

Trans-inclusive healthcare coverage is not only morally imperative but also aligns with legal and regulatory requirements in many jurisdictions. Laws and policies surrounding transgender healthcare are evolving, and companies that proactively embrace inclusive coverage stay ahead of compliance issues and potential legal challenges. By providing access to gender-affirming treatments, surgeries, and mental health support, companies empower transgender employees to live their lives authentically and confidently, allowing them to thrive both personally and professionally. Inclusive healthcare coverage sends a powerful message that the company values the dignity and well-being of all its employees, contributing to a positive and progressive corporate image that attracts top talent and fosters a more inclusive work environment overall.

Paid Volunteer Time Off (PVTO) is a valuable and essential practice that goes beyond just benefiting the community; it also fosters a sense of purpose and fulfillment among employees. By offering PVTO, companies like Allagash Brewing recognize the importance of giving back to society and actively engaging in social impact initiatives. This policy demonstrates a commitment to corporate social responsibility, which not only enhances the company’s reputation but also resonates with employees, leading to higher morale and job satisfaction. Through PVTO, employees are empowered to contribute their time and skills to causes they are passionate about, creating a positive impact on the world while feeling supported and appreciated by their employer.

The prevalence of PVTO among B Corps highlights its significance as a progressive and inclusive employee benefit. We first learned about PVTO in our conversation with Rob Tod, founder of Allagash Brewing back in March of 2021 and modeled our own PVTO policy after Allagash’s.  What Rob shared with us in that episode, is they offer all employees 16 hours of PVTO and for every employee that completes all 16 hours, they do a shout out in their company newsletter and donate $200 to that employee’s charity of choice. Many B Corps have adopted similar programs to encourage their workforce to actively participate in community service and volunteer work. These companies demonstrate a collective commitment to creating positive social change. Such initiatives not only strengthen the company’s ties to the community but also foster a culture of compassion and empathy within the organization, making PVTO a win-win proposition for both the company and society as a whole. To hear our conversation with Rob Tod from Allagash Brewing, click here.

The Worker Exchange Program between certified B Corps Rhino Foods and Lake Champlain Chocolate exemplifies the power of collaboration and mutual support in maintaining stable employment for workers, even in seasonal industries. By sharing their workforce during peak seasons, both companies can effectively manage fluctuations in demand while ensuring their employees have year-round employment opportunities. This innovative program benefits workers by providing them with consistent income and job security, mitigating the challenges of job instability that often plague seasonal industries. Moreover, the program promotes a sense of camaraderie and unity among employees, as they have the opportunity to work with different teams and experience diverse work environments. This not only enhances their skills and adaptability but also fosters a positive work culture that values cooperation and teamwork.

The value of being able to keep workers employed throughout the year, despite seasonal fluctuations, extends beyond the employees themselves. For Rhino Foods and Lake Champlain Chocolate, this continuity in staffing results in significant cost savings and increased operational efficiency. Retaining experienced workers reduces the need for repetitive hiring and training processes, which can be time-consuming and expensive. It also allows both companies to maintain a skilled and knowledgeable workforce, contributing to better product quality and customer service. Moreover, the Worker Exchange Program exemplifies a forward-thinking approach to sustainable business practices. By prioritizing the well-being of their employees and investing in their long-term success, Rhino Foods and Lake Champlain Chocolate showcase the positive impact that collaboration and innovative employment solutions can have on both individuals and businesses in seasonal industries. To learn more and hear our conversation with CEO of Rhino Foods Rooney Castle, click here.