B the Change and Employee Engagement: Badger's Perspective
The W.S. Badger Company, aka Badger, was founded by a carpenter with hardworking hands eighteen years ago. Today, Badger is comprised of an ever-growing team of “Friendly Badgers,” each with hardworking hands in their own right. Some pour oil, some Tweet, some construct wooden displays; all help make sure Badger can be proud of their certified organic body care products. When you are a Badger, you are part of a team that does good work. We work together; we make good stuff. We have fun and we like cookies.
When Bill and Katie started Badger in the kitchen of their home with their daughters Mia, Emily and Rebecca, they founded it on the principles that guided them – live simply, eat organically, and do good in the world. Badger as a company has always focused on these core principles, and it was important to Bill and Katie to maintain and expand a broad positive impact as the company's sales grew. So the real question became, how can we measure all of the good that we're currently doing, so that we may do more?
You can picture a company like Badger operating just like a grandfather clock: there are many different moving parts that make up the whole. We needed a way to look at the whole company – certifying as a B Corporation was a logical next step. When a company is a Certified B Corporation, they are able to use their B Impact Assessment tool to measure what matters across the entire company… Just what Badger was looking for! When the assessment was finished, and our score came back, we were able to see plainly which areas we were making the most impact, and which areas could use more attention. Initially this was what being a B Corp was to us – another external certification to verify our do-gooding claims, and an internal tool to help solidify and improve our impact – but as we learned more about the movement our B Corp certification became a lot more. Now we Badgers are part of a larger team: a team that is actively shifting business to better the economy, create more jobs, and do more good together.
When the opportunity to be part of the B the Change campaign presented itself, we jumped right in with gusto. The second floor of Badger HQ hummed with activity as we added the red B to our lip balm packages, scheduled social giveaways and newsletter features, and prepared to send the B the Change message out into the world. We realized however that, despite the fact that the Badgers would see this red B everywhere, there may be some who didn’t know exactly what it means. So the discussion shifted to how we could share this really cool movement with our fellow Badgers within the company who weren't aware, but would most likely be interested. We knew most of the Badgers would be into it, but we didn't want to take their hardworking hands away from our work: producing and shipping world-class organic body care. So as we discussed ways to engage all of the Badgers without disrupting their work day, the idea came up:
“Everybody likes cookies.”
It seemed logical enough: feed the Badgers cookies, and engagement will follow. Plus, any excuse to bring cookies on a Tuesday is good for us. So at lunch we made a quick announcement tell them about the launch of the campaign, so that we could start to connect the red B the Badgers were seeing with the work that the movement was doing. We shared the cookies and handed out “B the Change” buttons to anyone who wanted one, and personally discussed why this movement is so important, and so aligned with the work we do here at Badger. We also called out some of the bigger B’s that Badgers would recognize: Honest Company, Preserve, Seventh Generation, Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, Method, and our neighbors in the northeast King Arthur Flour and Cabot Creamery, to name a few. This is not some crazy thing we made up here at Badger – this is a real movement, with real momentum.
A few days later, at our monthly company meeting, we did a quick follow-up exercise to see what being a B means to our community of Badgers. We received amazing responses that ranged from “BNA – writing our mission into the company’s DNA by being a B Corp,” to “employee access to meetings and minutes.”
“Being employed by a certified B-Corp company gives me a sense of fulfillment that the work that I am doing is helping to build towards the greater good,” said Peter Bonito, Badger’s Packing Coordinator. “I also enjoy the security in knowing that decisions made by Badger will be clearly presented to me, and that I will not be kept in the dark with decisions that are made regarding the business.” Emily Mason, one of Badger’s New Accounts Coordinators, had a millennial perspective: “As a product of the ‘90’s, I never thought I would see the day that for-profit companies could compete in the marketplace and not compromise on their ethical practices. We are in the midst of Being the Change we’d like to see in the world, and I am so honored to be a part of it.”
The answers themselves reflect the breadth of what B Corp certification has brought to our little company, and it was thrilling to see the Badgers embrace and reiterate these points in their own words – though it was not surprising. We are a group of clever and caring Badgers, and our little team is now part of a big team that does good work. We work together around the world, 900+ companies in 29 countries, all with a single goal in mind: to do good. We make stuff, we have fun, and we like cookies – and we are part of something larger. We are part of the change.
About the Author:
Jentri Jollimore is Badger’s Product Expert & Educator, natural products cheerleader, and B-vangelist. She represented Badger on the steering committee for the B the Change campaign, and baked and decorated 100+ B cookies. When she is not traveling or training for Badger she lives in New Hampshire writing scores for short films and recording music.