BE Blogs: A Voice for Responsible Business

As part of our sustainability pledge to discuss best practices openly and honestly, we share insights that allow others to effect change in their community. While companies have responsibility to drive change internally, we believe they also can add to their insights and impact by sharing their experience with others.

Come by often to read the latest news, subscribe to our blog via email or RSS reader. Even better, join the conversation and share your ideas on how business can be a force for good in your community and environment.

Death, Sustainability, and Taxes (or lack thereof)

Mar 28, 2012   //   by Bradley Short   //   Accounting & Finance, Operations Management, Project Management  //  No Comments

I read a figure from Ernst & Young last week that shocked me.  In a recent survey, nearly 40% of tax department respondents inside of companies that have a sustainability strategy were completely unaware of any green tax incentives that may be available to them.  To me, this says two major things:

One: sustainability departments are insufficiently aware of the many federal, state, and local tax incentives that are available to them.

And two: sustainability is good business, even without tax savings, for many companies.

To address that first point, I encourage you to take a look at the following resources, which may help you find incentives that are relevant to your business:

  • Energy.gov – a federal listing of energy savings incentives
  • DSIRE – The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency
  • EPA Funding Opportunities – though not directly tax-related, this is a list of resources for getting funding for green facilities projects

Additionally, there are far too many local incentives to list, but you should look to see what is available in your own city.

And on that second point, I’m somewhat encouraged that such a large group of companies realize that sustainability is a vital key to their success, even without governmental help.  Though I hope that more businesses take advantage of what is available so that they will continue to grow.

What incentives does your company enjoy?  And do you know of any more resources to help other businesses find them?  If so, please share with us in the comment section below.

BE Profiles HireBetter: How a Lean, Green Team Helps Companies Make Great Hiring Decisions

One of our goals at BusinessEarth is to prove that socially and environmentally responsible business is possible and profitable. When we find a company that embodies these principles, we highlight their achievements and challenges so you can apply their lessons to your business. BusinessEarth invested in HireBetter in early 2011, and with it has shown how a unique company structure allows them to deliver more value to their clients while enriching their employees’ lives.

From the very beginning, HireBetter was a unique company.  Jonathan Davis, the company’s founder, set out to create an organization that focused only on things that added value.  By eschewing many “normal” business ideas and honing down on what truly matters, HireBetter has been delivering top-notch service to its clients while enriching the lives of its stakeholders since 2004.  Their business model is rewarding to their employees, good for the environment, and most importantly, highly effective.

About HireBetter

HireBetter is, at its core, a recruitment process outsourcing – or RPO firm.  HireBetter works with fast growing, middle market companies to determine how their workforce can be improved, and it helps clients promote, recruit and hire the A-players that they need (and rave about) to grow to the “next level.”

 

“Always add value. Always.”

When they started, Jonathan took a holistic look at what the business would and wouldn’t need to be successful.  He knew that HireBetter’s workforce needed to be dependable, flexible, and creative.  He also realized that in order to serve it’s clients needs across the U.S. and at all hours of the day, HireBetter would benefit from a team that was geographically dispersed across the country.

Jonathan also noticed a few things that HireBetter didn’t need.  Many companies would, without even considering the alternatives, build their business around a centralized office with conventional hours.  But HireBetter concluded that their clients didn’t really get any value out of that.  The Internet made it possible for most of the work to be done from just about anywhere.  So instead using an outdated, expensive, and inefficient model, he structured the company so that telecommuters could do the majority of the day-to-day client service.

 

The work at home mom phenomenon

In order to staff this unique company, HireBetter needed a different kind of workforce.  They found that “work at home moms” (WAHMs) had just the right make-up and skillset that HireBetter desired.  Moms are naturally creative, organized, and dependable, which is just what the young company needed.  And HireBetter’s virtual model was perfect for moms who may need to work unconventional hours to continue to be “on-call” for their families.

The WAHM phenomenon has allowed thousands of women who would have otherwise been left out of the workforce to enjoy real, meaningful employment while still being available for their families.  HireBetter’s expertise is based on making sure that top talent is used in the most productive way, and WAHMs possess a wealth of talent that is too amazing to let idle away.

 

No success at work is worth failure at home*

In order to make a great working environment for WAHMs, HireBetter places work-life balance as a top priority.  Family always comes before work, period.  HireBetter has figured out that placing family first actually results in outstanding service for its clients.  In fact, because HireBetter’s employees know that they have the company’s support, they are happier, more creative, and more productive…and clients rave about its service.  A company that truly cares creates value for its employees, its clients, and itself.

 

Telecommuting is lean, green, and it works!

By employing a workforce centered on telecommuting, HireBetter saves time, money, and the environment.  Employees spend the thousands of hours that would have otherwise been wasted in traffic, serving clients and their families.  Traditional commuting is also expensive and, often, very harmful to the environment.  By not needing an office big enough to house all of their employees, HireBetter also saves money (and carbon) in facilities costs; savings which it passes along to clients.

Though HireBetter’s management team meets in person and will travel to work with clients, most of the employees work exclusively out of their homes.  In order to keep everyone in touch, the team has group phone calls, shares pictures and stories via a team intranet, and stays in close contact with each other by instant messaging every day.  Many of HireBetter’s employees have never even met in person, but the collaborative nature of the company and the work has created a very tight-knit group.

 

How values add value

Today, with BusinessEarth’s Founder, Kurt Wilkin, serving as its Managing Partner, HireBetter enables work at home moms to use their unique professional skills and situations, while their clients get to reap the benefits.  The company’s low-overhead, highly flexible model allows them to deliver top-notch service to every client in a cost-effective way.  While minimizing wasted resources and maximizing work-life balance, they have and continue to help companies around the country hire better.

If you’re interested in getting a better talent management strategy, or you just want to learn more about the company, contact HireBetter.


*This is the mantra of Maxwell, Locke, & Ritter, an Austin-based accounting firm.

Engage Like a Game Designer

Mar 14, 2011   //   by Colin Manuel   //   Blog, Leadership, Marketing & Communication, Project Management, Training & Education  //  No Comments

Game thinking can improve your employee engagementEmployee engagement. It’s one of the most critical elements of any sustainability or CSR program, but it’s also one of the most perplexing.  The reason it’s so difficult is that most of us aren’t professional “engagers.” But game designers are.

Seth Priebatsch, founder of SCVNGR, believes the engaging foundations of game thinking is ready to break out of your game console and into all facets of personal and professional life.

Welcome to the Game Layer

In a keynote address at South by Southwest, Seth explained how the past decade built a “Social Layer” on top of the world. This social layer, created with tools like Facebook and Twitter, is all about forging connections between individuals. With this social layer, you can now connect and visualize your relationships in a whole new way. Read more >>

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