Guest Blog – Jenny Herrera: Good Business a no-brainer for Employee-Owned Businesses

I had the privilege of being on a panel alongside Neil Wright of TensCare Ltd in EOA’s November 2020 three-day series of webinars called EO Boost.  We were talking about ‘good business’ as part of a three-part series looking at its benefits for individuals, business and society.

I loved hearing his example of how effective employee representation at board level translated into the company branching out into a completely new product, for facial muscles, which is now their biggest selling item!  As our conversation continued ‘off webinar’, Neil learned about the Good Business Charter (GBC), and felt this would be an excellent accreditation to achieve.  Looking at the detail of our 10 components, he knew TensCare Ltd met each one of them and one day later TensCare was a proud member of the GBC.

As part of the process of signing up, he mentioned to me that he was not aware of some of the individual schemes in operation to govern a particular aspect of doing business – whether that be fair pay, prompt payment to suppliers or paying fair tax.  As we bring 10 different components together into one accreditation, we hope to nudge many businesses already performing well in 7 or 8 areas to improve their practices in the other 2 or 3 to gain our accreditation.

In doing so we hope to move the dial on good and ethical business practice that we feel will deliver  society-wide benefits.

It occurred to us that employee owned businesses such as Neil’s seemed a great fit for the GBC.

And again when we welcomed employee-owned Jerba Campervans to the GBC it was great to chat through with founder Simon Poole about how important becoming an EO business has been for them and how enthusiastic they were about joining the Good Business Charter.

Employee-owned organisations are perfectly placed to showcase their responsible business practices – given their structure, it is highly likely that they meet all five employee components without a problem, and a commitment to each other and the success of the business, is highly likely to result in an ethical approach to how they treat their customers, suppliers, the environment and payment of taxes too.

At the Good Business Foundation it is our aim to provide a clear and effective way to recognise the good guys in business.

The problem we have identified with such a plethora of accreditations, whether for individual elements of responsible business, regional Charters, or those available to different industries, is that it can be a minefield for members of the public to know and understand who is really doing responsible business.  With a growing number of people wanting to work for and buy from responsible organisations, there is no time to lose in setting out a clear way to recognise good businesses. Obviously for us, we hope we provide part of the solution!

It has been a journey bringing this to life which has seen the GBC develop. For example, feedback showed us that for smaller SMES, 50 employees or less, this could seem like a daunting task on top of everything they need to do. This has seen us work with the with Federation of Small Businesses, to offer a streamlined version of the accreditation that is suitably accessible to smaller organisations.

For employee-owned organisations, we believe there is a fabulous opportunity here to lead the way and get the recognition of your good business practices.  As a charity founded and funded by Julian Richer, who himself transferred the majority of his business into employee ownership in 2019, we believe the example is set!  We hope you agree it is a no-brainer.

For more information on the Good Business charter:
Free to join with the first year of membership (and nominal fees thereafter).  Application is done through a self-certification online process which we have been told is very user-friendly.
Homepage – Good Business Charter

For more information, on the small business streamlined Good Business Charter:

This focusses on 10 questions and costs £25 a year