In this series, we're taking a closer look at Fors Marsh Group's (FMG) B Corporation recertification. We'll talk with FMG experts to discuss the specific areas where we achieved our most notable improvements since our first B Impact Assessment, what it means for FMG to be a B Corp, and how our vision aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We hope the effort and progress FMG has made over the past four years will inspire other organizations to pursue B Corp Certification.
We sat down with Christina Daugherty, People and Culture director at FMG, to discuss FMG's mission, ethics, accountability, and transparency. In this post, she touches on employee health and well-being, the importance of formalizing B Corporation status, upcoming policy changes at FMG, and more.
The Governance Impact Area evaluates a company's overall mission, ethics, accountability, and transparency through integrating social and environmental goals in employees' performance evaluation, impact reporting and transparency, stakeholder engagement, and more.
Q: What is your role at FMG, and how does it contribute to FMG's governance?
CD: I am the People and Culture director here, which encompasses our human resource and administrative functions.
The entire People and Culture team is dedicated to employee well-being and quality of life here at FMG. As part of P&C, we have our Employee Support and Success Team, who organize and help with any of our morale events. There are also Employee Partners who act as trustworthy resources for questions and anything related to work-life balance or benefits—you name it. They're available to employees to talk to or help with understanding growth and retention.
The catch-all for People and Culture is "help and guide." Even if we can't answer a question, we guide an employee to someone in the organization who can. We strive to find a way that our interactions with employees can contribute to their well-being.
In relating back to our Governance impact mission area, I would say our team is probably the most committed to ensuring employee well-being and job quality. The People and Culture team's mission is to make the workplace better every day for our stakeholders—the people at FMG—and relationship building is at the core of our purpose.
Q: How has FMG lived up to its mission since becoming a B Corporation in 2017?
CD: I would say a lot has changed.
As an organization, we've shown how dedicated we are to being a B Corp. It's in every fiber of our being like it's our operating system. I think it weaves its way through every department in a different way.
When we first pursued B Corp certification, we realized we were already doing all the necessary things to be a B Corp. We looked at the requirements and recognized that maybe we just hadn't formalized everything into a policy structure, but all the basics were there. It was an easy decision to move ahead and formalize what we needed to and get certified in 2017.
But, as we were going through that process of working on fine-tuning and formalizing those policies, we saw that there was still so much more we could do, particularly around improving benefits and resources and our dedication to the environment. As a result, we've now committed to going net-zero and have recently been certified as carbon neutral.
Q: What's new or upcoming at FMG that will further our progress even more?
CD: I'm super excited about FMG's Workplace Supported Recovery Program. We've always been an organization that has supported anybody in recovery or needed recovery, but it's not something we've formalized until now. We now have a detailed mission statement that lays out exactly what this program is. We're also partnering with organizations outside of FMG to help make this program a success.
By partnering with our mental health provider Spring Health, we will be adding to recovery assistance to provide even more benefits. Spring Health not only helps employees seek help through more traditional healthcare programs, but they also work with other agencies to expand the resources for our employees in need of recovery programs. We're really making sure to be there for employees, provide them with leave, and get them the support they need.
Another important point to mention is that a person's history with substance use disorder won't affect the application or hiring process. Again, that's always been our point of view, but now we're making it formal, putting that statement out there, and providing resources.
Taking that step to ask for help is a hard thing to do. We recognize that. Our hope is that by creating a formal program, talking about it publicly, and making sure that employees understand what the steps to getting help look like—they'll seek help sooner. I'm very excited about that.
Another major shift that we're working toward, which has probably been pretty obvious, is working in a remote environment.
Even into 2022, since we've been so successful at working remotely, I think we're seriously thinking about what the future looks like so we can be sure that our carbon footprint and dedication to being net-zero is something we can meet. We're exploring all different options for the future and the future offices and workplaces at FMG.
Q: And I know you don't want to give away too much, but anything else you can add?
CD: We're working on another unofficial FMG policy that we want to formalize. We've always considered applicants at FMG who may have a criminal record and consider those applicants on a case-by-case basis. No one is ever flat-out dismissed based on that history. But again, we're ready to put an actual policy in place announcing that. I can't promise you the date on that announcement, but that's coming for sure.
Q: What piece of advice can you share with organizations embarking on this B Corp journey or thinking of making similar changes?
CD: In the HR world, when I've mentioned that we're a B Corp, the response back is often, "What is that?" When you explain B Corp certification, companies often begin to realize that their organization already functions a lot like a B Corp, and I tell them that they should investigate becoming certified. And that's my advice: Go out and do it! What's the harm of being able to get up, go out there, get formally certified? Be formal about the programs you have, get it written down, and say that you're doing it right. You'll see that it has an impact on your employees and your customers.