But why? What is a B Corp and why are we so happy to be accredited? Here’s why….
What is a Bcorp
A B Corp is a for-profit company certified by the non-profit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. The mission of B Corp is to live in a world where every entrepreneur is driven by a purpose greater than profit and that every business is a force for good and everyone has the opportunity to continue towards the uplifting of society, so that together we can create a better world through business. There is a growing community of more than 1,600 Certified B Corps from 42 countries and over 120 industries working together towards 1 unified goal; to redefine success in business. Many businesses that you will have heard of are B Corps…you may just not know it……some examples are; Ben & Jerrys, Patagonia and Etsy.
Why did Umega Lettings want to become a B Corp?
We always knew at Umega we wanted to ‘do the right thing’ but knowing what the ‘right thing’ is, was not always easy. We want to revolutionise a traditional sector which is open to bad practice – we want to protect consumers and the general public from bad letting agents and landlords and to help landlords and tenants as they navigate themselves through the confusing landscape that is the private rented sector. We wanted to do this while also helping local businesses to thrive too so we can all enjoy operating successful business and do the best for our local community.
Umega Lettings is a people-centred business – every day we take a step forward in making Umega an amazing place to work. We are Investors in People and Investors in Young People accredited and all our team have their own development plan and undergo 360 reviews to ensure they develop as letting agents and as people during their time with Umega. We want them to love being at Umega Lettings; if they love what they do, our customers will love what they do!
How did Umega become a B Corp?
To become a B Corp Umega Lettings had to complete the B Impact assessment, via the B Lab, part of the B Corp. We spent 6 months going through the assessment and it helped us to install new processes into our business. It was a long but extremely rewarding process.
B Corp acted like a roadmap for what we needed to do to ‘do the right thing’. It gave us a standard which we spent a lot of time ensuring we met and it now gives us guidelines as to where we can improve to operate in the best interests of our people, our community and our environment. We will continue to fine tune what we do to improve our score in the B Impact Assessment. B Corp continues to act as a roadmap for us to improve how we operate and the impact we have on our local community, our people and our environment.
So what does this mean for Umega Lettings, for our customers and for the lettings industry?
First and foremost Umega are here to make a profit. We need to grow and to be profitable to be in business and to continue to have a greater influence in our industry. We aim to set the standards in our industry of what a great letting agency is and the bigger we are, the better chance we have of doing this. We want to help create a world leading Private Rented Sector in Scotland.
We really do take our responsibility to make Umega an amazing place to work, very seriously indeed. As I said above, we want our team to LOVE working at Umega. If our team LOVE what they do, our customers should LOVE what they do. We go out of our way to ensure the team is happy and that each individual gets the opportunity to contribute and to grow. We are open with our teams when it comes to business finances and business decisions and we find that by giving our team responsibility and ownership they learn and grown. This has a huge impact on our business as our people actually know best!
We offer our team opportunities to take paid time off for volunteering and we are open to flexible working. Health and wellbeing is extremely important to us (why do you think we chose an office on the edge of The Meadows) and, as such our office is always fully stocked with fruit and every member of our team gets the opportunity of a gym membership paid for by Umega.
As a letting agency we are raising the standards by making sure that we are regulated by every trade body we can, ‘doing the right thing’ at all times. We are voluntary members of ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents), Safe Agent Accredited (meaning our client monies are protected and accounted for separately from our business monies) and we are members of The Property Ombudsman. We are transparent, responsible letting agents and business people.
We try our best to work with local, independent, ethical businesses as we know this can only benefit our local community. Watch this space for various projects involving our local community in 2016!
If you like the sound of this and would like to have a chat about all things B Corp please do contact me on 0131 221 8281 and I would love to talk through what it has done for our business and what it means to us.