Ten things that make a decent business

Every decent business deserves to be trusted. Being trusted is essential for a business to succeed. Trust can help build strong relationships with customers, employees and stakeholders. It can also strengthen teamwork, allowing workers to pushing towards achieving the same goals.

The Good Business Charter (GBC) is a charity that encourages businesses to prioritise their employees, customers, suppliers and the environment as well as promoting and following ethical practices. Joining the GBC is important for businesses to regain trust and show how they care more about just profit. To join the GBC, businesses must meet ten pieces of criteria.  

So, what are the ten components to a decent business?

1. Real living wage (RLW)

The RLW is the UK wage rate that UK businesses voluntarily pay their teams.  This should be important to businesses as it shows how every worker is important to them, improving relationships between employers and their team. It can result in other positive outcomes such as increasing motivation and retention rates in employees. This does not only benefit the staff but the business as a whole

2. Fairer hours and contracts

This component is important for workers with zero-hour contracts who do not receive a certain amount of income every month. Businesses should ensure that these zero and minimal hour contracts include fair shift scheduling as well as a cancellation policy.

A decent business should be concerned about protecting their employees from cancelled shifts and lack of stable hours. Being fair in the workplace communicates a good relationship between employees and their employers, which can motivate productivity, build trust and gain respect.

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3. Employee well-being

78% believe that one of the best indicators of a company’s level of trustworthiness is how they treat they employees.

The physical and mental well-being of their staff should be important to decent and responsible businesses. A person cannot control when they are feeling unwell and a business that shows support to employee well-being can prevent stress from both parties. It can also create a positive work environment with employees feeling fairly treated, building trust with their employers and feeling more dedicated to their workplace.

4. Employee representation

A decent business should encourage their employees to engage with their workforce, or representatives. This ensures that these employees can have a voice and are regularly represented at businesses’ boards. This gives a better understanding of the business by contributing towards shaping the business’ culture as well as helping to contest conventional thinking. Giving workers a voice makes them feel valued and boosts morale,  improving the productivity within a workplace.

5. Diversity and inclusion

61% of employees believe that diversity and inclusion practices are beneficial and essential to a workplace.

It is essential that diversity and inclusion are practiced in every part of our life, especially in the workplace. Diversity is about acknowledging and appreciating difference, which can boost the reputation of a business as it demonstrates appreciation of teams.. Being inclusive involves ensuring that everyone feels respected, appreciated, accepted for being themselves and involved within their workplace. The Equality Act 2010 encourages a more equal society and protects individuals from prejudiced treatment, which decent businesses should support.

A diverse and inclusive workplace is essential for a business to flourish as its workers are at the centre of it all. When people feel appreciated and included, they are more likely to thrive. This can improve productivity and morale along with creating a more welcoming place to work.

6. Environmental responsibility

70% of consumers are interested in knowing about the environmental and safety impacts of the products and the company they buy from.

A decent business should recognise the responsibility they have to the environment that goes beyond the legal requirements. Being committed to reducing environmental impact and persistently improving environmental performance can sustain our environment for future generations. Businesses should also encourage this important responsibility to their customers and suppliers, enhancing the business’ reputation.

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7. Pay fair tax

77% of customers and 78% of employees would rather shop and be employed by a business when it can be proved that the business is paying their fair share of tax.

All corporations and individuals should do their part in ensuring all services that we require and enjoy are paid for under a fair system. Decent businesses should be concerned about and committed to helping to move towards a fairer economy for the benefit of everyone because tax affects us all.

8. Commitment to customers

Great customer service is essential for a decent business to continue to grow and thrive. A business’ customers should be treated with respect, building a strong and trusted relationship. With this, it can create customer satisfaction and encourage them to want to repeat business with you. It is a two-way street.  A decent business can show commitment to customers so that they can also receive commitment back. Businesses should display their commitment to their customers on their website as well as encouraging them to leave reviews on social media and review websites.

9. Ethical sourcing

Ethical sourcing should be important to decent businesses as millions around the world experience insufficient working conditions. The Ethical Trading Initiative created the ETI Base Code, which businesses should be paying careful attention to within their own supply chain. Improving working conditions keeps workers happy through increasing productivity and boosting morale. A happy working environment makes happy workers and customers.

10. Prompt payment to suppliers

Paying promptly shows respect a business has to their suppliers, which can contribute towards a stronger and trusted relationship. In particular, smaller businesses may suffer more when late payments are made. It is all down to treating those how you wish to be treated. Prompt payments may also create better deals, making the business more competitive. A decent business should practice this to increase supplier’s confidence in the business and improves the overall reputation. 

These ten components can help create your business to be considered a decent business. Being a part of the GBC establishes an important message to existing and future customers – that your business is dedicated to working responsibly and treating employees with fairness and respect.

For more information about The Good Business Charter, see here.

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