“We believe purpose-led businesses will win the talent war.”
It may sound like a bold declaration from Will Richardson, managing partner at impact investment firm Giant Leap Fund, but the data is there to back him up.
A 2017 survey from Deloitte found that just one in five respondents would choose to stay at a company driven solely by profits for more than five years, while a 2015 survey of 2,000 people in the UK found 44 percent thought meaningful work that would help others was more important than a high salary, and 36 percent would work harder if their company benefited society.
With Giant Leap Fund investing in purpose-led companies working across the themes of sustainable living, health and wellbeing, and empowering people, it has launched a jobs board in a bid to connect talent looking for meaningful work to its startups.
For Richardson, connecting its companies to quality talent is one of the key ways a fund can deliver value as an investor.
“We get hundreds of people asking us for jobs at Giant Leap, [parent company] Impact Investment Group, and at our portfolio companies, so it became a question of, how do we match people at scale?” he said.
The growing interest comes as more people – and companies – steadily come to realise that an organisation doesn’t have to be a charity of not-for-profit in order to do good.
“I think there’s a misunderstanding around the term ‘social enterprise’, and that it’s sometimes confused with philanthropy. Part of our job is to help dispel the myth that if you make money you’re going to do harm to someone, and that if you’re doing good for the world you can’t make money,” he said.
“We just don’t think that’s true. You can do both…if we can get more business to do good, that can be a game changer.”
Among Giant Leap’s portfolio companies are fashion rental startup GlamCorner, healthtech startup Perx, and Switch Automation, which has created a platform to manage building performance. Like most Australian startups, engineering and sales talent are two of the key roles that the portfolio needs to fill.
The launch of the jobs board comes as Melbourne design marketplace Envato today released its inaugural Public Impact Statement, outlining the efforts it has made as a business this year to make a positive contribution to the communities it works with.
Among other initiatives, Envato revealed it has paid out over US$700 million to its community of creators since launch, and over five percent of its all-time pre-tax profits (US$9.6 million) to staff through a profit sharing scheme. The company this year did a ‘catch up’, sending a portion of profits to past employees who contributed to Envato’s growth since its launch in 2006.
Envato also this year launched the Envato Foundation, a charitable fund with a mandate to contribute to organisations supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
In releasing the Statement, Envato cofounder and CEO Collis Ta’eed wrote, “We created this statement to give greater insight into what we’re doing and what we’re hoping to achieve, as well as provide an opportunity to contribute ideas to how we can do better. While we’re proud of the success we’ve had over the past twelve years, we’re excited about the future of the business and our creative community as a whole.”
The company has set itself the goal of being recognised as an accredited B Corporation within the next few years.
Image: Will Richardson. Source: Supplied.