A version of this article originally appeared on B The Change.
Today is the day we each need to decide: Do we want a society that is more inclusive or more exclusive? That is the question.
At Greyston, inclusion is the core of our Open Hiring Model. Open Hiring creates opportunities for everyone: women, men, people of color, people of all faiths and sexual orientations, immigrants and refugees, the economically disadvantaged, the formerly incarcerated and all others who may have been excluded — blocked from contributing to the health and strength of our society. Because no one willing to work should be denied the dignity of a job.
Open Hiring is not a handout or give away. It is built on mutual respect, opportunity, a fair chance. It is about communities, jobs, families. It is about responsibility, hard work, commitment, achievement, and the intrinsic worth of every human being. And we’ve been doing it for 34 years. What began as a modest bakery on the edge of New York City with the moniker that “we don’t hire people to bake brownies, we bake brownies to hire people,” has emerged today as a globally recognized brand with an innovative business model and value proposition.
Open Hiring is not just a job, but a pathway forward — providing career training and life skills. Jobs are fundamental and yet insufficient. Open Hiring connects jobs to families and childcare — so parents can work to support their families. Open Hiring supports parks, gardens, and healthy eating. Open Hiring generates community housing and economic development. All from baking brownies — and a mission to use business as a force for good.
"By filling jobs without judging applicants or asking any questions, Open Hiring creates opportunities for individuals who have been excluded from the mainstream workforce. Complemented by community programs that provide employees and their neighbors with additional services that help people keep a job, Open Hiring provides people with the opportunity to experience the dignity of work and improve their lives and their community."
What we do is first and foremost about people — and about systems, changing and creating new systems that meet social, environmental, and financial needs. It upends traditional hiring practices that focus on spending to screen people out and instead makes an investment to include people and support their success.
We envision a world where responsible businesses collaborate with communities to create inclusive economies. We envision a world where businesses compete to attract and retain citizens who have done their time and want to start a new life. We envision a world where business assets are deployed more effectively to generate a social return on investment that benefits the company, its employees and its community. We envision a world where tax benefits are extended to mission-driven companies that demonstrate consistent returns on mission that reduce government obligations. We envision a world where we recognize that everyone — from CEOs to day laborers — needs support to succeed on the job and also be a responsible family and community member.
We measure success every day — and over the long term. Success for Greyston is not a trade-off where we short the next generation to make outsized profits today. We must not sacrifice our children’s future to satisfy our near-term desires. Greyston generates strong returns for all stakeholders, a hybrid enterprise with nonprofit operations alongside a commercial business.
Are you curious about how to implement an Open Hiring model in your company or business? Go here to learn how you can create a more inclusive hiring process.
A version of this article originally appeared on B the Change. Greyston Social Enterprise is part of the community of Certified B Corporations. Read more stories of people using business as a force for good in B the Change, or sign up to receive the B the Change Weekly newsletter for more stories like the one above, delivered straight to your inbox.
B the Change gathers and shares the voices from within the movement of people using business as a force for good and the community of Certified B Corporations. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the nonprofit B Lab.