It’s not all about Chocolate – being a Modern Quaker Business

Most people are familiar with the famous Quaker businesses from history – Cadbury, Rowntree, Fry and Terry. There were many others as well – did you know that banking was a Quaker trade?  Barclays and Lloyds were once Quaker businesses.  On the high street there was Clarks and in the house – Bryant and May.

Who are the Quaker Businesses today?  Very few and very small, most Quakers (or Friends as we are called) choose “clean” occupations like teaching, charity work or social work – there are few of us who make our living in Business, let alone those of us who run our own businesses.

Breathing Space HR, Leeds, is a Quaker business and HR Consultancy.

Ok, so what?

Quakers follow 4 Testimonies in life and these are translated in to the way we run and do business.

Truth and Integrity – a good and fair price, a good job and treatment of our clients in an ethical, above the board manner.  Also a healthy dose of “Truth to Power” – telling our clients exactly as we see it (diplomatically of course!). In HR consultancy is this a critical point – we are required to deal with very strong CEOs and Directors – sometimes we have to give direction on issues which if not followed would lead our clients in to muddy waters.

It also means prompt payment of bills, no unnecessary debt and not being aggressive on our debtors who are in a helpless situation.

No over-promising or price-gouging allowed!

It is useful to bear in mind that Fairness and Integrity does not imply Weakness, if we are wronged, legal processes should be followed. As an HR Consultancy this is necessary as we are always telling our clients to follow legal process and keep going until the result is achieved.

Simplicity – not over complicating our processes, not over-egging our hours, not speaking in jargon, designing templates with simplicity and clarity, being transparent in our practices.  Ensuring that we pay a fair price and are not lavish overspending in terms of offices and perks. In HR this is very important as people need to clearly understand what they are signing up to and what are the expectations.

Equality – being an employer of equality opportunities, not being discriminatory and discouraging those practices in clients.  Fair pay for a fair day’s work.  Treating our clients and their employees ethically and encouraging fair pay.

Peace – discouraging conflict in the workplace and working to resolve any points of contention, ensuring we and our clients have the necessary tools to enable a harmonious workplace.  Stepping in where conflict occurs to resolve as quickly as possible through enabling practical and workable solutions. Not engaging with potential clients who create weapons or engage in the “war business”.

The Quaker Way is my spiritual choice as a business owner, HR Consultant and MD, however it is a high ethic to follow in terms of business practice.  My employees read the Quakers and Business publication as part of their induction and the feedback is usually that it’s a good read, simply explains ethical behaviour at work and make total sense.

You can view it here:

http://qandb.org/resources/publications/ethics-at-work

And learn more about Quakers here:

http://www.quaker.org.uk/