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B Lab: Reducing work hours in a hockey-stick growth period

B Lab:  Reducing work hours in a hockey-stick growth period
Kira reduced her work week from 60 to 38 hours.
Noteworthy impact:
• Visibility into how team activities align with business goals.
• Scalable & sustainable growth roadmap.
• Transparency into career progression pathways.

Meet B Lab Australia & New Zealand

B Lab is a not-for-profit organisation responsible for issuing B Corporation Certifications: a highly sought after certification based on meeting strict criteria for positive social and environmental impact.

The challenge

Over a 15-year period, the global community has grown to include 4,500 B Corps and, in the last 14 months alone, B Lab has received a similar number of applications! In a single year, the B Lab Australia & NZ team has doubled in size. As a result of the rapid growth, individual roles became muddled and unsustainable.

Many of B Lab’s employees are incredibly passionate and committed to their mission and work. While this is admirable, it can lead to unintended business risks - trying to fit it all in and burning out.

A standout example

The community manager role had been manageable when there was a community of 50 B Corps, but less so as numbers soared into the hundreds.

Key challenges

  • The number of activities became overwhelming and too far-reaching.
  • Described as a ‘bowl of soup’ that lacked focus and didn’t prioritise key outcomes.
  • It became a 60+ hour working week role, posing a burnout risk.
  • Some CM activities were unfulfilling or required a missing skill (in this case, communications).

Using Beamible as a solution

Kira Day was tasked with the job of redesigning the role, the community function in particular. She wanted to look at it from a full team perspective to understand where it made sense to mix things up.

She used Beamible - the tool that gives unprecedented visibility across all roles and enables the redistribution of responsibilities based on preferences, skills and capacity.

How she did it

  1. Listed all CM activities and the time spent on each.
  2. Tagged each activity: which were critical to the role, which could be redistributed, which could be stopped altogether and which made her role enjoyable.
  3. Used insights generated from these first two steps to make the following changes:
  4. Reshaped the community function of the team entirely - now everyone on the team would take on some relationship management or account management.
  5. Bundles of work were redistributed to other team members who either had capacity or wanted to swap for activities they’d identified as enjoying more.
  6. Identified the need for a new role to be created - a Communications Coordinator - so Kira could return her focus to her core activities.
  7. Renamed her role to Impact and Engagement Manager to better reflect the type of activities she would be responsible for.

By mapping her role in Beamible, Kira was able to get visibility into the activities that had crept into her remit that didn’t belong there. It also gave her the ability to create a compelling business case to bring on a new hire to strategically relieve the pressure on her and her team to manage communications - a major resource gap that became clear for the first time.

Noteworthy results

For Kira on an individual basis:

  • She removed or redistributed 70% of her activities to free up time for her core role, while achieving greater clarity and focus.
  • She reduced her work week from 60 to 38 hours without impacting personal or team outcomes.
  • She identified, built a business case for and filled a resource gap the team had been suffering from for some time.

For the broader team & organisation:

  • The team was able to identify which activities were high-value and aligned with business goals, then place focus on them.
  • They achieved better clarity on priorities across the team and organisation.
  • They were able to provide better business controls for their CEO.

Noteworthy impact

Kira and other team members were able to break down and analyse how…

their time is spent. It enabled them to reset and approach their role redesign in a strategic and practical way from the bottom up. ‘What does my day-to-day look like?’ ‘What are my big picture objectives, and what am I doing to reach that goal?’ ‘Am I doing high-importance, outcome-focused work?’ ‘What parts of my job do I enjoy, and what parts don’t I enjoy?’ ‘Are my hours manageable and sustainable?’

Now the B Lab team can keep growing without bloating workloads. They…

stopped burnout in its tracks by prioritising mental health and recognising that individuals’ workloads were rapidly becoming unsustainable.

They achieved visibility and clarity into how each team member spends their

time. This knowledge informs career progression pathways and insight into what learning and development might look like. ‘What is a senior person in the team doing?’ ‘What skills can I be aspiring to learn/take on?’ ‘What skills are currently holding me back from progressing professionally?’

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