What Makes a Job ‘Good’?
By Rhiannon Robinson
A question we often get asked at Do Good Jobs, from employers and job seekers, is how we decide which jobs are ‘good’ and whether we let ‘just anyone’ list with us.
We’ve grown a lot over the past year as more employers than ever are looking for values-aligned candidates. It’s the perfect time for a kōrero with you, our community, about our process, how we decide whether a lister is values aligned to Do Good Jobs and how serving you is still our number one priority.
Do Good Jobs was created a decade ago by our founder Julia Capon, a not-for-profit veteran and eco geek. Frustrated by the complex set of search terms she had to use to find for-purpose marketing roles as a job seeker, she decided to solve the problem herself – and Do Good Jobs was born. A place for values-led professionals to easily search for a job that does good and a community to go with it.
I sat down with Julia to chat about those early days. Early on, Do Good Jobs saw almost 99% of its job listings come from not-for-profits and charities – and the very occasional public sector or social enterprise role.
“Ultimately Do Good Jobs was created to do three things; contribute to social change, to help organisations and people find ‘purpose’ in their work and to make a positive impact.” Those three pillars still guide and inform our work and decision making at Do Good Jobs today. But as the landscape changes and becomes more complex, along with varying opinions on what ‘ethical’ means and what ‘good’ impact is, Do Good Jobs has evolved too.
In 2021, there is no question that some of the biggest forces for positive social and environmental change are public sector organisations, social enterprises and purpose-driven organisations. The listings on Do Good Jobs reflect that.
Over the years, we’ve had comments from our community about all sorts of organisations (including charities) that they didn’t see as “good”: and we’ve learned that what ticks the box for one person might be a ‘no-go” to others. As Julia says:
“What I have come to realise is that everyone’s idea of ‘Doing Good’ varies based on who they are, their own values, purpose and passions. Ultimately our community needs to decide whether an employer fits with their personal beliefs and values of doing good. Everyone is different.”
Within the Do Good Jobs team, we may have slight differences of opinion on what is ‘Good’ but we’ve set criteria and accountability in place to make sure we are staying true to our values and serving our diverse community. We have the hard conversations – and hold each other to account.
Do Good Jobs is a small (but mighty), dedicated team of four part-timers. We’re all driven by our values and have our own passions and side hustles that enrich what we bring to the table at Do Good Jobs.
Each time a new organisation lists, we manually check and approve them as a Do Good Jobs Employer. We also spot check all listings for breaches of the Human Rights Act and unethical business practices. While a listing on Do Good Jobs doesn’t mean that we endorse an employer – we do make a commitment to ensuring the jobs on our board align with the values of our community as much as possible.
We have a quick and easy quiz that potential listers can take to see whether their role is a good fit for Do Good Jobs. If they’re unsure, they’re welcome to talk to our team and run through the ways they’re aligned to our mahi.
There are many hard NOs at Do Good Jobs.
We don’t accept listings from the military, mining security services, multi-level marketing, network marketing, tobacco, gambling or the fossil fuel/oil industry. Organisations also can’t be solely faith-based, or solely profit-driven. But there is a whole lot of grey area and subjectivity that we deal with day-to-day.
Who does fit?
Let’s give you a glimpse into the key types of organisations that list with us, with some real-life examples;
- Not-for-profits (NFP) and registered charities
All not-for-profits and charities are eligible to list on Do Good Jobs and they make up the majority of job listers. From time to time we do spot issues, such as breaches of the Human Rights Act, and we contact the lister to discuss. Examples of our not-for-profit and charity listers include New Zealand Red Cross, Wellington Free Ambulance, Breast Cancer Foundation, and Greenpeace Aotearoa
- For-purpose organisations and social enterprises
There’s no legal definition of a social enterprise in New Zealand, but The Idealist has a good one “social enterprises are social impact-driven businesses. Their primary purpose should be to use the company’s for-profit business model and strategies to achieve a social mission.”
For-purpose organisations are a little tricker. Even the word for-purpose can spark debate (trust us, we’ve had the DMs). So, what IS a for-purpose organisation, and is it a buzzword? Pro-Bono Australia’s definition is nice and simple;
“For-purpose organisations are a collection of people who have come together because they share a common goal for society.”
The above is very true of the Do Good Jobs employer community, but not all organisations within it are classed as a not-for-profit or charity. They are still values aligned and making a positive impact in the community, and our job seekers would be missing out by not seeing these opportunities. Our for-purpose and social enterprise listers include Social Change Collective, Ākina, The Good Registry, and Thankyou Payroll.
- Public Sector Organisations
Te Kawa Mataaho | Public Service Commission states “The New Zealand Public Sector is held in high regard and ranks well across a range of international integrity measures. That reputation depends on our ability to build and maintain a high trust, strong public management system, and a workplace culture that promotes integrity and ethics as central to our values and work. Every public servant has a part to play.”
During the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a spotlight on the role the Public Sector plays in supporting communities, driving social change and solving some of the big problems that affect our county and planet in 2021. We see all sorts of impactful roles coming from our public sector listers, from Community Development Managers to Climate Change Advisors and Environmental Analysts, our Public Sector is certainly a place for change-makers and future thinkers. Our Public Sector listers include Stats NZ Tatauranga Aotearoa, The Human Rights Commission and Callaghan Innovation.
If you’re in the ‘Do-Good’ space, you’ve surely encountered the term B-Corp popping up more and more often. B Corp New Zealand says:
“B Corp Certification is the only certification that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance. The B Impact Assessment evaluates how your company’s operations and business model impact your workers, community, environment, and customers. From your supply chain and input materials to your charitable giving and employee benefits, B Corp Certification proves your business is meeting the highest standards of verified performance.”
The process for a business to become B-Corp certified is a big commitment, often taking a number of years and a substantial financial and human investment. B-Corp certification is still in its early days in New Zealand, and until now Do Good Jobs has been assessing each B-Corp on a case-by-case basis. We look at the work they do and their B-Corp rating. After becoming more familiar with the B-Corp Certification process, and the checks and balances, we are looking to welcome all Certified B-Corps to list with us in 2022. Our current B-Corp listers include Sharesies, Little Yellow Bird, and CoGo.
Who does good, now?
Do Good Jobs certainly isn’t the moral police, and we’re not gatekeepers either. Holding listers to an impossible standard could mean our job seekers miss out on their values aligned dream role.
But, rest assured we do have a clear set of criteria we use to guide us, a process in place, and we make decisions with our community of values-driven and diverse job seekers in mind.
And while we are committed to doing the first sweep to ensure jobs align with our broader definition of doing “good”, each job seeker needs to apply their own values to job vacancies and decide whether a role or organisation is in line with their personal values.
“When your values are clear to you, making decisions become easier” – Roy Disney
“Personal leadership is the process of keeping your vision and values before you and aligning your life to be congruent with them.” – Stephen Covey