Outstanding Corporate Citizen of the Year (Small Business) Nominee
1. Why do you believe CSR strategy is important for a company?
For Duty First Consulting, it’s less about the recognition and marketing aspects of CSR, and more about the employee engagement. Our GIVE Program is regularly cited by current, former, and prospective employees as one of their favorite aspects of the firm. We built a CSR Program that works for everyone – our leadership, our employees, our clients, and our community. Our CSR has turned out to be a wonderful strategy for us, but we didn’t really build it with us in mind – we built it for the Veteran community.
2. Do you believe that the CSR work you participate in should be affiliated with the work you/your company does? For example, should an Oil company’s CSR be in cleaning up oil spills?
We believe that it is important to make as much of an impact in your community as you can. For us, we spend a lot of time serving the Veteran and Military community through our work and it just makes sense that we extend that commitment into our CSR program. They go hand in hand for us. In our work, we serve those segments at the macro level – supporting programs or technology. In our CSR, we have the opportunity to serve individuals – and that means so much for us.
3. What makes your company stand out compared to other companies participating in CSR?
For a small company, our GIVE program is more robust than would be expected. It’s an official corporate program, led by employees, with a requirement of at least one activity per quarter. Almost all of our activities are hands-on, off-site, and face-to-face with the community we serve. These activities occur during business hours to emphasize their importance in our firm’s culture and to demonstrate our commitment by “putting our money where our mouth is.” In addition, both of our founders, Ronald Aument and Terry Speegle, are service-disabled veterans and board members of the Aleethia Foundation, Serving those who Serve. DFC, through monetary contributions, advice, and consulting services, helps the Aleethia foundation succeed in its mission. Please find more information about the Aleethia Foundation at http://www.aleethia.org/.
4. Do you believe contributing back to the community allows your company to have a deeper connection with its clients/customers?
Absolutely. Our consultants often work on key VA programs to ensure that that Veterans get the benefits they have earned. They understand that it’s an important job and their work is critical…but they don’t always see the downstream effect of their work on the Veteran as an individual. Some of our staff don’t have a personal connection to the Military and this program affords them the opportunity to experience firsthand why their work matters. When they return to their daily job, they bring with them that experience into all they do.
5. What advice would you give to companies trying to participate in CSR?
Our GIVE Program was started at the Executive level, but is now 100% organic and employee-led. While we ensure that we stay true to our original charter, the entire company gets involved and has a say in the direction of the program. As our employee demographic shifts, this ensures that the Program stays relevant and employees continue to be enthusiastic about it and energized by it. Find good people - willing to lead and serve their community – and empower them to build the best program.