Outstanding Corporate Citizen of the Year (Small Business) Nominee
Why do you believe CSR strategy is important for a company?
At Paradyme Management, our company culture thrives on engaging with the community around us. To truly connect with our local community, we update our CSR philosophy annually by refining our Strategic Community Investment plan, which is spearheaded by our Training and Development Manager Noah Parker. Our CSR philosophy for 2017 is simple; we seek opportunities to make short and long term impacts in our community in the areas of access to technology, social engagement, and strengthening non-profit organizations. Specifically, when partnering with non-profits, a strategic mutually beneficial relationship is the foundation for our corporate investment and philanthropy, which creates the likelihood of a stronger community impact.
Our CSR philosophy also recognizes that businesses of any size have an opportunity to make a positive impact in the community. It is a progressive way to focus on the financial, social, and environmental ties between the business and its beneficiaries. Paradyme recognizes that today’s modern employee is looking for opportunities to make a difference in their community, and we enthusiastically include our employees as partners in our CSR activities to strengthen our community engagement. For example, in 2017, we have had employees across all projects participate in company volunteer opportunities at the DC Humane Rescue Alliance and at Food & Friends.
Do you believe that the CSR work you participate in should be affiliated with the work your company does?
When there is alignment with our organizational mission and our CSR strategy, our company achieves a more meaningful impact in the local community. Paradyme Management’s mission is “to be the company of choice, offering our people purposeful work within a dynamic environment fostering a culture of providing exceptional services to our customers rooted with a commitment to serving the community.” Our annual Strategic Community Investment plan expands our mission and reinforces our commitment to our employees, also known as Paradymers, and the community. Offering volunteer and community engagement opportunities mirrors what we offer our employees in their careers - the chance to be engaged in purposeful work.
Our offices are in diverse communities, and we have an opportunity to positively contribute to the education of young people in our local community. As an IT consulting company, Paradyme has an aspiration to stimulate interest and build technological skills for the local students. Technology as an industry has been historically underrepresented in terms of opportunities for minorities. To address this, we donated 10 computers to the Springhill Lake Recreation Center in 2016, so the children can use them after school and on weekends. To further this initiative, we have developed classes that teach computer coding and computer languages this spring and summer to local area elementary and middle school aged children. By establishing these relationships, we are thrilled to be furthering our CSR policy and our mission by investing in our community.
What makes your company stand out compared to other companies participating in CSR?
Part of what has fueled Paradyme Management’s growth is our organizational commitment to thinking outside of the box. When we bring creativity in solving client issues or in developing our CSR plan, we are living the values of our company. These core values of respect, accountability, teamwork, and integrity are the hallmarks of what created our CSR strategy. Our company does not rest for long on our past success, rather we strive for continous improvement.
As part of our CSR strategy, Paradyme partnered with the Greenbelt Community Foundation, a philanthropic organization providing program investment funds to local nonprofits, in 2016 to sponsor the GCF’s 10th anniversary campaign. Paradymers helped GCF grantee organizations market two public events per month and were also featured as guest contributors in the Greenbelt News Review (authoring a total of 15 articles for the entire campaign). The GCF enjoyed weekly mentions in donated advertising, letters to the editor, and news articles.
During the partnership:
- Over 1,000 hours of Paradymers’ time has been dedicated on the project.
- Paradymers across the organization volunteered at campaign events and service projects.
- Over $11,000 in Paradymer compensation has been invested, which more than doubles the original donation request from the community foundation.
Organizations and activities include:
- Friends of Greenbelt Theater (Analyzing budgets, researching, and proposing sources of revenue)
- Greenbelt MakerSpace Cooperative (Sponsorship solicitation and event planning)
- Friends of Greenbelt Museum (Research and create a fundraising plan)
- Greenbelt Farmers Market (Implement SNAP benefits usage at Farmer’s Market)
- Greenbelt Middle School (Computer and technical support, Social media/marketing, and funding research)
Do you believe contributing back to the community allows your company to have a deeper connection with its clients/customers?
When we designed our CSR strategy, we applied our customer centric business approach. Having the ability to lead and empower people to own their professional experiences, Paradyme truly believes that our work is a representation of who we are as people and that our company reflects the values of our employees. This relationship and connection with the local community has led to deepening the relationships we have with our customers and has helped to grow our business. As Paradyme Management grows current and new clients, we will stay true to our mission and small business values, engage in corporate social responsibility programs, sustain the quality of our programs, and become the company of choice for the next generation of IT professionals in the region.
What advice would you give to individuals trying to find a cause in which to participate?
Start small and try something that makes sense to your organization. Our CSR philosophy has evolved over the years. As an organization, Paradyme has gone from pure monetary philanthropy in the form of event sponsorship to a coordinated strategy for financial, programmatic, and volunteering involvement in the community. Through our connection with the local community, our CSR plan has narrowed to engaging with organizations and programs that help children, health, and animal welfare; these areas will be our focus moving forward as we connect with local organizations who can benefit from our support and sponsorship. We are excited to develop our community engagement endeavors and provide a way for Paradymers to immerse themselves in the local community and make a positive impact.