Large Business Nominee
Jennifer Bahrami, Vice President Marketing Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility
1. Why do you believe CSR strategy is important for a company?
CSR goes hand in hand with smart business strategy. AT CNSI our CSR strategy is holistic. It reflects our culture and values and serves to create positive social impact while also bringing the priorities of our employees and customers to life. This approach increases employee engagement and creates strong relationships with our clients and community partners.
2. Do you believe that the CSR work you participate in should be affiliated with the work you/your company does?
An effective CSR program should focus on the issues that are important to its employees, the communities in which it operates, and align with the organizations broader business goals. At CNSI, our CSR program, iCare, is our way of taking our core values and making them come to life. Not only do we have high levels of engagement by focusing on what employees care about, but the issues identified by our employees—hunger, education and children—serve as a natural extension of the work we do as a health IT firm. Our business goal—to provide innovative solutions that help improve the health and lives of millions of Americans—aligns with our CSR goals as well.
3. What makes your company stand out compared to other companies participating in CSR?
CNSI's CSR program, iCare, is unique in that it is holistic, measurable, and employee-driven. From the outset, we wanted to ensure that iCare went beyond just donations and volunteer hours. We built the framework around five pillars: Our People, Environment, Governance and Ethics, Philanthropy and Volunteerism, and Innovation. Within each pillar, CNSI establishes, tracks, and reports on yearly goals. This provides a layer of accountability to ensure we stay true to the program’s mission and gives us an opportunity to look for ways to expand. In addition, our volunteer service stands out, because it is our employees driving our efforts. Our CSR team took the program one step further by building relationships with organizations that, together, provide solutions that are comprehensive and sustainable. For example, not only does CNSI focus on providing food and shelter to homeless children and families in the area, but it also focuses on increasing their access to education and healthcare services. We are extremely proud of our efforts as it is extremely unique for a company of our size to have such a sophisticated and cutting-edge CSR program.
4. Do you believe contributing back to the community allows your company to have a deeper connection with its clients/customers?
Absolutely. As a state and federal contractor, our health IT solutions touch the lives of millions of Americans. For CNSI, being a trusted partner to our clients is about more than just the technologies we develop. It is also about how we conduct our business, treat our employees, and give back to the communities in which we live and work. That is why our iCare mantra is to “Think globally, act locally.” Our clients engage with us on many of these efforts and are proud to work with a company that makes financial, social and volunteer investments that help transform the lives of those most in need.
5. What advice would you give to companies trying to participate in CSR?
Our advice is threefold. First, you are never too small or too large to build a strong program. But you must have leadership support to drive meaningful efforts across the organization. We believe CSR efforts are most successful if there are champions at every level of the organization. Secondly, listen to your employees from the very beginning. By engaging in the issues they care most about, you improve levels of engagement and overall impact. Lastly, be strategic and targeted in how you invest and focus your efforts. Work with those organizations who best align with your goals, have ways of measuring impact, provide a variety of ways for your company to engage with them and ensure you evaluate your progress, partnerships and investments regularly. By taking this approach to CSR, any company can have a thriving program that benefits their communities, employees, and bottom line.