Outstanding Corporate Citizenship Award Winner Q&A

In Chamber Blog by admin

Acumen Solutions
Mid-Size Business Winner
Margie Johnson, Director, Corporate Care

1. Why do you believe CSR strategy is important for a company?
A CSR program can bring employees together in meaningful ways and create opportunities
for them to build relationships with colleagues that they typically would not in their daily work.
It further cements the culture and their connection to the company. Employee satisfaction and engagement are key to retention and productivity – and often secured in efforts outside
of an employees’ key role and responsibilities

At the foundation of our culture is our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program. This
Core Value was established at the inception of the company nearly 20 years ago and
continues to a priority of the CEO’s to our newest hires. In a recent employee survey, the
CSR program was ranked 2nd in the Top 10 Reasons Acumen Solutions is a Great Place to

Employee quote: “The level of charitable engagement is IMMENSE here. This company has
a beating heart – there’s no corporate advantage that they would expect – they do this
because it matters.”

2. Do you believe that the CSR work you participate in should be affiliated with the work
you/your company does?

All giving back efforts are important and valued by those in need, and we have participated in
numerous grass roots efforts over the years. Approximately five years into business, we
made the decision to align our primary CSR initiatives with our expertise. We believe this
has enabled us to make a greater and more substantial impact on organizations we serve.
Contributing our business and technology expertise has enabled us to deliver more than $9
million in pro bono professional services. These contributions can transform local non-profit
organizations by solving key business challenges they could not otherwise afford to address.
We execute our Pro Bono Initiative annually in which 3-month projects are delivered to
deserving organizations. It’s a highlight of the year at the closing event to hear the impact
and appreciation from our nonprofit partners, as well as the excitement from employee
participants who grasp the value of what their time and talent contribution has made and the
impact it will have on so many!

3. What makes your company stand out compared to other companies participating in CSR?
In 2007 we created the Board Leadership Program (BLP), which leverages the talents of our
senior leaders and empowers them to engage in their communities by serving on the boards
of local nonprofits. By coupling the intellectual capital of the company, with the needs of an
organization, we are able to achieve greater sustainable impact. Members receive training,
placement and financial support. There is a personal gratification and development the
opportunity provides our senior leaders, as well as the opportunity to introduce a new
nonprofit’s mission to our larger employee base.

The nonprofits who are supported through the BLP are eligible for additional support
throughout the year with such efforts as Quarterly Service Activities, holiday drives, Pro Bono
Projects, Board Stipends, CSR Portal promotion and more. This concentrated focus on a
select group of organizations reflects our commitment to sustainable impact. Since the
inception of the program, over 67 employees have been trained for board placement and 58
nonprofits have been positively impacted.

We have a fantastic culture at Acumen Solutions and we strengthen it through our giving
back efforts. Our CSR program is unparalleled in its authenticity and creative approach.

4. Do you believe that contributing back to the community allows your company to have a
deeper connection with its clients/customers?

Giving back is integral to our philosophy, spirit and culture. Building strong and lasting
relationships has been a facet of our business from inception. We value our employees as
people and their lives and those of their families are a priority. Our philosophy around CSR
is to give back to those who have supported Acumen Solutions’ growth and development.
That means supporting the needs in the communities – nonprofits and for profit businesses,
where our employees live and work. It would be impossible for us not to engage with our
local communities.

One of the newest favorite CSR program is our Pay It Forward effort. Employees can
request funds to execute personal “random acts of kindness” that inspire generosity and
compassion. The feedback has been overwhelming – employees reporting the experience
has been inspiring to them, and a wonderful teaching opportunity for their children. One
employee shared “The experience changed me in a very profound way…I look forward to
finding and creating future opportunities to be of good service, and to demonstrate kindness
in my community.”

Clients comment on our CSR efforts and on occasion join us for a service activity. We
incorporate the CSR program information into client proposals and meetings, because it is
truly a part of Acumen Solutions’ DNA. The most frequently heard compliment from
candidates is regarding our community work – it’s clear that we are about action and
outcome, not check writing. We believe and live our hashtag #GivingBackIsAGoodThing

5. What advice would you give to companies trying to participate in CSR?
Securing support of leadership is critical to any successful program – from the onset, both
philosophical and financially. If your community program is a key part of the business
environment, it will be endorsed by leadership both in spirit and action. Engage your
employees in determining what best suits the company and employee base. Collaborative
efforts, such as CSR activities can be the mechanism to create connections and build lasting
relationships between employees.

Some additional tips for a successful CSR Program include:
- Be innovative, inclusive and employee-driven
- Make it easy and convenient to participate
- Determine your focus to increase impact
- Secure employee ambassadors to help promotion
- Set goals and track them – report progress and impact