The CARE Awards Highlight Corporate Best Practices

In the Northern Virginia community and job market, businesses need to stand out, and not just in terms of their services or products. Local businesses need to stand out with their company culture. As organizations look for innovative ways to retain and attract top talent, the key lies in understanding the value of corporate culture. Engaging employees through a focus on their well-being and development is a cornerstone. And this includes their family and the community.

This is where the Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS) steps in, presenting the Annual CARE Awards—a unique initiative acknowledging companies that foster an extraordinary work environment through corporate best practices.

Best Practices from CARE Award Winners

Each year, CARE Award winners identify best practices that allow them to create a workplace culture where employees and businesses are poised to thrive. The best practices from 2022 winners addressed the following bedrocks of business leadership:

Community Engagement
Open Communication
Diversity & Inclusion
Flexible Work Environment
Employee Development
Employee Well-being and Development

How do these best practices nurture the employee and their family to create a positive community? In this blog, we will ask NVFS’ EVP of Human Resources, Jacqueline Dendievel, and also learn from some past CARE Award winners.

Ask a Human Resources Executive

One way to learn about the impact of the work environment on the community is to ask NVFS’ own Jacqueline Dendievel a few questions.

NVFS: How do family-friendly policies benefit employers and the community?

It’s actually really simple, and the same holds true today as it did when the CARE Awards were first launched 30+ years ago: those of us who work for an organization have many other responsibilities and aspects to our lives beyond work, including but not limited to our roles as parents, grandparents, children, caregiver, significant other and trusted friend.

As employers, we are in a unique position to both be a part of the solution to employees’ challenges as well as support them in managing and leading their lives in ways that are meaningful to them. In turn, our employees are then better able to engage when they are working and are more likely to bring their discretionary energy and efforts to their work. We’re partners in each other’s success, and our success has a positive ripple effect on the communities in which we live and work.

NVFS: What is NVFS’ philosophy on caring for employees? What are ‘top of mind’ topics when it comes to caring for NVFS employees?

Our philosophy on supporting our team is employee-centric, honors our organizational values, and applies an equity lens and holistic approach to all that we consider and do for our employees through our five dimensions of wellbeing: professional, mental, physical and financial health, work environment and social.

Though each of our 350 employees’ specific needs may vary, and vary over time, we take our commitment very seriously to supporting them in all aspects of their lives and adapting as needed to do so. Also, always top of mind is who we are as an organization and reflecting our approach to our work externally in supporting our staff internally. Some of the workforce topics that have been and continue to be priorities for us – individually and interconnected – are flexibility, talent and capability development, mobility, mental health, equity, diversity and inclusion.

Thank you, Jacqueline, for providing a snapshot of the work environment at NVFS and highlighting best practices. Another way to discover how corporate best practices nurture a work environment and the community is to look towards NVFS CARE Awards winners.

The Link Between Volunteerism and Corporate Culture

Volunteerism serves as a powerful link between corporate culture and community. Numerous studies have shown that volunteer programs can drastically improve job satisfaction and employee engagement. Employees who feel they are positively impacting their community experience greater fulfillment in their work. Volunteering cultivates a sense of loyalty, often permeating other aspects of one’s life—including family life.

Take, for example, Apple Federal Credit Union, a CARE Award winner. They provide employees with 16 hours of paid leave for volunteering, epitomizing their strategic priority, “community.”

Similarly, JK Moving’s JK Community Farm, run primarily by volunteers, supplies food pantries with fresh, nutritious produce. They demonstrate a tangible commitment to the community, and JK Moving is also a CARE Award winner.

Open Communication and Corporate Culture

As you know, communication is crucial not only in a work environment but also within a community and between family and friends. Indeed, open communication skills used at work set habits to be used outside the work environment.

That is why open communication is another pillar of an exceptional culture and corporate best practices. Let’s see how two CARE award winners promote open communication at work and within the community.

Dev Technology Group, for instance, established a corporate engagement committee led by employees to amplify every employee’s voice. Business Benefits Group, too, values employee feedback and regularly surveys staff to ensure their initiatives align with the team’s needs, wants, and values.

Open communication, negation skills, and a voice in decision-making are all best practices that can be used at work and in the community.

A Diverse and Inclusive Work Environment

Creating a diverse and inclusive culture is more than just a buzzword; it’s a critical factor in the business’s growth and morale. If you are creating your own list of corporate best practices, consider including this pillar.

Again, let’s check in with two CARE award winners.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) supports this ethos by establishing Workplace Inclusion Networks (WINs) that build an inclusive, diverse, and equitable workplace. OBAN Corporation, a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business, is committed to hiring and servicing people of all experiences, particularly the nation’s veterans and their families.

As we just noted, there is yet another link between the work environment and families in the Northern Virginia region.

A Flexible Work Environment

So, why should employers aspire to be CARE Award winners? It’s simple: family-friendly policies result in a happier workforce, fostering a sense of belonging and mutual respect.

Both Custom Ink and FranConnect offer flexible and primarily remote work environments. Employers feel empowered to care for themselves and their families and be active in the community.

FlexProfessionals prides itself on being a 100% results-based organization in which no team member has a defined number of hours or structured work schedule. As long as customers receive timely and quality service, team members can choose how, when, and where they work.

These policies contribute to better productivity and positively influence the community. They encourage the development of relationships, not just as coworkers but as partners contributing to a shared purpose.A flexible work environment is now a corporate best practice in the Northern Virginia region.

Employee Development and Wellbeing

The key to establishing corporate best practices is to prioritize the most impactful family and community-friendly topics. NVFS, in its commitment to caring for employees, believes in prioritizing fostering an environment of growth and development.

Here are some recent CARE Awards winners and how they prioritize growth, development, and well-being:

CALIBRE Systems, Inc. believes investing in the training and professional development of employee-owners through tuition reimbursement is essential.

Comstock offers a professional development reimbursement fund for continuing education.

FMP Consulting’s New Hire Podcast is designed to introduce new team members to the workforce.

NetImpact Strategies Inc. initiated their “Earn That Cert” program and hired a full-time, in-house expert training practitioner.

Air Force Aid Society, Inc. (AFAS) hosts an annual staff retreat focused on team building.

B&A created “Let’s Connect,” a welcoming and supportive space for employees to learn about mental health topics.

Fors Marsh offers unlimited Paid Time Off and encourages employees to take mental health days and recharge with vacation time, regardless of tenure.

On any day at Monument Wealth Management offices, you’ll find at least one dog with the team!

ENSCO understands the value of human connections between coworkers and senior leadership and regularly hosts events such as BBQ lunches and ice cream socials.

USTA Mid-Atlantic Section, Inc. has an internal staff committee dedicated to planning and implementing ways to enhance workplace culture.

How many of these award-winning corporate best practices can you implement at your organization?

A Roadmap to Outstanding Corporate Culture

The CARE Awards offer a roadmap to creating an outstanding corporate culture. They validate the belief that engaging employees and nurturing their well-being goes hand –in hand with successful community engagement. The benefits are manifold: happier employees, a healthier community, and a corporate culture as compassionate as it is ambitious.

In conclusion, establishing an exceptional corporate culture invests in the organization’s future, employees, and community. Northern Virginia Family Service is proud to lead the charge in making our region a better place for everyone to work and live.

Stay tuned for more information about this year’s CARE Award winners, announced in September, and our CARE Awards ceremony on November 15. Visit our website for more information