The expression “do well by doing good” has guided much of what Blue State Digital has accomplished over the years, but it has special resonance with me. As the COO, my job is to make sure we can fight for the causes that we are passionate about and are core to BSD’s collective identity, look out for our employees’ needs, invest in the next wave of innovation in our products — and make ends meet while doing so.
This week, I attended the Digiday Agency Summit in Charleston. I spoke about BSD — how we balance our mission and values with the need to run a business, and about some of the things we are doing to stand up to the current administration, including our work with HOPE not hate and our CallOut product. The summit sparked discussions about important industry trends and enabled companies to show how they’re managing in this economy. Many of my fellow presenters spoke about the impact of the work they do and the importance of the “people part” of their businesses, so I hope my words resonated.
BSD’s work centers on digital transformation: helping organizations develop better relationships with the people most important to them. Sometimes the project demands strategy and creative; sometimes the focus is on tech and data — but it’s always about people.
For us, there is something civic at the heart of building any community of people in common cause — to evangelize for a brand they love, to advocate for a charity they care about, or to knock on doors for a campaign they support. That sense of civic responsibility extends to the community of employees that make up our company, and it guides the policies that affect BSD employees every day.
One example is pay equity. Women on our team asked us to share BSD’s position regarding gender-based pay discrimination. We found that, on average, we were paying women 2% more than men who had the same title, compared to the national average of 80 cents on the dollar.
However, there were some exceptions, and there was one employee’s salary in particular that was way off-trend. I brought the number to our CEO and he insisted on correcting the problem the very next day.
We have similar stories to tell about BSD’s parental leave policy (12 to 18 weeks paid leave for men and women), our health care premium plan (higher-paid employees subsidize the premiums of more junior staff), and our time off policy (get your work done, then take off as much time as you want).
With politics in a frightening place and much of the social safety net dissolved, it’s fallen on businesses to take care of our people while we fight for a better world. To best serve both our clients and our employees, we need to be authentic about where we stand.