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Sponsored Content: Making a Connection
How one of the area’s leading law firms is prioritizing service to its community and employees.

by Liz Hunter

Those who run a business know that employees who feel a connection to the organization’s mission make for happier employees, and happier employees can lead toa more successful business.

For more than 100 years, Parker McCay has offered public and private entity clients in New Jersey a full range of legal services. At Parker McCay, commitment to employee well-being and the community is not an afterthought—it’s at the forefront of the firm’s objectives.

Community involvement is nothing new at Parker McCay, but the company has reorganized its existing initiatives into its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program. According to Sherri Smith, director of marketing, the CSR program simply structures everything the company was already doing into three components: community involvement, being green, and workplace initiatives.

Parker McCay’s outreach in the community includes financial giving, hands-on volunteering and positions on nonprofit boards, including the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New Jersey and Habitat for Humanity, among others. “Community involvement is important to the employees here,” says Smith. “They are very interested in working for a company they feel proud of.”

Some activities include food drives and volunteering at the Food Bank of South Jerseythrough the United Way “Day of Action,” coat and toy drives, and monthly “Denim Days” where employees can wear jeans with a $5 donation to that month’s charity—many of which are suggested by employees themselves. This is encouraged, as they recognize every person may have a cause that is important to them. Smith says one employee even suggested a Red Cross bus for a blood drive and after making some calls, the company has now had the bus come to its location twice for employees to make life-saving donations.

Parker McCay also dedicates a great deal of efforts to organizations in Camden since the area is especially in need. “We have worked with the Anna Sample House, a shelter for women and children, packing toiletry kits and also sent attorneys to give a workshop on résumé building and interview preparation,” says Smith.

Cathedral Kitchen is another one close to their hearts, and the company will not only volunteer, but they have organized drives for supplies, spent time making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and even collected excess Halloween candy for kids who come into Cathedral Kitchen to take home.

“An activity like making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches is just part of our employees’ day when it needs to be done. We reserve the time in a group space and if attorneys have the availability, they’ll jump in too,” says Smith. “It’s not something the employees have to clock out and do on their own time.”

In fact, every employee is given VTO—volunteer time off—that they can use at a local non-profit whether it’s on their own or organized through the firm.

Green and environmental initiatives are also part of the CSR program because, as Smith says, “Being a good corporate citizen means doing our part for conservation and to protect the environment.”

Admittedly, law firms can be a bit paper-heavy, so the biggest undertaking right now is to become paperless. “We want to get to the point where everything is digital and we’re nottaking up space with paper files and not printing constantly,” says Smith. But because lawyers like to hold papers and refer to them, the company realizes it will require a mindset change. “This being a multi-generational firm, we have some who are more comfortable with everything being electronic than others, but we are remaining optimistic and moving forward with everyone’s needs and comfort levels in mind. We have kicked off the project, and it will probably take a good three years to complete.”

Employee appreciation, wellness, recognition and personal development are the third branch of the CSR program. “Charity starts at home and it’s important to be good to our employees. We want them to be happy and productive, and we try to create a work environment that’s supportive in terms of their professional and personal growth,” Smith says, adding employees are offered continuing education on technology, stress and time management, organization, financial planning and other aspects that affect their work/life balance.

Wellness is also important at Parker McCay. The company installed a fitness portal, FitThumb, which allows employees to compete with each other (if they wish) by synching information from their personal fitness trackers or uploading their daily steps and activities. Other wellness programs include on-site yoga classes, healthy food and snacks, smoking cessation, an annual health fair with screenings, flu shot clinics and recently, standing desks have been added into the office.

But that’s not to say employees don’t get some treats along the way. The company sometimes surprises staff with a visit from the Mister Softee truck or with doughnuts. Every September is a company barbecue, in addition to the annual holiday party at the end of the year.

“We feel that our employees and our community are benefiting from our CSR activities and we hope that we are setting an example for other businesses,” says Smith. “We get a lot out of our CSR program and know that other firms would, too.”
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Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Biz, Volume 9, Issue 7 (July 2019).

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