COLLEAGUES WITH BENEFITS: A healthy life balance is written into the core values of this small employee-benefits consulting firm. You can tell: Flexible hours, telecommuting options, 15 vacation days a year, and an in-house gym/training studio where employees can work out on company time are all part of the package. "If our folks are happy here, they're going to work hard for their customers," says Bob Levy, founder and president.
RETURNING THE FAVOR: A strong dedication to volunteer projects helps define Paradigm. As part of a team-building weekend in 2008, they helped restore a New Orleans baseball field damaged in Hurricane Katrina. paradigmgroup.net
ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: FROM THE COMPANY
Paradigm Group is an employee-benefits, retirement-services, and HR consulting firm.
One of our core values is work-life balance. Flexibility and support by our president to balance work and personal-life demands make it possible for employees to pursue a healthy blend. One of his frequent sayings is "We take our work seriously, but we don't take ourselves seriously." That attitude supports employees' ability to manage their own schedules and fosters a spirit of fun in the office. Our schedule is flexible all year round, for whatever purpose. A private personal-training studio is located on the same floor as our offices. Employees may pay for memberships via payroll deduction and may work out during company time. The company provides a bountiful, healthy breakfast each Monday morning when the staff gathers for a staff meeting. The leftovers provide for snacking throughout the week.
Community participation is strongly encouraged. Staff members tend to migrate to areas of interest, including animal welfare, the arts, children's issues, church-affiliated activity, Hands On Nashville, etc. The local United Way is one of our clients, so we participate in UW programs. One of our company trips included a workday to help clean up a baseball field in New Orleans. Part of our holiday gift to clients each year is a substantial donation to a local charity, which varies each year. Employees also adopt Salvation Army Angel Tree kids instead of exchanging gifts.
We celebrate successes and individual achievements and personal events, which are generally formally announced at Monday staff meetings. For example, one of the staff recently passed the exam to become a Certified Financial Planner. We suffered with him while he waited for the results and celebrated when he learned he had passed. We hold monthly ice cream and cake celebrations for that month's birthdays, and quite often the president gathers whoever is available and takes us to lunch. In past years we've enjoyed an annual off-site planning meeting in places such as Las Vegas, South Beach, Breckinridge, and New Orleans. This year, in view of the economic conditions many of our clients are dealing with, we will gather closer to home. Our profit-sharing awards are the primary means of recognizing achievement, and they emphasize one of our core values, which is teamwork.