2018 Annual Benefit Report
TCG exists not to make money from working for the Federal Government (although that is important), but to make the world a better place by working for one of the most powerful organizations in the world – one that really can make the world better.
To underline our determination, in 2018 TCG began the process to become a Certified B-Corporation, a business that “meets the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability,” according to the B-Corp website. This accreditation is extremely difficult to get, particularly given that, unlike most B Corporations, we don’t have non-profits, needy people, or the environment as our direct clients. Fewer than 80 companies described as doing “IT software and services/web design” are certified B-Corps, and only six of them are in the Washington metropolitan area. And none appears to be working with the Federal government. We’d be the first!
As far as we can tell at the moment, we scored 86 points, making it possible for us to apply for certification. We will be doing this in early January 2019.
Maryland regulations require that we specify how we pursued and created a general and specific public benefit, any problems we had, and an assessment of the performance of the benefit corporation based on a third-party standard. We choose the United Nations Global Compact as our third-party standard – see below for more details and a copy of our Communication on Progress as submitted to them.
As we worked on this project, we found a lot of things to make us proud. We also found things we need to do better. We’re inspired to be better and do better now that we know better! The B-Corp focus gives us a set of goals toward being a better corporation for our employees, our community, and the world.
We believe we do well in the following B-Corp focus areas:
- Our healthcare plan and supplementary benefits
- Our professional development and employee review process
- Our community engagement and development, and job growth (helping TCGers grow in their jobs and take on new roles)
- The ethics we show as individuals and as a company
- Diversity and inclusion training for employees, which kicked off in 2018
Some areas that we will be working on in the coming year to be a better and more socially-aware B-Corp are:
- Training and education: we plan to start an intern program in 2019 that will allow us to extend our social and workplace practices beyond our employees
- A job sharing policy to make TCG an even more flexible employer
- A corporate citizenship program that will codify our existing practices and give us a basis for instantiating our beliefs on where we can and do help our community
- Greenhouse gas emissions: we are learning how to monitor them and to use those measurements to control them
We helped create a general public benefit by advancing the idea that a government contracting company can help its employees live better lives with more purpose. To that end, we carefully monitor employees’ hours to ensure they have time for rich family lives and involvement with their communities. In addition, we encourage employees to run charity events with their co-workers, and TCG provides $1,000 per event to the charity.
We also helped our clients help the world:
- The Millennium Challenge Corporation, an independent U.S. Government foreign aid agency that provides financial assistance to countries to promote their economic growth, reduce poverty, and strengthen their social service institutions, collects and analyzes data to determine whether a country has the right values for advancement: good governance, economic freedom, and investment in its own citizens. This assessment determines which countries will receive aid. TCG has supported the Millennium Challenge Corporation by developing modern, efficient, and stable tools to collect, aggregate, analyze, and produce scorecards on data. The tools let MCC staff make fact-based decisions on aid. Leaders of many of the countries use the scorecards to help pinpoint where they should make improvements in their policies and governance. The increased process automation provides MCC with the metrics they need to manage their grants, leading to MCC being named the most transparent government aid agency in the United States and the second-most transparent aid agency in the world.
- STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education is important to TCG. This past year we have focused our efforts on supporting STEM education for local girls and minorities. The first major activity was creating Makey Makey activity books for DC-area students. TCGers used Makey Makeys, laptops, and general household items to invent games that can be played in novel ways. The instructions for how to make the inventions were turned into a book of activities and donated to Let’s Go Boys and Girls, an organization that works with schools in the Washington, DC area to deliver STEM education to underserved communities. The students can use the activity books in the classroom or at home. Additionally, a group of TCGers has been helping a local organization, Capitol City Robotics, build its website. The nonprofit organization manages Lego and VEX IQ competitions for underrepresented and underprivileged youth in D.C. This engaging approach to STEM education through robotics engineering and computer science activities will inspire future generations to pursue STEM careers. Other activities include volunteering and making financial donations to organizations focused on STEM education for local children.
- The U.S. International Trade Commission protects U.S. intellectual property from patent infringement, prevents foreign manufactures from dumping inferior goods in the U.S. market, aids administrative law judges in making decisions on cases brought before USITC, and provides economists with analysis and research on global trade matters. Its public search tools are used by businesses and the general public to obtain information on all goods and services imported and exported by the U.S. to nearly every country in the world. Businesses make international investment decisions based on data that USITC provides. ITC also maintains and publishes the Harmonized Tariff Schedule, the definitive source for all tariff data in the U.S. Since 2017 TCG has operated, maintained, and enhanced these enormous data systems and tools. We have helped the agency upgrade legacy software, communicate more effectively with domestic and international stakeholders, and improve the security of the data they collect.
- MAX.gov helps avoid duplicative investment, and streamlines and accelerates collaboration among government users and officials. Often, it creates efficiencies through unanticipated consequences. For example, MAX Survey was intended to support government-run surveys. However, we were delighted to learn that the Navy Bureau of Medicine (BUMED) is now using MAX Survey to conduct daily safety and supply checks on US Naval Hospital crash carts via mobile devices. By designing solutions that are extensible, accessible, and secure, TCG is helping MAX.gov create incredible efficiencies and savings across government.
- We worked with numerous other charities, including the Boys & Girls Clubs, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Thrive DC, and Generosity Feeds.
We had some trouble finding good STEM programs. Most schools seem to have sufficient short-term aid, and we couldn’t find a way to work with them except by signing up to help every week or every month. Since we couldn’t guarantee that level of participation, we were stymied for a few months. Fortunately we recently realized we could participate and contribute to science fairs, so we should be back on track early in the new calendar year.
TCGers should watch our intranet, TCG Central, for more information on our B Corporation certification and information on how they can participate in our efforts to improve the world.
How TCG Follows the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact
TCG’s Communication on Progress as submitted to the United Nations Global Compact:
Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights.
TCG makes positive contributions towards the protection and fulfillment of human rights through our philanthropy, and public policy engagement. Philanthropy has included donations of time and money to science, technology, engineering, and math education in public schools. Public policy engagement includes testimony before local municipal governments and in the halls of Congress supporting family leave.
Make sure that they are not complicit in human right abuses.
TCG does not engage in human rights abuses; all those who work for TCG do so under the United States’ labor laws.
Business should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.
TCG does not in any way limit or prohibit association or the right to collective bargaining.
The elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour.
TCG pays all employees fair wages based on local standards for specific jobs; no employee is allowed to work without pay, according to the Employee Handbook.
The effective abolition of child labour.
TCG does not hire children.
The elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
TCG’s Equal Employment Opportunity Policy says:
It is our policy not to discriminate against, or to tolerate discrimination against, any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, marital or veteran status, status of a qualified individual with a disability, or any other category covered by applicable law.
Business should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges.
TCG does not produce or sell any products that contain potential environmental risks. Additionally, we ensure we make sure our purchases make sense for the environment.
Undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility.
TCG works to ensure that its activities do not do harm to the environment. For instance, more than half the company telecommutes, thus keeping automobile exhaust from fouling the air. We also reward staff members for living within walking distance of their workplaces, and for walking there instead of driving or using public transportation. To further keep cars off the road in cases where employees live too far from work to walk, we underwrite bicycle commuting and public transportation, and explicitly do not pay for employee parking or commuting in a personal car.
Encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.
TCG re-uses code whenever possible, communicates in re-usable bits rather than paper, and encourages its clients to use TCG-created shared services rather than build their own.
Business should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.
TCG employees are not allowed to engage in bribery or in the appearance of bribery; they may not do favors for or buy even cups of coffee for those who are in a position to hire the company, or to influence those who do the hiring. Conflicts of interest must be reported, according to the Employee Handbook.