Aiming to Give Back, Every Day

Work Culture

At Future State we hope to give thanks, and give back, throughout the year through our progressive employee practices and community-engagement programs.

BY SHANNON ADKINS

Future State volunteers at a Habitat for Humanity event.

As a certified Benefit Corporation that’s women- and employee-owned, Future State is committed to the 21st-century principles of the triple bottom line: Social impact, environmental impact and financial impact. This year we won the 2017 Beyond the Check Award, presented by Workday, through the San Francisco Business Times Corporate Philanthropy Awards & Summit for our work with the Oakland nonprofit Opportunity Junction. Yet, while we will always have a corporate giving budget, as a smaller enterprise we know our impact through financial giving can only go so far toward solving the social challenges we face.

We consider these additional elements fundamental to our commitment and to demonstrating our values in action, beyond writing checks to local non-profits—our employer practices and community engagement.

Employer Practices

Part of our corporate values are to treat people well, and a critical element to our success is our ability to curate, empower and retain world-class talent. For these reasons, we aim to go above and beyond top-level standards for valuing and prioritizing the worker experience.

In 2016 and 2017, B Lab recognized Future State as a Best for Workers honoree based on our scores on the B Impact Assessment. As a 100 percent ESOP, we share the financial rewards of our success across our employees. We offer unlimited PTO, paid maternity/paternity leave, and a longstanding commitment to flexible work environments and schedules.

We also support our team members in their commitments to the community, including serving on Boards of Directors for organizations making a difference, including Healthcare Business Women’s Alliance (HBA)WatermarkGlobal Women’s Leadership NetworkVets in TechStanford Professional Women and Association of Change Management Professionals. We support team members in civic engagement, including running for office, serving in public office, and organizing and marching for causes that matter to them.

We also strive to hire differently—prioritizing commitment, empathy and drive over Ivy League degrees. Our C-Suite leaders are women, and our firm is 87% woman-owned. The extraordinary leaders across our organization include veterans, LGBTQ leaders, and people of all races, religions and economic and educational backgrounds. Our internship program seeks high-potential team members with diverse backgrounds from Oakland and the local area. We have successfully transitioned five interns to full time employment in our organization.

And just this year, in partnership with Opportunity Junction, we piloted an eLearning development-training program directed to graduates of job-training programs. Our pilot participant is now employed full time by Future State. We hope this strategy will allow us to provide above living wage opportunities to local residents and serve as an effective alternative to offshoring these production activities to low-cost resources in other parts of the world.

Community Engagement

We provide our management consulting services to local nonprofits (OnLok, Trust for Public Lands) and social enterprises (Help Full, Smash Solar) at a reduced fee, and at times, pro-bono. The in-kind value of these consulting hours exceeded $50,000 in 2016 alone.

Since 2015, we have actively and consistently donated our beautiful office space in Uptown Oakland for events and board meetings for numerous non-profit organizations. With the rising costs of office space in Oakland, our ability to curate our space and make it available to organizations driving change in our community is a key component of how we work to give back in ways that are achievable for our organization, and go beyond the check. Throughout 2017, we’ve shared use of our office space with the Dellums Institute, a nonprofit working on efforts to create an East Oakland Cultural Preservation Zone and bridging the equity gap for the East Bay’s most vulnerable populations.

Since 2016, we’ve also offered a paid volunteer time program and quarterly volunteer events through the Future State Gives Back program. All full-time employees are eligible for 20 hours of paid volunteer time. We have brought ours team together to work in the local community with Project Homeless Connect in San Francisco, The Alameda County Food Bank, raising funds for The Longest Day with the Alzheimer’s Association, Cleaning Lake Merritt, providing interview prep and coaching for graduates of Opportunity Junction, and refurbishing homes with Habitat for Humanity in Silicon Valley.

Here in the world of Silicon Valley, we may be small fish in a big pond, but our impact is making ripples, and we will not stop.