Epsten Group: Proud to be First Professional Services Firm to Earn JUST 2.0 Social Justice Label in Southeast

Epsten Group has long been committed to diversity, equity and inclusion and we have embraced the Social Justice Evaluation System, known as Just, to assess our culture and our processes. This is a mission we believe in as the first JUST labeled professional services company in the Southeast US.  We understand it is not only the physical environment that fosters wellbeing – it is how we treat one another every day and how we conduct business that have significant impact on our culture. We are fully invested in honoring a healthy culture internally and we are making certain to purposefully demonstrate this philosophy in our work environment. With the Just system, we are taking a close look at how we engage with our employees, our clients, and the community with respect to DE&I, Employee Health and Benefits, Stewardship, and Purchasing & Supply Chain.

It should be no surprise then, that we have once again turned to the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) to measure ourselves against the Just 2.0 criteria. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Just is a platform used to disclose in a fully transparent and accessible framework how we perform with respect to financial, social, gender, and community standards. Just 2.0 give us the opportunity to measure ourselves against specific criteria and refine our policies and systems to achieve continuous improvement. We use this valuable tool to inform how we refine our HR procedures, practices, and programs. Quantifying these initiatives guides our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and makes certain these are not just popular buzzwords, but real goals achieved through implementable actions.

Just builds trust. Because this robust platform captures data in key performance areas that are publicly shared in a truly transparent fashion, every person who works for Epsten Group, and people outside the company who are considering doing business with us or joining us as a new employee, can see exactly where we stand. Our commitment to sharing this information is foundational to creating a trusting, healthy and morale-building culture. We want people to know how we treat our employees, how we engage in our community, and what it is like to work with our company.

What exactly does Just 2.0 measure? The Stewardship category for example, scores how active we are in categories that include, “Local Communities”,” Volunteering,” which each scored a 1 out of 4, and “Animal Welfare,” and “Charitable Giving,” each scoring a 2 out of 4. These are areas where we have ample room to improve. Stewardship also measures “Positive Products + Services,” an area where we fared better, scoring three out of four. Our Score Card also shows we scored a 1 on “Employee Benefits: Family and Medical Leave,” another area we will address. It is important to look at what is behind the numbers, too. For example, we achieved a lower gender neutrality score because our company is two-thirds women! If you are interested in taking a deeper look at our data, we are happy to share the details.

Our 2022 scores on the Just 2.0 platform have inspired us to reevaluate our goals, identify where we believe we can continue to foster improvement, develop actionable steps to enhance our social equity, and invigorate our culture with the goal of uplifting the wellbeing and morale of our employees. Our scores have informed leadership’s focused, holistic approach to improvements in multiple areas including, retirement provisions, stewardship, family leave and more. This is an exciting time, and we believe our intentional drive towards social equity, diversity, and inclusion makes Epsten Group a welcoming company people want to join. The culture we create is one in which our employees can grow, thrive, succeed, and take pride in.

Although equity and inclusion have been elevated to a higher level of importance in our national consciousness during the past two years, Epsten Group has focused on this for quite some time. We have participated in the JUST program for the past five years as one of the first companies in our industry to go through the program. We are not newly engaged in this arena. This is in our DNA. Applying tools to measure performance, improve upon actions, and report progress back to you makes us even better at what we have always been committed to doing: creating a sustainable, equitable, and emotionally and physically healthy environment that cultivates a productive, inspiring, and creative workplace.

About the Author

Bill D'Onofrio

Bill serves as a Principal and the Director of Operations for Epsten Group. Having devoted more than 25 years to a career in architecture, he has worked on numerous government, office, industrial, retail, and interior projects throughout the southeast. This perspective allows him to look at the business through a unique lens to provide meaningful oversight to our projects, mentorship to our expanding employee-base, spearheading strategic growth opportunities, and pinpointing valuable solutions for our clients. He oversees the firm's overall operations, including business development, marketing, accounting, and human resources.

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