“Putting People First” Makes Booz Allen San Diego a Top Workplace

Nov 16, 2020 8:25 AM ET
The Booz Allen San Diego office won 2nd place overall in the San Diego Union-Tribune's 2020 Top Workplaces, large company category, in addition to receiving the Spotlight Award for Innovation

San Diego is a city that prizes inclusivity and friendliness at work. According to a survey by research firm Energage, employees are 3% more likely to describe their company culture as inclusive compared to the national benchmark, and 4.9% more likely to describe it as friendly.

Even in a region known for warmth and friendliness, Booz Allen and its people-first culture stand out. The San Diego Union-Tribune has named the firm’s regional office among its Top Workplaces for the third straight year in a row.

Ranked second overall in the large company category (500-plus employees), Booz Allen also received for the second time the Spotlight Award for Innovation for encouraging new ideas within the firm.

The Top Workplaces award has since 2013 celebrated companies’ ability to connect with employees, amplify their voices, and cultivate a high-performance culture for them to succeed. After a company is nominated for consideration, its employees take part in a confidential 24-question survey administered by research firm Energage.

“Receiving this award, driven by employee feedback, means a great deal during such a challenging year,” said Booz Allen Senior Vice President Jennie Brooks. Brooks leads the firm’s San Diego operations—which, with over 1,300 employees across two office locations, is Booz Allen’s largest footprint outside of the Washington, D.C. metro region, including the firm’s global headquarters in McLean, VA.

Stepping up during a challenging year

“People are at the heart of our business,” said Brooks. “I’m proud that our firm has prioritized supporting our employees and the communities they live in during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Recent support initiatives amidst COVID-19—for employees and the San Diego community—have included:

  • $50,000 donation to Feeding San Diego, the local chapter of Feeding America, which resulted in 200,000 meals served locally
  • $10,000 donation to San Diego-based nonprofit Support the Enlisted Project (STEP) to provide financial counseling and basic necessities to Southern California service members and veterans struggling due to COVID-19
  • $10,000 donation to the San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund, administered by the San Diego Foundation
  • Partnerships with organizations including Bright Horizons and World at Home to facilitate access to learning pods, tutoring and childcare services for employee dependents and children
  • New and expanded policies for leave, flexible work schedules, and paid time off, as part of Booz Allen’s expanded employee benefits program
  • Weekly emails, Yammer posts, and interest group activities to encourage sharing, fun, and personal connections—done virtually, bringing together members of the San Diego office regularly
  • Additional local volunteer activities—with ongoing support planned

Listening, learning, and empowering employees’ “full selves” 

“I think it’s clear that 2020 hasn’t been for spectators. It’s been a real call for change and action,” Brooks said in a recent interview with the University of San Diego Rady School of Management on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“This work has been an integral part of our company and our culture for some time,” Brooks told the online audience. “It’s a beautiful combination of grassroots activity by our teams and the things that they’re passionate about, along with Booz Allen’s firmwide formal agenda.” 

Over the past year, Booz Allen San Diego employees joined forces to support learning initiatives in the community and, with the firm’s African American Network, coordinated “Let Us be Heard” listening sessions to discuss race and social justice topics.

“In times of great change, it is more important than ever to maintain a connection among employees,” said Eric Rubino, Energage CEO. “When you give your employees a voice, you come together to navigate challenges and shape your path forward based on real-time insights into what works best for your organization.”

To do this, the San Diego office set up a range of integrated communications and resources, including Slack channels, internal sites and social platforms, leadership emails, and virtual town halls. The goal: enable people “to share and ask questions, so that they can bring their full selves to work each day,” Brooks said.

A longstanding commitment to the San Diego community

Booz Allen has had offices in San Diego for nearly 25 years, supporting clients like the Navy—which Booz Allen as a firm has supported since WWII. In this time, the San Diego office has become a part of the greater community, supporting initiatives from STEP to empower military families, to STEM, helping Girl Scouts earn their cyber badges.

In the San Diego office, more than a dozen employee working groups coordinate regular community-building events and volunteer activities, organizing meals for women’s shelters, collecting masks for local hospitals, and beyond.

This summer, the office worked with the Booz Allen San Diego Armed Services Network to support STEP in its relief efforts for those impacted by the fire at the USS Bonhomme Richard at Naval Base San Diego. And, just last month, the San Diego Latin American Network sponsored the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineer’s Virtual National Convention, recruiting and supporting STEM students and professionals during a time of massive job losses.

“We’re so proud of the community Booz Allen has built in San Diego and the impact we have made through our longstanding commitment to the region,” said Brooks. “Being named a Top Workplace demonstrates that these efforts matter—and I’d like to thank my colleagues who bring their whole selves to Booz Allen each and every day.”

Learn more about careers at Booz Allen San Diego.