‘We’re all Dynamites’
Government contractor gives workers a sense of belonging
When employees join Dynamis Inc., they gain a new family.
“We’re very supportive of each other,” Dynamis Recruiter Macaya Yao says. “I find that I’m really able to go to anyone in the company and ask for help and they’re willing to jump in and help out with whatever it is.”
This familial vibe, an open-door atmosphere and educational benefits are what makes the Fairfax-based government contractor different, say its employees — who call themselves “Dynamites.”
The company’s founders, CEO John Milam and John Braun, president and chairman of the board, frequent the Fairfax headquarters and offer employees an open-door policy to voice their concerns, questions and ideas, Yao says.
“I feel like you don’t see that in a lot of companies,” Yao says. “You can go up to anyone in upper management and be able to have a conversation and get their input on anything.”
Due to the nature of Dynamis’ work providing management system and incident response software for clients such as the U.S. departments of Defense and Homeland Security, some employees work offsite. Dynamis’ cultural emphasis on continuing education, however, bridges the gap between headquarters employees and offsite employees in Arlington and Washington, D.C.
Each month, Dynamis hosts its “School of Athens,” an after-hours training for all employees covering topics such as leadership, emergency preparedness, investments, understanding a 401(k) plan and even how to book a vacation and get a good deal, says Human Resources Manager Monica Ani-Adjei. These sessions also serve as time for headquarters employees to socialize with offsite workers whom they don’t see as frequently, Administrative Coordinator Jaime Henry says.
Aside from these monthly educational sessions, Dynamis offers an annual stipend of $3,000 to Dynamites to pursue graduate degrees or other trainings and certifications.
An interest in continued education is something Dynamis seeks when hiring new employees, Yao says.
“Dynamites are supposed to be warriors — thinking warriors,” Yao says. “People of action. People with highly developed skills and experience.”
The educational stipend is just one of the benefits offered to employees that makes Dynamis different. The company absorbs 70% of the cost of employee benefits, Ani-Adjei says. Employees are 100% covered for medical, health, dental, long-term and short-term disability insurance, and are also offered up to a 4% contribution match on their 401(k) funds.
Employees receive floating holidays and parental leave, have the option for a flexible spending account to help pay for certain out-of-pocket health care costs and can be reimbursed for commuter costs and even Dynamis-branded apparel.
Managers are also allotted “employee morale funds” — money set aside to encourage managers to spend time with their direct reports for rapport-building activities such as going out to breakfast or happy hours or treating their workers with gift cards. This helps to keep all employees connected, Ani-Adjei says.
The company’s initiatives foster a “work well, play well” mentality, Yao says. As opposed to the colloquial “work hard, play hard” mentality held by many companies, Dynamis focuses more on how employees work together.
Although employees come from varied backgrounds, including intelligence, science, politics, writing, policy and administration, they come together for initiatives such as a recent six-week fitness challenge.
“It makes you feel like you’re a part of something big,” Henry says. “The concept is we’re all Dynamites. You’ll always remember your experience being a Dynamite.”