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Respecting, Including, and Empowering Our Employees Through Ethical Business Practices

March 23, 2021

Stephanie and Day of Caring

Over the past twenty years, I’ve been deeply involved in ethics and integrity efforts at Paychex, a vital part of our commitment to leadership in corporate social responsibility. So, like all of our incredible employees, I am proud of the recognition Paychex recently received as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for 2021.

Ethisphere has awarded Paychex the designation thirteen times in all, and 2021 marks ten years of consecutive recognition. The honor is a source of immense pride for our company. It is the realization of our longstanding commitment to doing business the right way – by acting with integrity in all that we do and being an active and responsible corporate citizen. That tone was set at the top many years ago by our founder and chairman Tom Golisano and has continued through the strong leadership of president and CEO Marty Mucci.

As a woman in leadership, I know firsthand how important it is to be part of an organization where everyone feels respected, included, and empowered.

In my role as the Chief Legal & Ethics Officer, I’ve helped focus our efforts around corporate social responsibility (CSR), including not only ethical business practices, but also areas like diversity, equity, and inclusion, employee wellness, environmental sustainability, and corporate philanthropy. Study after study shows that companies that do well in these areas also perform better financially, so it’s a win-win for our employees and our stakeholders when we get this right.

Several years ago, it became clear that we needed to create a more formalized CSR program. I worked with partners in HR, internal audit, communications, and facilities to create a cross-functional CSR Steering Committee to help us continue to drive a culture centered around ethical business practices. We’re focused on investing in three key areas:

1. Building a culture with an authentic commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

At Paychex, we’re committed to building a strong culture of inclusion, belonging, and opportunity for all employees. And like many businesses, we’re pushing ourselves to further our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts.. We’ve taken steps such as conducting a company-wide training program on DEI and inviting all employees to participate in a Racial Equity Challenge to raise awareness on the impact systemic racism in our communities. These are just two examples, there are countless others. While we’re proud of the significant strides we’ve made over the past several years, we know there’s more to do.

2. Attracting and retaining employees who live the company values of integrity and innovation.

Every day, I see our employees living our values of integrity, service, innovation, partnership, accountability, and respect. Integrity and innovation are especially vital with the changes the working world has experienced over the past year. I’ve personally seen unprecedented levels of innovation and collaboration in Paychex’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. From the host of resources available to all businesses through our COVID-19 Help Center to our the PPP Estimator and Forgiveness Tool, Paychex employees have partnered across the company to give our clients the timely and critical help they need to survive.

3. Advancing environmental stewardship for sustainability and climate-related issues.

Doing business the right way must include a focus on climate and sustainability. Paychex has always had terrific grassroots efforts by passionate employees in things like paper reduction or recycling. However, we didn’t have a corporate focus on sustainability until a couple of years ago when the CSR Committee put sustainability in our charter. Today, in addition to measuring our carbon footprint, we’re advancing our sustainability program by creating an environmental management system, which helps us to track data, like energy usage, across the company.

The next step will be to set goals for reducing our impact. We are already working on that through things like installing geothermal heating and cooling in our P@RC facility. This is an exciting area, and one our stakeholders are absolutely focused on because it’s essential that everyone does their part to protect our environment.

Like our recognition in ethics, these efforts would be nothing without our people. I believe strongly in the power of living our values, and I know that the entire Paychex community does as well. When we do that, we not only build a stronger Paychex, we build stronger communities where our employees and clients can live and thrive.

Stephanie Schaeffer

Stephanie Schaeffer

Stephanie Schaeffer is the Chief Legal & Ethics Officer at Paychex and serves as its corporate secretary. She’s deeply committed to ensuring Paychex does business the right way – by acting with integrity and being a responsible corporate citizen. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Notre Dame. Connect with Stephanie on LinkedIn.