Transparency, Communication & Action:
Business Strategies to Survive a Pandemic and Thrive After
In a matter of days, the way in which we conducted business, collaborated as a team, and worked with our clients was forced to change. With the safety of our employees and clients in mind, all of our on-site client projects had to transition to remote work, and our in-office team was suddenly working from home as well. K&A Engineering Consulting, P.C. (K&A) is of course not unique in this, but there were certain strategies and tools we implemented almost immediately that will have long-term positive effects on our organization, ultimately benefiting our client's projects as well. There were three strategies we had already implemented as a company, that became even more critical as we transitioned our team to a remote workforce.
STRATEGY ONE: Companies with an “employees first” approach are more successful.
Our main priority when the shut-down hit was to analyze and prioritize how we could help our employees get through the pandemic. It was important for our organization to understand how our employees were being affected and to know that each member of our workforce was going to experience the pandemic differently - there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach with this.
As each wave of COVID-19 hit, it was critical that our executive team and managers understood they had to "think like an employee." This simply means we had to understand there was going to be uncertainty across many different avenues: personal health, family health, job security, how to manage a team remotely, how to successfully work remotely, and the list goes on. One of the best strategies to ensure you're in sync with your workforce and you're providing the security they need is to be as transparent as possible and keep communication open.
An open line of communication between your executive team and workforce doesn't have to be complicated; it just needs to be authentic and on going. K&A immediately implemented regular one-on-one check-ins between managers and employees, weekly open Q&A sessions with our CEO, and more frequent ‘all hands’ meetings to ensure everyone was on the same page and updated. It's also essential to maintain an open line of communication with employees on a business level, but it's equally important to understand how each employee...as a human being...is doing.
STRATEGY TWO: Keep moving forward.
While there’s always a transition and there can be some bumps when adjusting to working remotely, we understand that it’s critical to not stop, but in fact to keep moving forward. We encouraged our workforce to continue bringing new ideas to the table, to keep promoting people internally, and to keep developing workforce and client programs.
When you can continue moving your business forward during a crisis, you not only emerge as a leader in your industry, but this also gives your team a sense of purpose at work. While it may seem like it would be the opposite, our employee engagement has remained quite high due to open communication between our executives, employees and clients.
STRATEGY THREE: Company culture matters and is a strategic advantage.
If you don't have a strong and positive company culture that everyone is on board with from the start, it's during times like COVID-19 where it can be the demise of an organization. It's also critical to keep in mind that decisions made during a crisis can impact your culture for years to come. The culture at K&A had a strong foundation when the pandemic hit and by acting fast and listening to our employees, we were able to not only maintain that foundation but strengthen it even more.
With our strong culture and commitment to our workforce, we were able to navigate through the changes, assign team members to special projects, and build out additional business lines - all because we stayed true to our values.
Much of this comes down to the fact that at K&A, we trust our employees to do the right thing. We are confident that the culture we've built is one that will make us even stronger on the other side of a crisis, allowing us to deliver top tier projects and results for our clients.