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It comes as no surprise that 2020 was a challenging year for everyone, on some level. Like so many, our organization felt the effects of COVID-19 and everything that followed beginning in March. We were fortunate to start the year on a high note by celebrating new client partnerships, growing existing client projects, and launching numerous workforce engagement initiatives. As soon as the U.S. shutdown occurred, K&A Engineering acted fast and chose to stay true to our core value, that employees come first.
As an employee-first organization, employees have to come first.
A key theme for K&A Engineering in 2020was putting our workforce first - preserving the incredible team we had and believing in them. Because of this, we were able to survive 2020 and come out even stronger than when we went into the year. We were fortunate that we were able to keep our workforce intact with no layoffs. Employees who were typically on-site with clients were suddenly sent home, and some clients pulled back their contracts. For these employees, we pivoted on their strengths and worked with them on strategic internal initiatives.
Throughout 2020, K&A demonstrated its commitment to being an employees-first organization through program and policy enhancements. In March we implemented K&A University, a multi-modal professional development program based on topics of interest to our employees. In April we transformed our benefit programs based on employee feedback and suggestions, including adding community PTO to coincide with K&A Day in October. Throughout the year we kept open communication between employees and executives. After hearing there was an employee interest in improving public speaking and presentation skills, our team established a company Toast masters program. As we closed out the year in December, we rolled out increased Paid Time Off (PTO), the acceleration of PTO accruals, a reward and recognition program, strengthened our immigration-friendly policies, and enriched our tuition reimbursement, professional certification and continuing education programs.
“How are you?”...can go a long way.
As soon as the U.S. shutdown occurred, we called every employee and asked them one question: “How are you and your family doing?” We learned a lot during those conversations, and our only goal with those calls was to let our employees know that we genuinely care about them and their wellbeing. This wasn't a tick-box exercise; it was a lesson in the power of human connection and caring about the people you work alongside through out the week. From these conversations, we learned that our workforce was most interested in ongoing and open communication every week from the top-down. By employee request, we launched K&A - Q&A, a weekly company-wide update with our CEO, Purna Kharel, where he would share any news or updates and then open it up for a transparent Q&A session where employees could ask anything that was of concern or on their minds.
A new initiative this year, K&A Day, is a celebration of the anniversary of K&A’s inception. The day is commemorated on October 21 and features two key elements: 1) celebrating the achievements of K&A employees and 2) giving back to the local communities in which we do business. This year’s theme of K&A Day was “Light the Way,” so all employees received a Quasar Multi-Function Lantern. Additionally, we held a t-shirt design contest among employees who wanted to participate and voted a winner. Every employee received a t-shirt to commemorate the day.
We celebrated K&A Day as a family with a global meeting of the workforce where each team shared highlights from the year and how they are celebrating K&A Day. Community Service is also a significant aspect of K&A Day, and because of this, we provided up to four hours of community PTO for employees on K&A Day to make a difference where we live and work. The Community Service takes on many forms as we encourage employees to "think globally, act locally."
K&A by the numbers.
K&A emerged stronger at the end of 2020 than when the year started, which rings true for the numbers as well. We are proud to share that our revenue nearly doubled in 2020, and our profitability grew by thirty-three percent. We expanded our workforce by 86 percent, with a 4.75 %voluntary turnover rate. We are also proud to be an organization that truly lives and breathes diversity, equity, and inclusion(DEI), with a staff that is 33% gender diverse and 44% racially diverse. We purposefully do not have a DEI strategy; as a diverse workforce, we believe this is just who we are and a key reason for our growth. In 2021, we look forward to celebrating Gender Pay Equity day by analyzing our compensation and reaffirming our commitment to equal pay in a meritocracy.
We are confident that if we can emerge stronger at the end of a year like 2020, our future remains bright, especially for 2021. This year we have plans to grow by 150 percent and have already begun our workforce expansion strategy of hiring 200 new employees by the end of 2021. We are committed to continuing to help our talent thrive and grow, provide top-tier solutions to our clients and evolve our service offerings which will allow K&A Engineering to be a total solutions provider to the power industry.