As the world closely monitors and tracks the spread and impact of the new corona virus, business leaders are making decisions about how to mitigate the risk and keep everyone safe and healthy. In the government contracting community, executives are enacting procedures and policies to protect employees, customers and partners while continuing to provide government agencies with the services, solutions and mission-critical support they need.
In this series, WashingtonExec will highlight these leaders and how they are tackling this crisis, in an effort to share best practices in industry and shed light on the virus’ impact on the nation.
Kevin Wideman, CEO, Koniag Government Services
Kevin Wideman is CEO of Koniag Government Services, where he leverages 30 years of experience in areas of strategic planning, IT, program management and development, and systems engineering to manage a portfolio of several companies under the Koniag Government Services umbrella.
And Koniag, an Alaska Native Corporation, provides enterprise solutions, professional services and operations management to federal agencies, so WashingtonExec asked Wideman just how the government services branch is adapting during the COVID-19 crisis.
What innovative workplace policies/practices has your company embraced to minimize the impact of COVID-19?
At KGS, the health and wellbeing of our employees is our top priority and we are actively following precautionary measures and the most accurate, up-to-date information surrounding COVID-19 as laid out by the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.
We have moved toward telecommuting wherever possible and we are working with our customers to establish remote working environments for our teams. To ensure unified messaging and maximum communication impact, we have established a KGS Pandemic Response Plan that synchronizes the leadership team so that employees get the information they need; and ensures we are leveraging all available resources to provide continuity of operations for all of our customers. With so much of our staff now working remotely, proper communication during this time is critical.
We have also provided guidance to our leadership to ensure that our employees are given all protections afforded to them by the new legislative laws. Finally, we are enhancing our leave borrowing and leave donor programs.
What has your company done to keep morale up internally for employees?
We have continued with our performance management programs by moving forward with our merit increases. This can be somewhat risky as the true economic impacts have yet to be determined, however, we are committed to continued investment in our employees.
We are also continuing with our plans to enhance our parental and military leave policies and as well as our 401(K) plan. On the fun side, we have implemented virtual/Skype workout sessions called GetFit, held at the end of the business day on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I lead most of the classes and since most public gyms are closed, our primary objective is to assist our employees with stress-management, during these unprecedented times, by getting in a good workout.
We are also moving ahead with our company wide Innovation Spike program, a fun and friendly competition (with awards and cash prizes) for our employees to come up with innovative ideas that help support our customers or company. Opportunities for innovation can come from crisis and this is a great way to give people an opportunity to be creative and collaborate even at social distance, plus stay connected with the company while working from home.
How has the policy for travel or attending large conferences changed?
We have suspended all travel for the immediate future. Most, if not all, of the conferences that we would have been attending have been postponed. We are attending the remaining conferences and webinars virtually as we all adjust to the new normal. We have also postponed KGS large gatherings, such as our PM Training and Leadership programs until such time where it is safe for everyone to attend.