Phil G. Busey, Sr.
Founder & CEO, DRG and the Busey Group of Companies
In the uncertainty of a healthcare, economic and social crisis it is imperative as employees, business owners,executives,professional’s, citizen’s, neighbors and Rotarians we are learning together to navigate rough waters.
The issues are complex and themes are emerging that seem universal. Questions are asked ; “How do you and your business maintain operations in this environment?”, “How do you keep the wheels from falling off? “Are you virtual?”, “How do you maintain team culture?” How do you support your people ?” The answers to these and a myriad of other questions are greatly impacted by the business or industry a company is in.
For those in retail, restaurants, small business or services their businesses and lives have been turned upside down. Operating capital shortfalls and riding out months on PPP loans. Closures required to ensure
safety have forced some out of business. For others it is a matter of coping while surviving market interruptions and economic impacts reducing revenue and jobs. In any event the situation is dire and dramatically changing the normal we knew. To overcome this crisis, we must work together.
The first issue was maintaining work productivity and performance with safety protocols and employees at home working virtually. Zoom became a well know application. For doctors and healthcare providers not only the long and stressful days of being on the front lines but also, remote patient appointments.
Now, the critical challenge is the well- being of employees their families and connection to corporate cultures built upon relationships and personal interaction. This is a significant and major focus. While it has been shown productivity in a virtual workplace can be sustained the much larger problem is the emotional, relational, health and financial wellbeing of employees. Many companies that went virtual are choosing to remain virtual- permanently.
We are grateful at DRG our growth has continued. But that is due to the industry we are in. We are conscious every day of our neighbors and friends in different industries where it is a crisis just to stay open. As a mission critical defense and aerospace company when COVID hit hard in March we, like so many, had no idea what the horizon was for continued operations. Were DoD contracts we were performing going to be put on hold? Would we have to furlough hundreds of employees? Was funding going to be interrupted?
Thankfully, for us our directive guidance to us and many contractors from the Secretary of Defense, was as a mission critical company, we are essential and instructed to sustain operations as close to normal as possible. We were prepared to operate virtual. Our 100+ sites around the globe were to remain in service. For over three months our corporate employees in OKC performed their work remotely and virtual.
However, the major hurdle became connectivity to each other as a team while isolated. We met it head on with interactive personal stories, Zoom meetings and constant communication.We learned all our industry partners were trying to address this same issue.
Today, we have employees back in office under strict COVID protocols. Masks are required, sanitation procedures, temp checks, social distancing. However, vigilance is needed everyday. This is our new normal. Some employees are virtual due their children under different school attendance and learning guidance. Some because someone has been exposed to COVID so testing is required before return to the office. Anyone traveling out of state must quarantine until tested negative.
All of us are impacted by this crisis. Things are uncertain and will remain so. Many people need help. The pandemic has changed us and how we do business. Every CEO of the companies we serve are deeply worried about the well -being of their employees. We all are sharing ideas about how to cope. Some have “Wingmen” so each employee has another person checking on them. Zoom conferences to link up for social interaction. Positive and informative messaging. Team building exercises. Health checks.
The challenge is ongoing with time. It is ensuring the relationships our employees have to each other and customers remain. Keeping morale up and diligently supporting our people and community through this unprecedented crisis. It is a leadership tenant to put our employees and families first. We are honored to serve the finest military in the world. When in harms way our men and women in service have one focus beyond accomplishing their mission. Regardless of ethnicity, gender or politics they have each other’s back. This is a lesson for all of us in this uncertain time.
At DRG our corporate investment is in empathetic, supportive and communicative leadership. Reassuring each other we are all in this together. Emphasizing team. Our
leadership message,” regardless we have your backs”.
As Rotarians the service we consider part of who we are and support we can provide to those in need or tough circumstances is more critical than before. Together we can get through this. Differences don’t matter now. All of us are one in this -holding each other up without question. As Rotarians to the communityour message can be,” We have your backs”.