KMC 2020: A Retrospective
Published on 12/31/2020 by KMC Solutions
The country and its economy could not have possibly predicted the massive impact the pandemic would have during its early onset in January. The first few months of lockdown saw businesses struggling to stay afloat with the sudden halt to all economic and consumer activity. Business closures and rising unemployment rates were inevitable for some in hard hit industries, while most office operations have transitioned to working from home.
With businesses seeing a major digital transformation this year while in the process of quickly adapting, KMC also tried to stay ahead of the curve during this learning experience. Staying true to the company’s main mission in assisting business growth and providing convenience, which comes in aptly at a time where most are facing challenges they don’t normally encounter. The pandemic has brought on many uncertainties that have pushed the boundaries of KMC, with its business resiliency being tested. But with economic difficulties on the rise, this has given the company some wisdom on how to deal with this and even has other companies turning to them for assistance in their business operations.
During the pandemic, they have expanded their business offerings to further help new and existing clients adjust to the sudden changes and have continued to provide flexible work solutions to both their clients’ and their own staff. KMC has remained authentic to its brand of giving ease and flexibility to businesses looking to grow in the Philippines, celebrating over 10 years in providing forward-thinking spaces and high-performing teams. Despite this unprecedented year, KMC Solutions still decided to celebrate its 10th anniversary through small victories and its continued business perseverance.
When asked of KMC’s leaders of what they consider to be the company’s small wins despite the hardship experienced by all businesses this year,
Alex Gomez, the VP for People and Culture, says it was first important to know how they can support their employees during this time of uncertainty.
“This is a huge task that HR teams faced globally. This pandemic also challenged management to ensure that the business is kept afloat for everyone.
With more frequent updates, everyone in KMC took on their parts to ensure we consider the welfare of the people on making the work from home set up successful while making sure no unnecessary expenses are incurred for longevity. Thus, the provision of subsidies and incentives for employees, (i.e. internet subsidy, working on site incentives and transportation support.)”
This is what he considers to be a big win for the company, being able to continue supporting the people behind it.
On the other hand, Thomas Cragg, the VP for Sales, was still able to launch several projects in his department even with the many restrictions the standard health protocols posed. He considered this to be very fortunate circumstances and a success for the company despite all the workarounds.
- They were able to launch KMC’s newest flexible workspace facility in the Podium West Tower, especially with all the challenges in terms of fit out and construction halt caused by COVID.
- Launched COVID business solutions such as Hub, Home, HQ and CASA – innovative products allowing flexibility to our members to work from anywhere, whether at home or near home whilst having access to your Headquarters if required.
- Creating great partnerships with bedspace providers and SWAT mobility solutions to further support our teams given the issues with public transportation.
KMC’s director and co-founder, Gregory Kittelson believes that being able to still provide all of the company’s services and even create new innovative solutions to fit the new virtual setup of clients was a win in itself. Sharing the same sentiment as Kittelson, KMC’s other co-founder and CEO, Michael McCullough thinks that getting their office operations streamlined even with the chaos that came with it during the pandemic was a major undertaking and achievement. All of this possible through the clear vision of the company’s leaders and the collaborative effort of everyone’s team, contributing to the culture of KMC’s business resiliency.
However, the constant growth and resilience of the company wasn’t without challenges along the way. Coupled with the pressure to deliver results while also lead a team remotely, the sudden transition to a new work setup was anything but a breeze.
Thomas Cragg says a personal struggle for him was trying to keep morale high within his team, “As much as everyone wants to show compassion, it is always heartbreaking to push contracts back and give concessions on booked or closed revenue. Add to this the lack of physical contact, it has become twice as time consuming to keep regular contact with the team.”
With the work from home setup, Cragg notices that people have become a little too robotic or mechanical in their approach to work – weekly meetings are less conversational and become more reports-based, which in turn leads knowledge transfer to be a consistent uphill battle. As a leader, Cragg has ensured that everyone still keeps in touch as human beings. Checking in on how the people in his team are doing and increasing daily touchpoints to also talk about things outside of work, which has added a more human aspect to their daily routines.
For Alex Gomez, one clear challenge was communication, finding that it is difficult to solidify a clear direction for his team at HR as this requires motivation and determination – things that have become a bit harder to muster up during this unpredictable year.
“The vision has to be clear among leaders and how to communicate this in a timely and careful manner were essential to relieve everyone of possible difficulties doing the work from home set up.”
With this in mind, his team was able to launch two virtual platforms and launch major communication channels online to help keep everyone in the company engaged. Here, employees can find daily company news and updates, announcements on developmental opportunities for upskilling, ongoing engagement activities and real-time conversations about topics outside of work.
Nevertheless, both of KMC’s founders, Kittelson and McCullough, have found that during this time, collaboration was one of the things that was heavily impacted. Noting that working from home is not the same as working in a professional environment, Kittelson thinks that the total amount of maximized productivity isn’t the same. Although it didn’t necessarily mean working from home wasn’t overall successful for them, it just meant that employees weren’t getting the optimal productivity they would in the office because of distractions and connectivity issues at home.
McCullough, on the other hand, noticed that the creation and exchanging of ideas was less natural virtually than it would be in an in-person environment. Those spontaneous conversations and sudden bursts of inspiration are now harder to come by in scheduled conference calls and daily zoom meetings.
He admits that, “This is something we're still struggling with but happy to have some teams gradually come back in the office to discuss strategies again.”
2020: A Year of Learning
Despite the hardships this year has raised for all businesses, it was also a year of learning, reflection, and realizations, truly testing the limits of organizations and their ability to cope. Those in KMC’s executive committee have been incredibly proud of how their teams have stepped up to proactively take on the tasks and roles to support the business and their clients through the company’s most challenging year to date. This cooperative effort has set KMC up beautifully for another exciting decade for them to look forward to.
The priority for next year is to ensure everybody is ready to embrace and adapt to the new normal. KMC’s founders, Kittelson and McCullough, echo this sentiment even more with them saying that this year’s biggest learning was to always be prepared at a moment’s notice. It is not about waiting for the situation to turn in your favor but rather how one will respond to it that truly matters in the long run of creating innovative solutions.