Lloyd W. Howell, Jr., CFO of Booz Allen, which is one of the world’s largest IT consultancies, was faced with a dilemma of transitioning to remote work and considering 27,000 employees’ needs. Despite the global and economic challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, he remarkably forsook laying off any of the employees.
Forbes’ Senior Contributor, Jeff Thomsom, interviewed with Lloyd Howell to learn more about how he solved this dilemma. He delved into why Howell did not consider laying off employees despite the crisis and the company’s broader approach to talent management.
During a global crisis, companies face problems with layoffs, gains, and losses. Considering that Howell secured employment and benefits for 27,000 employees, he was asked about the cost-containment measures he made to assure business continuity.
“First we would protect the health of our people, their families, and our communities; second, we would continue to support the critical missions of our clients, and third, we would work to ensure the financial and institutional resilience of our firm… When employees and candidates see our commitment and the results of our efforts, it will reinforce their desire to continue to be a part of our work, and the success of the business and our clients.”
Lloyd W. Howell, Jr., CFO of Booz Allen
At times of adversity, people cannot merely look to state, federal, and local governments as a quick fix to the Covid-19 pandemic. Everyone must depend on themselves, their families, friends, colleagues, and social circles.
Employees indeed depend on the organization amidst this crisis. In return, Booz Allen provided support to them. Howell manifested that they are a values-driven firm, and to support their people was core to what they stand for.
According to a survey cited in a news report, “71% of respondents said they would lose trust in a brand forever if they believed it was putting profit over people.” Companies that treat their employees as precious gems reflect the right brand image.
The interviewer asked if Booz Allen is reevaluating investment decisions for facilities and telework technologies, staff management, and customer service. As a response, Howell explained that they are “in a relatively strong position from a technology standpoint when the move to telework began.”
A percentage of the employees work from home in a skeletal work setup, while the others go to the office. They provided network and collaboration tools for remote work. The company also made sure to develop extensive safety protocols for those required to go to the office.