KRA’s Leadership Edge (LE) provides training and development workshops for current and emerging program-management staff to enhance their knowledge, skills, and abilities in myriad areas and to develop Capstone Projects, which are shared with KRA programs across the country.
William McIntyre, Program Director and member of LE 2021, stated, “Under normal circumstances, LE classes convene in September; December; March; and June, the month for Graduation and Capstone Project presentations.
However, for our LE Class that began in September 2019, followed by a second session in December, KRA cancelled the March 2020 session, focusing its logistical and technical resources solely on successfully transitioning program staff to work-from-home [WFH] due to locally mandated COVID-19 restrictions that closed our offices.
When we reconvened in October 2020, we discussed how COVID-19 was having a major effect on program staff, i.e. WFH challenges that can induce stress and anxiety. Therefore, we decided employee-wellbeing should our Capstone focus”.
At the January 2021 Graduation, Jimmy Watkins, Center Manager and Capstone Project leader; McIntyre; Renee Brooks and Brittany Switzer, Program Managers; and Michael Smith, Program Manager (retired) presented Employee Wellness in a Pandemic Reality, to a virtual audience of KRA Officers, Executive- and Senior-Management staff, and former LE Class graduates.
Watkins stated, “Many employees report heightened levels of anxiety and stress as the pandemic drags on, and we, as leaders, must provide as many options and resources as possible to improve our employees’ wellness.
A few strategies include showing empathy and understanding; increasing frequency of communications among and between staff through video-conferences, e-mail, and phone check-ins; promoting activities that create a work/life balance; encouraging utilization of both mental-and physical-health resources; and creating one-on-one and/or group support teams.”
An Employee Wellness Project Team, led by Maxine Suka, Director of Workforce Operations, is conducting further research and developing initiatives relevant to current and post-pandemic environments.