Transitioning to the “New Normal” and Creating Safe Workspaces for Our Employees
The pandemic required all our teams to pivot quickly and embrace new ways of getting the job done. While it has been necessary to make staff adjustments to match production output with customer demand, Textron and its businesses aim to preserve jobs for the long term as much as possible while prioritizing the health and safety of our workforce.
Early in the pandemic, we created an online COVID-19 Employee Information Center for our employees which is displayed prominently on our global intranet. This site gathers a variety of information to help our employees understand and take precautions against the novel coronavirus with links to government disease control and prevention agencies.
From this resource, employees can also find testing locations, learn about the latest travel advisories and travel restrictions, find information about setting up offsite work arrangements and best practices to manage people, team culture and productivity while working remotely.
Prioritizing Employee Health and Safety
At the start of the pandemic, we formed enterprise-wide pandemic response teams which have guided our operations in the implementation of processes and procedures to comply with applicable government-imposed health and safety-related operating restrictions and to otherwise enhance the safety of our facilities to protect the health of our employees. We have reconfigured workspaces to enable adherence to social distancing guidelines and have increased cleaning and disinfecting of our facilities. Further information regarding the precautionary and preventative measures Textron has taken is listed below.
Establishing wellness checks for employees as they enter facilities and buildings, including temperature checks, daily wellness screenings, thermal screening cameras and screening for vendors, suppliers and contractors who arrive on our campuses.
Increasing the cleaning and hygiene protocols within our facilities and buildings, including frequent routine cleaning and disinfecting of work surfaces, equipment, common areas, tools and machinery and shipping/receiving locations. We also have established hand sanitizer stations where soap and water are not nearby.
Reworking facility layouts to ensure physical distancing while minimizing disruption to manufacturing processes and other work activities, including reconfiguring workspaces, worktables, cubicles and conference rooms to ensure proper physical distance, installing physical barriers where practical and increasing air flow and fresh air, including (where practicable) opening doors and windows.
Changing how we work in by requiring face masks and/or face shields in the workplace, establishing social distancing plans for each location, including training and signage and limiting gatherings and face-to-face meetings.
Assisting employees in complying with new protocols, including by outfitting our facilities with signage displaying reminders of required face coverings, proper physical distancing, symptom checks and revised elevator and room capacities.
We will continue to monitor the guidance of the CDC, WHO and local governing health authorities to implement any required changes to our business operations. In addition, our response teams will continue to provide guidance for our businesses on preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.
BUSINESS UNIT SAFETY HIGHLIGHTS
Textron Specialized Vehicles modified the fleet manufacturing line and associated fabrication and material handling operations to allow for required physical distancing for our teams. This allowed many of our team members to come back to work and meet our customer needs, particularly on our Golf and PTV lines, while maintaining a safe workplace.
Bell has found new health and safety solutions to aid employees using resources on hand. When the United States began experiencing a shortage of hand sanitizer, the Bell Engineering Labs team decided to take matters into their own hands. Working with Bell’s Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) team, they were able to follow the World Health Organization’s formula and produce hand sanitizer using compounds in the lab while the EHS team procured materials and organized distribution to employees.
Allowing Flexible Schedules and Remote Work Arrangements
By enhancing our IT infrastructure, we were able to quickly mobilize our workforce to enable telecommuting, staggered work schedules and flexible work arrangements. Across our global operations, we upgraded virtual private network capacity and encouraged the use of online collaboration tools. These measures help limit exposure to those performing essential manufacturing, design, and support work onsite. This also helped managers effectively supervise front line workers who needed to be on site to keep our operations running.
Business Travel Restrictions
We restricted all non-essential business travel and cancelled or postponed our involvement in industry trade shows and large conferences.
Maintaining Employee Engagement
During the height of the pandemic, Textron and our businesses developed new programs and processes to keep our workforce engaged since most of our professional employees have been working remotely. Frequent employee communication from leadership, virtual all-hands meetings, and online engagement exchange meetings were some of the ways our employees were able to stay connected. Training materials to help our employees work and lead during a time of disruption were published online for employees via the COVID-19 Employee Information Center.
Delivering Career and Leadership Development
Professional and leadership development programs were delivered to employees virtually while planned in-person executive development programs have been rescheduled. We are evaluating future delivery of virtual training programs to broaden their reach and reduce costs.
As our remote employees began returning to their workplaces as shelter-in-place mandates were eased, we also delivered a robust communications and training resources to assist our employees in transitioning back to an on-site work environment.
Maintaining our Talent Pipeline
Textron’s Leadership Development Program (LDP) is a two-year program that offers recent college graduates rotational assignments at two or more of our businesses. The program continued throughout the pandemic for our 220 participants via a combination of rotation length adjustments, adjusted assignment start dates and online informational sessions in place of business travel. Participants who have successfully completed the program during the pandemic are being repatriated into various businesses. Currently, Textron is working to welcome new LDP participants who will start the program on site at our business unit locations in August.
In addition, Textron welcomed over 650 on-site summer interns who began their internships within our safety-fortified facilities. Many of these interns may be offered direct-hire or LDP positions or other rotational programs.