January 12, 2022

Exciting New Workplace Policies

KDS has had to get creative and responsive to our employees' needs, and to the changing demands of the labor force to stay competitive and retain high quality personnel.

A message from Christina Kazanas, Principal, Kazanas Development Strategies:

Change is inevitable. Anyone not living on a deserted island since March of 2020 knows what I’m talking about. There has been pivoting and scrambling and re-innovating and all the other pandemic-ing we’ve done to keep our doors open and yeah…we’re all exhausted. I’m exhausted. Let’s take a nap.

Except we can’t, because just when it looks the coast is clear and things can get back to a fraction of the normal we used to have, we’re realizing that “normal” was…actually pretty horrible. Hunkering down and remote working has revealed some terrible truths about our economy, and now we’re at a Day of Reckoning about it:

-Too many people work too much for too little.
-Employers don’t respect work/life boundaries or quality
-Everything is getting more expensive.

All three of these facts are converging into what I truly believe is the closest thing to a general strike that our nation will ever come to. Labor is withholding their labor until they can get what they need from employers to do more than just survive.

And I think they’re right.

Since I went solo and rebranded the company, it’s been a roller-coaster. The plans I had for 2020 to expand our service offerings and our workforce fell off a cliff when COVID happened – like most everyone else’s plans. Through a lot of sleepless nights and financial sacrifice, we made it and are in a great position as we close out 2021. I found a fantastic team of crazy-talented women who have bought into our mission 100% and I could not be more thankful to them for their work, their patience, and their advice.

Going into 2022, I know that I can’t rest on the model of business that got us here. Something has to change. Again.

Beginning January 2022, Kazanas Development Strategies will implement some incredible and progressive changes to its work policy that I feel will make KDS a better employer, and more effective at what we do for the non-profit organizations who hire us:

-We’ll be transitioning all of our current staff positions to full-time and recalibrating salaries so that no employee is paid less than the living wage for the state or county they live in (based on 1 adult and 1 child in the household).

-We will be shortening our full time work week to 4 days/32 hours, and giving all employees a Friday-Saturday-Sunday weekend.

-We’ll be offering a flexible start to the work day so that employees can choose what works best for their needs. They can choose to start their day between 7am and 10 am, and will put in an 8 hour day based on that start time.

-We will be implementing an honor-based Paid Time Off leave policy – full time employees are able to take the time off that they need for vacations, wellness days, bereavement, days of sloth and slack, whatever… without having to accrue that time first, and with no prescribed limits on the amount of time you can take off in a year. The policy carefully outlines the conditions that must be met to get time off approved, and will be coordinated with state paid family leave programs and our long term disability plan.

-We’re not quite there yet with offering full group medical and dental benefits yet, but we will be offering a monthly stipend towards the purchase of a health insurance plan through an ICHRA.

-Remote work has always been a cornerstone of our company’s model…that will not change. We have invested in a better work productivity and communications infrastructure that maximizes both remote work and a shorter work week.

As a woman-owned microbusiness, it is always a struggle to afford the typical benefits that larger businesses provide as SOP. KDS has had to get creative and responsive to our employees’ needs, and to the changing demands of the labor force to stay competitive and retain high quality personnel. After some fits and starts, we think we’re on to something that makes us an attractive employer. More importantly, it’s a positive step towards making us a good employer.

And moreover, the changes we’re making are grounded in science and emerging best practices. This article from Planio helps explain the benefits for everyone involved.

I’m really excited about this. Our staff is excited that someone’s listening to them about what they need as workers, as parents, and as human beings. And we are confident that all of these changes will result in improved performance for our clients.