KMC Systems is in the midst of a months-long hiring push for its medical diagnostics team as it continues to meet an ever-increasing demand for instruments to test for coronavirus.
As countless businesses have closed and millions remain unemployed, KMC has increased hiring more than 200% since June as compared to last year. The company has brought nearly 40 new contractors and 25 full-time staff on board since the start of the pandemic — with several more in the pipeline. Many of those new hires head straight to the production floor, building instruments that test for COVID-19 on the front lines of the pandemic.
“No matter what department you’re in, whether that be HR, Finance, working directly in manufacturing, we’re all playing a part in creating these systems and technologies that are very critical, especially in this time and age,” said Sarah Wicks, a recruiting coordinator for Elbit Systems of America, KMC’s parent company.
Joseph Beagley, a leader in the Information Technology group, said he and his team are onboarding an average of five to 10 new hires every week. He and Wicks both had to adjust to onboarding employees remotely as the pandemic began, relying on virtual training sessions through Cisco Webex meetings to assist the newest members of KMC.
Adapting and collaborating for success
Yet as a flood of contractors arrived to staff the production floor, Wicks and her HR team adapted once again, delivering hybrid onboarding presentations to both in-person and virtual recruits.
"We’ve added some videos into it and made it a little more interactive in hopes to try to engage and keep the attention of those who are sitting at home,” Wicks said.
To ease the technological transition, Beagley and his IT colleagues download a PDF on to every new hire’s laptop to guide them through their new equipment — a document Beagley and his coworkers affectionately call “the IT Bible.”
“That guide has been immaculately helpful,” Beagley said.
Mary Donelan, KMC’s new executive director of manufacturing, who joined the company in late October, gave high praise to the hiring team for the ease of her experience joining the company. That positivity continued as she began working with her own team.
“Everyone’s open and honest,” Donelan said. “No one feels threatened, everyone’s sharing worksheets that they’ve done or the tools that they have. It’s been great, just total welcoming from everybody.”
Donelan was especially touched by a gesture from the hiring team after a personal tragedy. Partway through the hiring process, her father passed away.
“They actually sent me flowers,” Donelan said. “I wasn’t even an employee yet.
“That was way up and beyond.”
Another recent hire, Bruce Bartlett, joined the company after being laid off from his previous job in September, where he assembled ventilators. He said he enjoys working with his hands — which he gets to do on KMC’s production floor — and appreciates the chance to stay busy during the pandemic.
“The worst thing for me is having nothing to do,” Bartlett said. “I haven’t had that problem here.”
“We see some of our candidates come through that had just recently lost their jobs,” Wicks said. “We’re able to help them get back into the workforce, money in their pocket, and not only that, but they’re contributing to helping out with the pandemic.”
As KMC continues to build life-saving technologies to fight COVID-19, both Wicks and Beagley see rewards in their roles.
“While we’re not working on these instruments or developing them, we’re putting the main tool in everybody’s hands, which is the computer,” Beagley said. “We all have our unique skill set and doing what we do, we help everybody else utilize their skills.”