NSCA’s 2021 Stepping Up Award winner in the Employee Engagement category, Integrated Security Technologies, Inc. (IST), recognized the challenges its employees faced during the pandemic—and stepped up.
Typically, during the annual Business & Leadership Conference (BLC), NSCA’s Excellence in Business awards honor systems integration firms and their efforts to implement new strategies to navigate the constantly changing industry; however, the past year hasn’t been typical. NSCA has seen its members pivot and rise to the occasion in the face of daunting business challenges. So, during the 2021 BLC, NSCA recognized five integration companies that stepped up in various ways with our one-time-only Stepping Up Awards.
Integrated Security Technologies, Inc. (IST) earned a 2021 Stepping Up Award in the Employee Engagement category.
NSCA members tend to put their customers first, and that’s a good thing.
During the pandemic, the value that integration companies provided to their customers skyrocketed. More than ever, organizations are leaning on integration partners to help them improve communication and provide safe work environments.
For integration company leaders, however, the tricky part is balancing that “customer-first” approach with being sympathetic to the fact that employees are also going through a pandemic, dealing with health concerns, struggling to protect their families, and often generally stressed out!
One reason Waipahu, HI-based Integrated Security Technologies, Inc. earned a 2021 Stepping Up Award in the “Employee Engagement” category is that its leadership went above and beyond to demonstrate appreciation for employees during the pandemic.
Employee Engagement Amidst the Pandemic
Like many integrators, Hawaii-based IST is part of its community’s “essential workforce.” In this integrator’s case, that meant tackling projects in hospitals where the COVID-19 virus was present; it also meant mixing with people not wearing masks or properly socially distancing, says President Christine Lanning.
“We had to hustle to keep ourselves stocked with PPE so we could work,” she says.
The IST team was cognizant that being able to work and keep payroll going was “a blessing,” Lanning says. “There was a bit of guilt that added to our stress as we watched other familiar doors close—some forever. But the essential work of protecting our clients and their facilities continued for us.”
Along the way, and through the hot pandemic summer in Hawaii, unanticipated obstacles arose. “We didn’t anticipate the heat rashes that crawled across our mask-covered faces,” Lanning writes in her Stepping Up Awards submission. “We didn’t know sanitizer bottles could catch fire. The constant donning, removing, and redonning of PPE felt relentless, sometimes suffocating, and the hourly work stoppage for handwashing seemed to mark each day’s movement with ever-longer and even-deeper cracks among the folds of skin on our raw hands.”
The adversity led to IST leadership and employees looking after one another. Some examples:
- Picking up rice for a coworker’s father’s lunch wagon because his suppliers ran out.
- Finding a spot big enough for everyone to spread out, eat lunch, and talk loudly so everyone who wanted to be included felt that they were.
- While most of the office team was remote, those who wanted to come into the office were provided with free lunch, often supporting local restaurants.
- Monday morning meetings included a focus on family members and talking about employees’ fears and anxieties.
- A team-building event, “Mission: Save Hawaii’s Business,” which grouped IST team members and provided a budget to create projects that impacted the community.
- Virtual happy hours with games and prizes, including much-needed bourbon!
More than anything, IST committed to its employees, its employees committed to the company, and the company committed to its community.
NSCA congratulates all the 2021 Stepping Up Award winners. For more on the Stepping Up Awards and the 23rd annual Business & Leadership Conference, click here.