McLean-based B&A spreads kindness to employees, community
When the pandemic rocked employees’ well-being last year, executives at McLean-based software solutions company B&A went out of their way to make people feel valued and connected.
“We realized that a lot of folks were struggling with what was going on in the country and the world,” says Jonathan Evans, president and CEO of B&A, which has 46 employees in Virginia and more than 100 nationwide. “We wanted to make sure we were taking care of our No. 1 asset.”
The result was a program called B&A Cares. The company brought on board a registered counselor to talk with employees regularly. Working at home was isolating and tough for many, especially with the added stress of COVID restrictions and risks.
“We wanted somebody who could connect on a different level than a manager,” Evans says. “That certainly resonated well with many individuals.”
The company also sent care packages containing Omaha Steaks family meals, cheese boards, stress balls, company swag and the like. Evans says the care packages went out “so people knew we were thinking about them when we couldn’t connect in person.” Virtual get-togethers helped maintain a social connection between employees as well, he says.
In addition to spreading kindness among its own, B&A stepped up its community efforts by partnering with Washington, D.C., deli Grazie Grazie to deliver meals to front-line workers. B&A funded meal deliveries to several health care facilities in the Washington area while also helping a struggling restaurant business, Evans says.
For these kinds of efforts, B&A was named a 2021 CARES (Companies as Responsive Employers) award winner by Northern Virginia Family Service, an Oakton nonprofit that helps families and individuals in need. Also, for the fourth consecutive year, B&A was named one of the 2021 Best Workplaces for Commuters due to its incentives that prompt more employees to use public transportation to get to work.
The company’s diversity initiative begins with a recruiting plan to ensure hiring of minorities and women. Part of the B&A Cares program focuses on retaining a diverse workforce and being inclusive. B&A celebrates cultural holidays and recognizes employees from a wide range of backgrounds in its Wellness Wednesday journals.
B&A employees can choose between three health insurance plans across two networks. The dental plan is not limited to network providers, nor is the vision plan. Everyone has access to the company employee assistance plan (EAP) and telehealth appointments at no additional cost.
While B&A Cares was a response to pandemic remote working, it will continue as a way to support workers even as they return to the office. “We are tweaking it now. … This opened our eyes to connecting with our employees on a different level,” Evans says.
B&A Cares has become the base for all wellness-related initiatives, including the Annual Wellness Challenge. It spawned a new platform called Lifeworks, aimed at enhancing engagement in the EAP.
B&A is largely a federal contractor with a focus on developing and integrating human resources, payroll, benefits and financial systems. Since employees often are spread across various government locations, the company has always held a lot of events to help people connect. The company was family-oriented when it was founded in 1988, Evans says, and as it’s grown, employees have remained a top priority. “It’s always been the mindset,” he says.
The focus is spelled out on the firm’s website, where the company description says B&A is a company “whose accomplishments exemplify the skills, motivation, dedication, and commitment of our most valuable asset: our people.”