Editor's note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the amount of money donated to the Lowcountry Food Bank. The figure has been corrected below.
The $100 million program includes increased benefits for employees dealing with health and child care issues; 10 days of public service leave for employees trained in nursing or firefighting; a job security pledge through at least July 1; and donations to the CDC Foundation, the COVID-19 Military Support Initiative and local food banks through the Feeding America network.
To pay for the program, Booz Allen has reallocated segments of its budget, including eliminating events and overhead expenses, as well as placing a hiring freeze on non-billable departments.
“These moves will help protect the health and financial security of our people, their loved ones and their communities during a very uncertain, difficult time,” Booz Allen President and CEO Horacio Rozanski said in a news release. “Supporting our people empowers them to fully support our clients in this time of critical need. Our business is our people, and this is just the right thing to do.”
Booz Allen Hamilton employs a total of 27,000 people, approximately 600 of them in the Charleston region.
Heather Walker, a vice president at Booz Allen in North Charleston, said that this is the first time the company has created a program like this but that it’s not uncommon for Booz Allen to be active in its local communities.
“This is the first time that something of this magnitude really has affected everybody. … This has been impactful for the firm at large,” she said. “So it was a tremendous decision by the leadership team and something our staff are really proud about.”
Booz Allen initiated a mandatory telework policy starting March 17, and Walker said besides a handful of employees who need to go into offices, all Lowcountry employees are working from home.
“We’ve all gotten very, very good at our collaboration tools, including … WebEx and the sort of videoconference calls, sort of online file sharing, and other tools that we’ve been able to leverage,” she said.
Walker added that teleworking doesn’t come without challenges, but it’s also given the company a chance to evaluate how it works.
“I think it’s going to change us not just for now, but I think it’s going to change us into the future, just being able to figure out how to do this remotely and do it well,” she said.i