For over twenty-five years, Dimar Manufacturing Corporation in Clarence, NY has proven itself as a custom manufacturer dedicated to quality and service. With a history rooted in sheet metal, the company grew to support fabrication, assembly, and finishing with a skilled team and state-of-the-art machinery.
Today, Dimar provides components and assemblies for applications ranging from aerospace to critical ventilation systems in hospitals.
When COVID-19 emerged, there was no question that Dimar and many of its customers were essential businesses that would continue operating during the pandemic. There was also no question that Dimar would do everything possible to ensure its team members remained safe while on the job.
"We wanted to make sure that a) we were doing the right thing for our employees, and b) we were in compliance while we were doing it," says Julie Gee, head of Human Resources at Dimar.
With that in mind, Dimar focused on solving two primary challenges: Keeping employees safe and informed with the latest information about COVID-19
And ensuring that any employee who felt ill remained at home and did not report for work.
While these goals may have seemed simple at first glance, achieving them turned out to be far from straightforward.
In the early weeks, simply staying abreast of the latest COVID-19 symptoms was a challenge.
Gee recalls, "We had weekly town halls to communicate with our employees, and every week there was a new symptom identified by the CDC."
As the situation continued to escalate, the Dimar Management team found the laws and requirements for employers evolving as well, and raced to keep up. It soon became clear that screening for symptoms of COVID-19 would be an important part of Dimar's strategy to keep its team safe, particularly once the New York Forward Reopening Guidelines were released in late April.
The logistics of screening, however, proved daunting.
"Trying to manage how many employees were out with what symptoms or diagnoses was hairy," laments Gee.
While the company started screening with symptom questionnaires on paper, Dimar quickly began looking for a more automated solution - one that could easily manage the logistical challenge of screening employees across multiple sites and shifts, and that would enable employees to identify symptoms before entering the facility.
Moreover, the solution had to be capable of managing symptom screening for employees who lacked internet or smartphone access.
The team evaluated options ranging from online survey platforms, to sending text message questions from Gee's personal phone, to directly calling HR via telephone, but the options seemed to consistently fall short.
Chief among Dimar's concerns was the response time in the event an employee reported symptoms.
If an employee reported symptoms right before a 3:00 AM shift, there would inevitably be an administrative delay in responding. In such a scenario, if the individual persisted in going to work, they would endanger other employees. If, on the other hand, the employee followed Dimar policy and remained at home, production managers could be left in the dark until the HR team had contacted the employee and shared an appropriately confidential set of facts for management. With no idea why an individual failed to arrive at work, managers would scramble to find an appropriate substitute, delaying work for hours until the situation was resolved.
Dimar knew their team needed a solution that could keep managers informed in real-time, in addition to one that could handle the logistical challenge of multiple sites and shifts.
Furthermore, Dimar knew this solution had to be quick and easy to use.
Gee elaborates, "We were looking for something that would be simple enough to use [for employees]. Personally, I was [also] looking at the complexity of administration...is this so complex to manage that I won't be able to stay on top of it every day?"
In June, Gee began working with TeamSense, and noted the speed with which employees completed the questionnaire each morning.
The average time to complete clocked in around 15-20 seconds, and has now fallen to an average of ~10 seconds
As the Dimar team has grown accustomed to the system.
Gee believes the daily check-ins have provided reassurance to employees, remarking, "I think our employees feel safer knowing that everyone has to answer the questions every day."
Even employees who lack internet or smartphone access are included in the screens, as Gee and her team use the TeamSense screener capability to enter data for such individuals.
For Dimar's managers, Gee finds that TeamSense "helps with the feeling of certainty in a very uncertain time."
Through their TeamSense team rosters and real-time notifications of sick employees, managers feel empowered to act quickly to keep production running in spite of unforeseen absences.
For Gee herself, TeamSense has eased the administrative burden of symptom screening, and she says it is reassuring to know the status of employees at a glance via the TeamSense dashboard.
She has also discovered the value of TeamSense as a communication tool, leveraging the platform to share instructions that reflect Dimar's policies.
Gee believes the consistency of the messaging between TeamSense and Dimar leadership has driven a cultural shift amongst employees, helping them understand the necessity of remaining at home if they feel ill.
Most importantly, Gee feels prepared to respond as the situation continues to evolve.
"TeamSense really supports our goals of having a safe and healthy workplace," Gee says. "They've been dynamic and responsive to everything we've needed as we've evolved through this process. The core theme here is change; everything is changing daily and weekly. I feel much more prepared that we have a platform to be able to manage the health status of our employees and I think they feel confident as well."
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