CEO Company Update
2 March 2016 | Bracknell, United Kingdom
Despite the seemingly higher number of crises occurring in the last 18 months, including many responses involving Kenyon, we have continuously been improving business operations and resources to best serve our clients.
I want to share with you updates in these major areas:
Commitment to Our Clients - Kenyon maintains resources and readiness for clients that have an agreed service agreement for retained services – such as Disaster Response Services, Disaster Human Services, Crisis Communications, Crisis Line, Media Call Center and the Inquiry Call Center. The annual retainers serve two purposes.
- 1. Retainers facilitate a critical relationship between the client and Kenyon. The contracting process can be lengthy and detailed, but it is important that the roles and expectations of both parties are identified and understood before a crisis occurs. Kenyon will not respond to an incident with a company we do not have a prior relationship with, as the response would suffer greatly without prior knowledge of the organizational culture and commitment to a compassionate and best practice response.
- 2. Kenyon is consistently updating and preparing our facilities, people, equipment and infrastructure to support the growing demands of today’s crises. Kenyon is the only crisis management partner with facilities (offices and/or equipment) in five strategic geographical global locations. The annual retainers received from clients go directly to support operating costs and ensure we are 100% ready at any time to respond – and meet current regulatory requirements in doing so.
It has come to our attention that people believe Kenyon was involved in the response of the tragic loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370. Kenyon’s position is very clear on this. We do not respond to incidents for companies that do not have a pre-incident service agreement with us. Malaysia was not a client and therefore Kenyon would not respond, and did not respond to the loss of their aircraft. Other service providers did. The same was true for Asiana Airlines Flight OZ 214.
Experienced Staff - Our most important part of the company is our people and the experience they bring to your potential response. Like any company, we have turnover. However, unlike many companies, our long term employees who retire from full time work often remain as contracted associates who work on consulting projects and remain ready and equipped to respond to incidents. These people include the likes of Jerry Novosad (Kenyon President, 2000-2014) and Jerry Allen (VP Commercial, 2004-2016) who have transitioned from full time roles to contract roles as Associate Directors.
Kenyon is a company that develops our senior leaders. As people leave full time service, other employees transition into these positions so that we can leverage the years of experience and cultivate an evolving team to meet our client’s needs. As a result of this, five of the eight key directors of the company have been with Kenyon for over ten years. The others range from two – six years. That experience, combined with our resources, is what you are hiring.
Adequate Staff to Respond to Multiple Incidents - Today we are stronger than ever and have the following full time staff dedicated to the single purpose of delivering operational and consulting services.
|Location||Full Time||Vacant - Recruiting|
*Global Staff represent both Brandon Jones, co-owner and Chief Operating Officer and myself; we spend a significant amount of time in various offices and on client visits. We also maintain residences in both the UK and US.
In addition to our full time staff, we have six additional dedicated part-time contractors working in Australia, Mexico and the United States. Some of these work directly with you as Customer Care Representatives. Others work to maintain equipment readiness or provide Team Member support and management. These people have set work hours each week and are dedicated resources to Kenyon and you. They are not ad hoc or unsupported.
In addition to those resources, Kenyon has solid relationships with 36 named Associates. Associates are former full time employees or other subject matter experts who regularly provide client trainings on behalf of Kenyon using Kenyon material. In addition, Associates may also deploy on behalf of Kenyon as senior Team Members, providing operational response services in their areas of expertise. There are very few days in any given year that a Kenyon Associate is not engaged in Kenyon work or projects in support of our clients.
And finally, Kenyon Team Members, which currently number over 1600, remain under contract to Kenyon, ready and capable of responding to incidents worldwide, as many have done in the past. Last year alone, over 150 team members deployed in over 250 roles in support of our clients.
Our people are a key area that sets Kenyon apart from others. This is our business, and our business is being ready to provide real world solutions to complex and demanding crises. The other competing companies combined don’t come close to the full time numbers of staff we have, not to mention part time, Associates or Team Members.
Investing in the Client Experience - We have replaced our customer care software system, giving us a better way to ensure our regular communications –newsletters, blogs, lessons-learned, and updates such as this can reach those who want to receive them. We often have multiple contacts within a single client company and want to ensure we are sending the right information to the right people. So please help us, if you are not hearing from us, let me know. My e-mail is delivered directly to me and I personally review each communication I receive from a client. I may engage the appropriate department for action, but rest assured if an e-mail is addressed to me I will see it. This is part of our ongoing process of improving and standardizing business practices across our global offices. We are using technology that allows everyone to have real-time information on our clients so that whenever crisis may effect your organization, and whomever within Kenyon takes your call, we are prepared and ready to meet your needs.
Setting the Trend in Today’s Crisis Management Response - Kenyon’s 100+ years of experience has provided substantial history, background and best practices to draw from. However, we never settle for “what works,” and continually adapt to the needs of today's and tomorrow’s crises. In the last several events we have (within days) launched comprehensive, multi-lingual family websites. These sites are branded with client information and provide practical information about the next steps for families, current media updates and live feeds of key events such as memorials. These secure portals allow for the efficient, consistent dissemination of information from the client to those directly affected. Families often ask us about information regarding insurance processes and settlements. Kenyon’s Senior Vice President of Legal Services is currently working with the insurance markets to develop handouts and readily available information that will make it much easier for families to access the total information they need through the convenience of a secure website.
Training to Reach All Levels of the Organization, Including Those That Can Regularly Travel to Your Headquarters - Kenyon continues to offer comprehensive training and consultancy packages to our clients delivered in-person by Kenyon staff and Associates. We have also just announced an alliance with a world-class company to produce and deliver either standard or bespoke online training programs. At the same time, we are improving upon our own training materials and developing extensive online programs for greater reach to our own staff, Associates and Team Members.
Unmatched Equipment Inventory - Kenyon maintains three complete sets of deployable equipment to support search and recovery, identification, personal effects and family assistance operations. This includes thousands of pieces of technical gear, mortuary equipment, power supply sources, communication equipment and first-aid gear that allows us to operate self-sufficiently in any environment. Each set of equipment is stored in Kenyon facilities located in Bracknell, UK, Houston, US, and Sydney, AUS, and checked monthly by Kenyon resources to ensure they are pre-packaged and ready to go at all times. No other competitor can offer better equipment availability than Kenyon.
Professional Systems for a Professional Response - In 2012, Kenyon completed the impressive task of building our own proprietary data management system to address issues with incident management. It is the only comprehensive database software system which focuses on the people involved in the incident. The software, Kenyon Response®, manages call center scripts, media call center activity, family assistance management, morgue and identification management as well as personal effects processing. Now, in 2016 we are upgrading this software to take advantage of current technology and further improve functionality. Additionally, we also use and operate Plass Data, and are the only private crisis management firm to do so for human identification processes. Our Team Member data system, updated in 2015, has been upgraded for efficient recruitment, classification, and identification of skilled, available Team Members to support Kenyon and our clients in their most demanding moments. Enhanced accounting software systems and customer relationship management software were also implemented in 2015.
Multi-National Responses - Most of our clients operate on a global scale, and so does Kenyon. As a truly multi-national corporation, Kenyon pays taxes, maintains insurance and registers our business in the countries we work in. My belief is you would expect this to be the standard, but that is not always the case. Today, crisis response is extremely visible. It always involves multiple government agencies overseeing the actions taken by you and those working on your behalf. It involves liaising with multiple national and international agencies who expect to deal with an experienced professional single legal entity, not a consortium of various smaller and limited proprietors. Our reputation and integrity in international business operations reflects on our clients, and we take that very seriously.
How Kenyon Compares to Others - We do understand the value of choices in the marketplace, and want you to choose the best partner available when dealing with a crisis. Every business should make this decision very carefully and deliberately. However, when comparing Kenyon to others, do thorough research. Websites can be very misleading and not always provide an accurate depiction of preparedness and capabilities. We recommend you carefully audit the actual number of full time people dedicated to these services in addition to the owned equipment, including technical equipment required by law – for example, family assistance telecommunication equipment. Audit written procedures, checklists, and data management tools to ensure your crisis management partner has the depth and capability to help your business in its most difficult moments. There are no ISO standards in this business, so the standards, quality, and basic truthfulness of all companies are up to you to verify and validate. I have seen a lot of misleading, exaggerated and patently false websites, articles and presentations by others in the industry. Trust, but verify.
The absolute worst time to identify gaps in your crisis management partner’s capabilities is when their services are needed the most. We have developed a capability assessment tool to help our clients understand Kenyon’s value as well as assist potential clients with making the best decision for their needs. This helpful tool can be downloaded here.
In conclusion, we are constantly working to ensure the most up to date systems, processes and best practices are ready to respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Nothing less is acceptable.
Thank you, sincerely, for partnering with Kenyon.
Robert A. Jensen
Chief Executive Officer