Last Updated MAY 2022
Looking Ahead with a COVID-19 Crisis Management Leader
As part of Kimberly-Clark Professional’s response to COVID-19, we quickly formed a crisis response team tasked with managing the business through the pandemic and communicating changes to the company. Tracy Doucet was appointed to lead this team.
As part of Kimberly-Clark Professional’s response to COVID-19, we quickly formed a crisis response team tasked with managing the business through the pandemic and communicating changes to the company. Tracy Doucet was appointed to lead this team. It’s a huge responsibility to ensure the continuity of our manufacturing as well as our behind-the-scenes operations, all while keeping our people safe. Still, when we spoke, Doucet told us that she’s enjoyed the role so far as it’s given her the chance to see first-hand how leadership puts employee health, safety and well-being first.
Caring for others is in our company values, and the COVID-19 pandemic asked us to put that value even more into action. As the crisis becomes more prolonged and new variants emerge, we wanted to chat with Tracy to find out specifically which policies she thinks will stick around in the future and how our partners might go about executing a successful office reopening.
KCP: Describe your background and your current role.
Tracy: I’ve been with Kimberly-Clark for 21 years now. Before this, I have been a general manager of large businesses. My current role is to lead the global COVID-19 crisis management team, to protect our people and preserve operations as much as possible to provide essential products to our customers. This role represents a single person who can be accountable for driving solutions in response to scenarios that have not existed before. We do a lot of benchmarking with public health officials, doctors, trade associations and facilities management companies to gain insights and make decisions based on up-to-the-minute pandemic information.
KCP: What was the most frequent worry you heard as you began to roll out new global protocols at Kimberly-Clark?
Tracy: Employees were asking, “What are you doing to keep me safe?” With everything we’ve done, employee safety has been the top priority. Because our manufacturing facilities produce essential products, it was critical to keep employees safe while maintaining operations throughout 2020. We implemented rigorous health and safety protocols with masks and hand washing as well as the physical set up of the facilities, specifying entry and exit points to take daily health declarations and temperature checks.
KCP: How long do you think your team’s work will be needed?
Tracy: We have robust protocols based on community infection data. We leverage the community infection data to escalate and de-escalate our protocols. Our goal is to keep our people safe and we will continue to do so until no longer needed. If and when we no longer need a COVID-19 crisis team, we will embed what we have learned so we can move proactively in the event of a new health pandemic.
KCP: What recommendations do you think might become permanent?
Tracy: We’ve discussed this quite a bit. The extended crisis management team will continue to work together after offices reopen to determine the look of our own new normal. Some things we predict will stay around are our new air ventilation standards and our new clean desk protocol which requires employees to clear personal items off their desks for better surface cleaning. Our choices are largely based on data—as data grows, the next set of choices become clearer.
KCP: Which initiatives are you most proud of?
Tracy: Our work around COVID-19 vaccine access and adoption. We’ve partnered with pharmacies, hospitals, health professionals and other officials in various countries to provide access. My team set up on-site clinics, dedicated off-site clinics and prioritized vaccinations for frontline workers. We had to leverage an extremely agile approach to understand local eligibility guidelines and roll out the vaccines.
KCP: What was it like working with facility managers (FMs) to make re-entry easier?
Tracy: I have a new appreciation for facility management teams. They were essential to designating space to enable social distancing, planning new walking routes and putting up signage as we transformed production sites and offices. They also played a critical role in upgrading air handling systems, sharing best practices and getting PPE, hand sanitizer stations and cleaning wipes into our workspaces.
KCP: How else do you think FMs could help deliver safety and value to tenants and workers?
Tracy: FMs and PMs are key to executing our protocols. I didn’t have much visibility to this group before this role, but I have been amazed at their ability to operationalize everything that needs to happen during reopening. Our standards are global but there are lots of shapes and sizes of facilities for our company—executing with excellence comes down to local teams.
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We couldn’t agree more that the pressure to deliver as a facilities professional has never been higher. When it comes to delivering safety and hygiene, our experts can help. Contact Kimberly-Clark Professional today to find out how to make your workplace the best it can be.