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KM Q&A Featuring: Kim Paxton, EVP


Employee engagement has never been more important. In the past year, many companies have been affected by COVID-related turnover and the Great Resignation, a sharp influx in voluntary resignations from jobs. Organizations can acknowledge and respond to the challenges of today’s workforce by focusing on ways to keep employees engaged and motivated. We talked to Kim Paxton, our Executive Vice President, about KellyMitchell’s approach to employee engagement and what other companies can do during this challenging time.

What does KM do to keep its employees engaged?

We’re a culture of praise and shout outs. We like to make people feel good about their efforts. We constantly incorporate employee recognition in our weekly calls and quarterly updates. We also give recognition through our MAS-Hole program, which allows internal employees to nominate their peers based on their spectacular performance. Employees chosen for MAS-Hole receive PTO and recognition across the company.

We also enjoy team building. We’ve found innovative ways to do virtual team building across cities during the pandemic. Now that some pandemic restrictions are lifting, we’ve been able to return to in-person team building activities, which could include anything from scavenger hunts and bowling to grabbing lunch or coffee.

How has the pandemic impacted employee engagement at KM?

We’ve learned a great deal throughout COVID, including that the definition of employee engagement has changed. People have different expectations of how they want to work, and we’ve shifted our approach based on this feedback. We’ve offered the same perks while implementing a hybrid model that allows for more flexibility. It’s important to be together for training and development but people have done a fabulous job working remotely, so we wanted to recognize that.

What are some challenges of employee engagement?

I’m laser focused on training and development due to our accelerated growth, which requires more leadership from within. We need to hire, train, and develop talent as quickly and effectively as possible to meet this growth, which saw a 100% increase in demand over the past year. Although this process is usually most productive in person, our hybrid model has yielded great results. So, we hope offering more flexibility is a recipe for success.

What is your advice for other companies trying to boost employee engagement?

The best thing you can do is listen to your employees and ask questions. Identify if there are changes you can make based on this information. For example, some companies shifted to a hybrid model with different perks during COVID and this worked well for them, but other companies might not want or be able to make these changes. At the end of the day, organizations should identify what they need to do to be most productive and efficient while satisfying as many people as possible. Employee engagement is based on trust. In a productive model, people should realize that decisions that perhaps do not align exactly with their input are not punitive.

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