Redstone_-_Alleviating_Bid_Proposal_Stress

As if you haven’t noticed, this year has been the year of bid proposals for government contractors. My team at Redstone Government Consulting has been working the last six months straight supporting various government contractors in the development and pricing of cost volume proposals. Fortunately for us, we have a team of consultants that can provide support for cost volume proposals and are 100% dedicated to the effort, without the distraction of other projects or responsibilities. Most small business contractors, however, do not have that luxury and the employees working the bid proposal efforts must also continue to complete their daily responsibilities associated with their already busy, “day” job.

The added responsibility and workload of supporting a bid proposal can be very taxing to your employees, because not only are they working more hours than typical in a normal work week, but proposal development is stressful. The stress comes from multiple angles:

  1. Is our proposal compliant with the RFP requirements?
  2. Have we represented our skills and represented ourselves well enough in the limited page numbers that we were allotted?
  3. Have we set ourselves apart from our competitors?
  4. Did we submit the right price?
  5. Did our subcontractors do everything we asked them to do?
Not to mention, deadlines…deadlines for color team review, deadlines for color team recovery, deadlines for production, deadline for submission, and oh, wait, the government just issued an extension and an amendment to the RFP so now we go back to square one and start over again with the deadlines. For those of you reading this, who have worked on proposals, know exactly what I’m writing about and how that stress builds, especially when compounded with the fact that you are missing out on time with friends and family and the guilt associated with the personal aspect of your life. As a government contractor, there are some things that can’t be changed, such as proposal deadlines, RFP amendments and extensions, and even to some extent, overworking your most vital and talented employees. But, there are some company initiatives that can be put in place to help make the stress and anxiety of bid proposal development a little more bearable. I have compiled a list of actions that government contractors could take to show appreciation to those hard working employees and make the process a little less painful.
  1. Always express appreciation and show recognition of hard work.
  2. Flex time - Encourage non-standard work hours. Maybe it works best for an employee to have time in the morning to run errands and spend time with family, freeing that person up to work late into the evening or vice versa. Not to mention, this doesn’t cost the contractor any more money.
  3. Modify the dress code to allow employees to dress a little more casually and comfortably.
  4. Offer additional paid time off and encourage that employees take long periods of PTO when done. It is my opinion that it takes at least two weeks or more to truly decompress and feel relaxed from supporting a proposal effort.
  5. Pay for a cabin in the mountains or a condo at the beach for a long weekend for those employees and their families who worked excessively long hours and need to rejuvenate.
  6. Encourage physical activity, such as a walking group at lunch, a team exercise program early in the morning, a healthy eating challenge, or pay for employee’s gym memberships.
  7. Spot Bonuses.   Offering some type of bonus immediately after the completion of a large project makes an employee feel appreciated and rewarded for all of the extra hard work. Waiting till the end of the year when annual bonuses are typically paid, doesn’t always result in the same sort of encouragement and sense of accomplishment that motivates employees.
  8. Provide snacks and lunches (or dinners) when working long, stressful hours. Not only does the brain work better when nourished, but a lot of productive time is wasted or cut short when employees have to leave the office for lunch or dinner, especially when facing deadlines.
  9. Allow employees a few hours off to volunteer or participate in a community activity. Especially as we approach the Christmas holiday, allowing employees to give back and encouraging that behavior can been motivating and rewarding.
  10. Pull in outside resources to alleviate the workload. Everyone already has a 40 hour/week job, proposal support adds stress and additional hours to those involved. Sometimes, it is better to pull in consultants or part time assistance to help with this added workload than it is to risk losing vital employees who are burned out. Some of the services offered byRGCI to assist contractors with the overflow of work includes:
    1. Cost volume preparation (Proposal pricing, narrative writing, labor benchmarking, subcontractor management, compensation plans, BOEs)
    2. Subcontractor data calls and proposal templates
    3. Indirect Rate calculation, review and strategy
    4. Outsourced accounting functions (AR, Billing, AP, Month-end close)
    5. Outsourced HR functions, (employee onboarding, HR policy development, benefits administration
    6. Contracts Administration and management
    7. Incurred Cost Proposal development
    8. Purchasing System reviews
    9. Deltek implementations and restructuring

 

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Written by Courtney Edmonson

Courtney Edmonson VP of Compliance Services and Sr. Managing Consultant Courtney has extensive experience with Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) compliance, evaluation and preparation of Cost Presentations, cost accounting systems setup and reviews, and policy and procedure preparation. Prior to joining Redstone Government Consulting, Courtney served as a financial statement auditor for large and mid-tier government contractors. Courtney works with small and large contractors in pro-actively preparing contractors for government contracts challenges as well as resolving complex DCAA and government procurement issues. Courtney’s expertise includes establishing and/or evaluating job cost accounting structures; management and preparation of complex incurred cost and forward pricing rate proposals; evaluation of internal controls most often evaluated by DCAA to include billing and estimating systems; preparation/evaluation of policies and procedures; development of cost allowability evaluation programs, and; preparation of corrective action plans for overcoming DCAA audit findings. Courtney is a lead instructor for the Federal Publication Seminars course, “Government Contractor Accounting System Compliance”, and provides class instruction for other compliance courses and webinars such as “Preparation of Incurred Cost Submissions”, “Cost Accounting Standards”, and “Cost and Price Analysis”. Education Ms. Edmonson earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Jacksonville State University and obtained her Master of Accountancy Degree from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Alabama.

About Redstone GCI

Redstone Government Consultants are a team of the most senior industry veterans and the brightest new talent in the industry. Many have held senior government positions including leadership roles in the DCAA. Our new talents bring significant accounting and software experience along with fresh perspectives, inspiration and energy to our team. Through our leadership and combined experience, we provide a unique perspective, bringing both government and contractor proficiencies to bear and ensuring rock-solid government compliance for our clients.

Topics: Business Systems Review, Incurred Cost Proposals