DAILY BRIEFINGS ON BUSINESS UNUSUAL
IN OUR NEW NORMAL

COMMUNITY WEBCAST

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AHA! BIZ

EPISODE 2

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AHA! Hero
This company is a local 40 year old, family-owned business. They directly employ 700 people and indirectly affect thousands of disers and suppliers nationwide and are very used to the old ways of doing things.

Background
Their products are now considered non-essential and they're sitting on mountains of undelivered goods since the lockdown. This left their company no choice but to send home their people on a no work, no pay basis.

COVID Context
For the longest time, this Garment Company’s priority is to make quality products and meet quotas; that’s it! They always knew that the business wouldn’t exist without their people. But now they’re realizing that they never really walked their talk. All their messaging used to be centered on encouraging better performance and meeting sales targets. But since the lockdown, this Garment Company shifted their priorities from meeting quotas to supporting and connecting with their people as human beings.

AHA! #1
Pain is a gift - The leadership was very humble to admit that it took an unprecedented crisis like COVID to internalize the pains of their people. Now they're rushing to get DOLE's support and advancing 13th month pay to help their employees. In a way the COVID crisis became a blessing to them because of this shift in perspective. In times like these, when people are lost and anxious, just letting them know help is on the way means a lot.

AHA! #2
No bells and whistles needed - Without using fancy technology they make do with the resources they have to keep in touch with their people. Right now their leadership is keeping constant and open communication with their supervisors via Messenger. These supervisors in turn communicate to their factory workers and disers. Apart from updates on DOLE’s support, their 13th month pay advance, they also share self-reflections and reminders to always stay safe and healthy with their families. The ironic thing here is, even if they met twice a week with their supervisors before, it’s only now that they’re LDR that they’ve been able to establish this kind of personal connection with each other.

AHA! Hero
Executive Director for Talent Acquisition of the biggest multi-national BPO companies in the Philippines with almost 20 delivery centers here.

Background
Currently, their company services various accounts from telco companies, to government institutions worldwide, mostly essential services which means, despite the pandemic, their services to their clients remain continuous.

COVID Context
The company is still currently busy keeping operations afloat by transitioning their workforce to a work-from-home setup. But aside from that, one of his key focus right now is hiring more people because they continue to need more manpower, while at the same managing the change for their current workforce who are forced to work from home and upskilling them. First, why upskilling? Because one of the things that this crisis thought them is that because they need manpower, their employees need to be “jack-of-all-trades” which is contrary to their usual way of doing things wherein people have specialized skills. Everyone has to do stuff that’s beyond their current job description. Second, why is hiring a priority? Because as earlier mentioned, the clients they service continue to need their service, even more so now.

AHA! #1
In terms of upskilling, they are encouraging their employees to go outside of their JDs and volunteer in other departments, this way they increase their value as an employee. Eventually they will operationalize this by reinforcing their developmental plan, but for now, it’s really more of making people realize why they need to do it and be more well-rounded.

AHA! #2
On the other hand, in terms of hiring, since the parameters have changed, their top competencies to look out for have changed as well. For example, if before with the office setup, they look at whether the candidate has a tendency for tardiness etc. Now, they look at the capacity of a candidate to work productively unsupervised given the work from home setup. Also, being a self-starter became of higher importance; are they more open to learning new skills? My resource person calls it part of their “new type of recruiting.”

AHA! Hero
A manager who works at one of the top accounting firms in the country. With 1,500 employees, the company focuses on audit and assurance, tax and advisory services with clients in different industries.

Background
Currently, their client service delivery remains uninterrupted despite the limitations the pandemic has caused.

COVID Context
Like most companies, they also resorted to forced work from home setup after the lockdown was enforced. The company believes that it is important to be transparent to their employees and clients, so one of their key focus areas has been keeping them updated with all the plans of the company, systems and processes that directly affect them, and other information that needs to be cascaded especially now that they are all working from home. The company believes that it is important to give the right information in order to keep their employees and clients’ trust to the brand.

AHA! #1
Through good ol’ emails and via videoconferencing, the company gives regular advice and guidance to employees through their bosses. Supplemental guidance are also given per department to ensure that everything is still running smoothly even if they are all working from home. Online meetings are also held among teams to check up on each other's well being.

AHA! #2
For their clients, they have promptly informed them about policies and systems they have put in place while the lockdown is still in effect. In general, they are reassuring their clients that protecting their sensitive data are at the top of their priorities even if personnel are operating on work from home setup. Employees communicate with them through regular email exchanges and video calls. Employees are also encouraged to give their personal mobile numbers to clients in order to provide better customer service.

AHA! #3
The company is also monitoring this situation on an hourly basis in order to keep their people informed of the latest developments and are updating their advice and guidance as required. For instance, since the supermarkets have limited operating hours, they adopted a flexible work schedule. So they’re not tone-deaf to the needs of their people. So people can go to the grocery or pharmacy even if it’s “office hours” as long as you complete your tasks for the week.