DAILY BRIEFINGS ON BUSINESS UNUSUAL
IN OUR NEW NORMAL

COMMUNITY WEBCAST

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AHA! BIZ

EPISODE 4

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AHA! Hero
A corporate communication officer working at one of the world's leading hotel companies.

Background
This hotel has presence across more than 100 countries, with hundreds of thousands of employees. They offer different hotel experience through their different brands.

COVID Context
In this unprecedented times, the hotel industry is one of the most impacted businesses by COVID-19. According to them, this is one of the biggest challenges they have ever faced. The revenue is already down and still declining every day because the hotels are temporarily closed and customers are cancelling their accommodations. But at a time like this, their focus is on the health and well-being of their people.

AHA! #1
Find temporary jobs for your people be your own recruiter. In their US-based hotel colleagues, they dedicated a website where their employees that were greatly impacted by this are re-directed to job opportunities with leading companies that are looking to hire highly-skilled hospitality professionals. They are referred to Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, etc. Some partners of the hotel also offer expedited applications for these employees. Hopefully, other branches in affected areas can apply this in their branches as well.

AHA! #2
Taking care of your people by keeping them busy and connected. For those who are still able to transition to the WFH setup, they launched a site that provides tips on how to effectively work at home and take care of yourself in this time. It’s also a place for employees to connect and share perspectives that are beyond work. They also have a dedicated email and hotline solely for people who are experiencing anxiety and depression. In this time when everything for the hotel industry has come to a halt, they want to support their people through online learning opportunities to keep employees connected to their jobs. They conduct online trainings conducted by trainers through webinars. There are courses for employee engagement, handling company-wide events, managing people, depending on your position. These opportunities help employees advance their skills and education so that when they get back to work, they are already one step ahead. So to keep the business afloat and keep as much people as they can, they have instituted pay cuts across all C-suite managers and those who have higher band levels.

AHA! Hero
An owner of a condotel in a business district

Background
This condotel lies at the heart of a typically busy business district, accommodating long-term guests ranging from corporate to families.

COVID Context
The DOH launched investigations after receiving reports of harassment of health workers. At the height of COVID-19 and the fear of being infected, there came a prevailing discrimination of landlords and neighbors against frontliners. To make matters worse, people who need to report to work, not even directly with coronavirus patients, are also being discriminated against, the worst forms of which include forceful eviction and being doused with bleach.

AHA! #1
Value as Usual - When people are driving away frontliners, here’s this condotel that lets people in. Instead of turning a blind eye and closing operations, this condotel stayed open to accommodate BPO employees who have no choice but to report to work near the area. Economically and safety-wise, this owner said it would have been better for him to close the condotel like so many others are doing, but he set his fears aside to let business proceed as usual for the workforce out of humanitarian reasons, "You can evacuate from a typhoon, you can build up from a fire, famous people could die, but life can go on. But this is an unprecedented crisis: life stopped with COVID." While this may not be a good business move, just imagine business for him when all this is over and organizations remember who it was that gave their people a place to stay.

AHA! #2
Pain as a Gift - With the opportunity to bring value as usual, came a threat to his employees. Now while they have income because of their work, they themselves are at risk. What about their safety and their welfare? This condotel owner feels like a father to his people; giving employees pay isn’t enough. So apart from protective gear, he provided them with accommodations, regularly texts them to check how they are (despite it being corny to his team), he even provided them with Netflix accounts out of his pocket "to keep them sane." He’s going this far because he knows his people are brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers to someone else, and this feeling of compassion grew ever stronger in this time of crisis. He may be giving away money for now but to him it’s nothing compared to if you lose your sense of humanity.

AHA! Hero
Ops Support team manager for a global financial services firm

Background
This financial firm has four offices here in Manila, right now they have over 2000 employees in the Philippines, and they mostly service US customers.

COVID Context
They are currently undermanned, with about 20% of their workforce unable to work from home due to lack of equipment. So they had to find ways in order to cope with this situation by 1) looking into their processes and 2) fill in the gaps in manpower

AHA! #1
Streamlining of processes: One of the things they prioritized is to look into their current processes and assess which are essential ones and which are good-to-haves that don’t necessarily affect operations. Ex. Trend analysis reports, in-between correspondences with customers regarding disputes (instead, they direct customers to the website for updates), business reviews have become read-only presentations rather than full-blown meetings, relaxed audit for high accuracy steps in the process (ex. If before, high accuracy steps need a sampling of 100, now they reduced it to 5 sampling).

AHA! #2
Going beyond job titles and being flexible: They are streamlining their processes in order for people to help out other departments that need an extra hand. In this sense, the Bayanihan spirit is alive within the company. Some examples: a) Because internal auditing is relaxed, the audit team helps out in the operations (i.e. claims processing) b) The support team who’s usually in charge of reporting and monitoring have to get their hands dirty as well and help in the operations, taking calls if needed c) Same goes with supervisors and team leaders who also now help customer service when call volume is high.