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The recent ECQ implemented across the nation has caused a strain to many of our peers in human resources, finance, IT and the like. It is in times as such where those that support the business and operations side are asked to step up and go beyond the call of duty for the overall well-being of our employees and families.

As we find ways to make the basic necessities and functions such as payroll, vendor payments, collections, connectivity and access work, we must not forget that all of us are still human beings and need the personal touch or care that only another can provide.

In times as such, we thought that employee engagement would take a backseat with a big question mark asking, how do we engage our employees who we don’t see in person? The answer to that is there is no time better than now. As we now live in a time where digital engagement and connectivity has slowly encroached in our lives without us even knowing. In the age of Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Twitter only to name a few, we have to give ourselves credit as employers and HR practitioners for subconsciously training to engage with our employees in a time of virtual connectivity. That being said, here are some of the tools and practices which we have trained for without knowing it which will be highly valuable in a time as such.
We summarized it in order and succession to match the current turn of events as we know it while also being highly sensitive to the very current times.

  • Find out how your employees are coping and adjusting to the new world.
    • What do they do with the time saved from the commute?
    • How is their family reacting to the sudden change?
    • Are they able to work from home? How did they arrange their home work spaces?
    • What are their new routines? Do they still dress in work clothes at home? Do they still eat lunch at the same time as they did when they were in the office?

    Have them send photos and videos. It’s a simple way of letting them know we care and we would like to know how they have adjusted to the new (hopefully temporary) situation. *note how we avoid using the word coping

  • Learn about their families and communities
    • What support has been provided and how are people in their families and communities working together toward a greater good
    • What have they been able to do with their families during the extra time?
    • Have their local barangays, villages, compounds or buildings implemented safety measures?

    Again share photos and videos as this is a time when the working together remotely is most vital and many have revitalized spirits for being able to do their part no matter how small be it simply, staying at home and staying healthy.

  • What have your employees done to stay active? A healthy person on the average takes 5000-8,000 steps a day, a number which can drastically decrease if we do not do anything about it. As we want our employees to say healthy especially in times like these, it is our purpose to provide them with guidance on to best adjust in the confines of their home
    • Homecooking is still healthiest compared to food purchased from outside. We know the ingredients and what goes in it. We should capitalize on that.
    • We have our homes no matter how big or small. Lets use whatever space we have. Walk around, help with household chores, clean, disinfect, lift water bottles, reorganize. Any movement is better than no movement at all.

    Share videos available on YouTube, Nike, etc.Many of the big sports and streaming companies are now doing their part to provide free access to many home workouts that need nothing more than a pair of shorts and a tshirt. Watch them, share them and create schedules for them where employees can share photos and videos of them. Share them with your organization and start a trend. It works. People are competitive.

  • Last but not the least, what do we want our employees to learn in the month that we are on ECQ. We push back training and development many times because of the difficulty of schedules, facilitator, venues and the like. This time, the venue is in cyberspace. Everyone will have time for it. Lets capitalize on that.
    • What skills outside of their expertise or roles do we want our employees to learn? Is it basic finance? Excel? MS office? They are all available now online for free. Share it with them. Send them tests after. Document their test scores.
    • Are there books you are aware of that might help your employees with their work? There is a lot of free content now online. Invest in them if not. Read, share, discuss online. It’s a good time to simulated business cases and studies as we are saving a minimum of 2-3 hours a day from the daily commute alone.
    • No access? Have your employees simulate scenarios at work for when business as usual returns. It gives them an opportunity to contribute ideas on how to best recover from the impact. What will be their mindset when they return. What projects will they get moving to expedite a return to normal. Get them involved, you don’t have to do all the thinking yourself.

These are just some of the recommendations that might or might not work for you as a business because at the end of the day, our employees will be in different situations. Despite our determination, we can only control what we can and that is our mindset and how we survive, thrive and make the best out of the situation.

Christian Uichico

Chief Talent and Human Resources Officer of PHINMA Education, a network of 7 schools across the Philippines and Asia/Southeast asia (Indonesia and Myanmar) with 75,0000 students and 2,500 employees-Araullo University, Cagayan de Oro College, University of Iloilo, Saint Jude College, University of Pangasinan, Republican College advocating accessible quality education for all.

Professional advocacy is to continue to drive progressive improvement of our homegrown academe and faculty benefits, quality of life and professional growth to compete with international institutions.