(Photo shows Binalot Fiesta Foods personnel re-packing relief goods)
After Typhoon Ondoy left such a big devastation over Luzon, there is a mixed outlook of gloom and hope. True, even businesses have not been spared by the fury of the natural forces. Many shops grieve over wet merchandise which cannot be sold anymore. Nevertheless, majority of entrepreneurs are looking beyond their profit margins and instead thinking of how to do their share to provide assistance.
Aside from helping the general populace either by donating goods, using their shops as depository for relief goods, and mobilizing their resources such as trucks to assist in rescue and relief efforts, local businesses are also going the extra mile to lend a hand to their employees who have been displaced by the massive flooding.
While the victims' immediate needs in the next few days are for basic necessities such as food, clothing and medicine, their long-term needs should also be considered when putting assistance programs in place.
1. Ensuring their safety
One of the most immediate help that a few companies thought of is to check the status of their employees so they can mobilize to help in case they still need rescuing. For instance, V-Cargo Worldwide President and CEO Paulo Tibig said, "Only 10-15% of our employees showed up for work today, so we are sending out roving teams to check their status. V-Cargo, in fact, has used the company's fleet vehicles to help in relief efforts, and it's no surprise that they will not hesitate deploying their fleet to make sure their employees are safe.
2. A place to stay in
Binalot Fiesta Foods, one store of which has been designated as a central collection point for relief goods around Makati City, has simultaneously thought of community service and helping out its employees. President and CEO Rommel Juan said they immediately communicated to all their personnel that they can stay in the stores if their places are affected by floods. Other companies are also allowing their staff to make a makeshift evacuation site out of their warehouses.
3. Attendance policies
Almost all companies interviewed say they understand if their staff cannot show up for work. Our very own Summit Media HRAD Director Marilyn Tomimbang has announced special considerations for affected employees in terms of using their leave credits. "Affected employees may file for emergency leaves. In case their sick leaves and vacation leaves have been used up, we shall allow advanced use of their leave credits set for next year." Though these kinds of policies are non-material in nature, it can help your staff take care of getting back to their feet while easing their minds about their employment status.
3. Emergency fund
Carson Tan, President and CEO of GQWEST, the mother company of Aquabest water, disclosed that the company is set to use the emergency fund it has pooled over the last couple of years, where every P500 saved by each employee is matched by the company by another P500. At the moment, the emergency fund amounts to around P800,000, from which employees who are most affected by the natural disaster may draw from.
4. Cash assistance
Other than outright financial donation, companies may also alleviate employees' money problems by releasing their 13th month pay, either in part or fully, as early as the end of this month. Aside from that, interest-free loans made available to personnel will be quite useful for those who need a new beginning.