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Cally Wu, Vice President of Corporate HR, Asia Pacific, Eaton: How should businesses help themselves navigate through the COVID-19 crisis?

Cally Wu, Vice President of Corporate HR, Asia Pacific, Eaton: How should businesses help themselves navigate through the COVID-19 crisis?

SHANGHAI, July 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- "The COVID-19 crisis has now reached a new critical phase," Cally Wu, Vice President of Corporate HR, Asia Pacific, Eaton Corporation stated. "With every industry adapting to life during and post pandemic, new regulations being put in place have forced organizations to shut down their offices and mandate remote working. In this case, businesses must learn to adapt for continuity, so as to remain competitive within their industries."

Ensure employee well-being, safety and business continuity

Maintaining business continuity while protecting and keeping all employees safe and healthy has become the most crucial of tasks. During a crisis, companies around the world across multiple sectors must recognize that internal stakeholders should always be a priority, and that it is paramount to ensure employees' welfare, safety and well-being are taken care of. At Eaton we are committed to this responsibility and have instilled enhanced measures in compliance with government directives. Despite the temporary shut-down of factories around the world, we managed to maintain partial operations, ensuring minimum health risks for our employees. Our electrical equipment helps hospitals and data centers function while our industrial products keep transportation systems running. In addition, new measures have been put in place to ensure business continuity – this includes being flexible with work arrangements, implementing strict safe distancing measures, staggered working hours, regular disinfection of workplace and many more.

Aside from the physicality of things, the sudden influx of changes and adaptation that employees have to undergo can lead to confusion, stress, panic and other emotions. The pandemic has increased people's fear and stress levels, which can have fatal consequences. How organizations treat their employees will be remembered for years to come, and how businesses respond will have a lasting impact on employee behavior including, engagement, productivity and loyalty. Health and well-being, financial stability, and job security are top concerns for employees right now and employers can help address those fears in meaningful ways. This can be done through frequent sharing of updates on what the company has done, is doing and will continue to do via email newsletters or regular townhall sessions with senior executives from the organization. Recently, Eaton launched the APAC Employee Assistance Program to help employees cope with mental and emotional well-being. The program provides a platform for employees to gain confidential access to professional care, self-help programs, interactive tools and educational resources.

Provide continuous and proactive support to all partners and stakeholders

To keep business disruption minimal, organizations ought to play a proactive role in communicating and supporting their partners and stakeholders. Active communication is key to managing the situation especially in understanding their needs, concerns and give them a sense of stability and surety. Continue to provide support to the partners by ensuring they are operating within government directives and giving a helping hand should they be facing any difficulties. A check-in is always much appreciated in such challenging times while working hand-in-hand to keep operations going. For example, Eaton China supported its key plastic supplier in resuming production by helping to facilitate its check for compliance and execution of COVID-19 control.  Meanwhile, when one of its suppliers was encountering a lack of essential epidemic prevention supplies, Eaton lent a hand to prevent its supplier's manufacturing facilities from being shut done.

Be committed to supporting the wider communities in need

Speed, efficiency and reliability of the anti-epidemic actions were of utmost importance with the virus fast spreading across many cities. As corporations, we can contribute by working with local governments to devote efforts and resources in supporting communities in need. For example, during the early outbreak of the pandemic, Eaton and its electrical partners and distributors came together to provide power solutions for two new field hospitals in Wuhan that were constructed in just 10 days. With the help and collaboration of several organizations, the two hospitals were built and ready to take in patients infected with COVID-19.

We are also seeing many organizations stepping up to provide their expertise such as the creation of tools and platforms using big data to track COVID-19 cases. This includes Microsoft's contact tracing app that was newly launched in Japan in June and Eaton's real-time interactive dashboard that helps the Indian government and state police track and monitor COVID-19 cases and quarantine centres in Puducherry, India.

As a global corporation, Eaton is committed to responsibly supporting our communities and the society at large. In this spirit, Eaton launched a new, enhanced employee match program (2:1 to any donation our employees made) in all its facilities globally, that designed to direct funding to where it's needed most. The funds have been channelled to groups and organizations delivering medical services, relief supplies and support services in the communities. For instance, Eaton Philippines site contributed 4,000 pcs of 3M N95 masks to the local community to help alleviate its PPE shortage.

What's next?

With the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, it's important for organizations to continue monitoring the fluid situation and navigate through the crisis by assessing and reacting fast while taking care of both internal and external stakeholders. "We really appreciate the hard work from HR, Corporate Communications, EHS, Business Unites and every single contribution from our employees within the organization," Cally said. "And as we reimagine the new normal, it's necessary for organizations to continue to explore ways to support the business in adjusting and envisaging any possible shifts in the industry as the world continues to fight against the virus."

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