Changing with the Times
The effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) have been felt across the business and around the world. As the situation evolved, Synchrony Global Services Philippines, Inc. decisively put plans and protocols in place to support the health, wellness, and safety of their employees across the globe.
Prior to the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon and Cebu, Synchrony has enforced precautionary measures to protect their employees. This included increased cleaning of their sites; distribution of additional hand sanitizers throughout all possible locations, including company shuttles; promoting physical care and proper handwashing techniques among associates; carrying out temperature scanning in their sites; eliminating large group gatherings; restricting business travel and required reporting of personal travel. They also reconfigured workspaces to spread out teams who needed to be in their offices, going beyond the standard social distancing guidelines from the CDC (Center for Disease Control & Prevention); and added on-site healthcare professionals at their largest sites.
When the ECQ was enforced by the government, Synchrony was allowed to continue operating with a skeletal workforce, as their industry was one of the few considered vital in supporting economic health and stability. Nonetheless, they introduced additional programs to ensure the comfort, health and productivity of their teams.
Providing for Employees First
One of the first steps taken by Synchrony’s leadership was to contract hotels near their Manila office in Alabang to accommodate employees much closer to work. Transportation services were provided to and from these hotels, as well as free onsite meals. In addition, employees were given a generous onsite allowance per day that they report for work.
Other employees who did not have to leave their homes received financial assistance equivalent to their daily basic pay. These included those who were 60 or older, pregnant, or with underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or lung disease. The home quarantine assistance did not have any impact on their leave credits.
Similarly, employees in their Cebu site were provided flexible work arrangements including near-site temporary accommodations and likewise, free onsite meals, transportation arrangements, and onsite work support allowances.
Stepping Into the Future
Synchrony Philippines has taken another step forward by focusing on moving all employees to work from home. Desktop units have been delivered to employees’ homes to equip them with the tools needed to provide excellent customer service, amplified by the extension of a daily work allowance for call-taking staff during the introductory period. They also extended a monthly data communications allowance to cover employee-provided internet connection, a one-time reimbursement of speed upgrades for those with internet connection below 5mbps, and pocket wi-fi or fixed broadband solutions for those without internet at home.
To ensure the well-being of the people at the heart of their business, Synchrony Philippines has reinforced on benefits and financial aid, among these – covering the cost of co-pays for virtual doctor consultations, a Special Wellness Pay-out to help with the purchase of necessities and other health provisions during the quarantine period, prorated 13th-month pay from January to March 2020, and a one-time, special bonus for associates and front-line leaders in their contact centers, regardless if they were part of the skeletal workforce, working from home, or under enhanced quarantine, as a token of gratitude for the essential role they were playing in assisting customers.
With fewer people coming into their sites, Synchrony Philippines’ leadership believe that they are better able to protect the health and wellbeing of their team members, as well as their respective families and communities, by reducing the risk of exposure and spread of the disease.
Most importantly in this time of crisis, Synchrony acknowledges that the communities where they belong to play a significant part of who they are. This is why they are committed to giving back and has pledged USD $5 million to help local and international organizations assist areas that have been gravely affected by COVID-19. They are currently supporting groups such as Feeding America and Meals on Wheels in the US, Gawad Kalinga in the Philippines, and other such organizations in Puerto Rico and India.
The Synchrony family continues to be guided by their values, and the main hallmark of their culture is being a company that cares. Although faced with uncertainty in these extraordinary times, Synchrony rallies their people to be better together by making informed decisions, working as One Synchrony and acting with care and empathy towards each other, their partners, their customers and their communities.
Xyris loves to look at life through a broader lens. She is a certified bookworm, occasional writer, intrepid traveler and design enthusiast. She likes to create and breathe vibrancy to things. When not organizing events, she is a content contributor for GPTW PH and likewise handles corporate matters. A happy wife and a doting mom, she finds joy in unique experiences and believes that everyone has the potential for greatness.
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