Friday, July 30, 2021, IBCWE together with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and United Nation Multi-Partner Trust Funds (UN MPTF) held the first episode of a webinar series, Developing Family Friendly Policies in Connection to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
These are key takeaways from the sharing session of PT Unilever Indonesia represented by Mr. Willy Saelan, HR Director of PT Unilever Indonesia and PT L'Oréal Indonesia represented by Mrs. Yenita Oktora, HR Director of PT L'Oréal Indonesia. There is so much to learn and develop from their experiences.
What are the family-friendly policies implemented by Unilever Indonesia and L'Oréal Indonesia?
Unilever Indonesia already had women and family friendly policies long before this pandemic. During the pandemic, we tried to understand first by conducting an employee survey related to wellbeing (822 employees).
Unilever Indonesia found different needs in each employee. Women, including young mothers or newly married women, are the group that gets the main attention in implementing policies/regulations.
Based on the survey, Unilever Indonesia understands that working women who already have families have a heavier burden, especially during a pandemic like this. They have to prepare meals and prepare their children to be ready for school from home and its facilities.
So, Unilever Indonesia tried to formulate and enforce new regulations that were communicated to the CEO as well as all employees.
The meeting should not be earlier than 08.30 am because parents have to prepare their children.
Every 12.00-01.00 pm, the communication department blocks time so there is no meeting because family members demand housewives to eat together or at least prepare food.
The meeting must be finished by 6.00 pm because they need to return to their families.
Block schedule on calendar as time to focus at least one hour per day. It's better to schedule it a week or two in advance, before another meeting is scheduled.
Friday afternoons are advised not to have a formal meeting because it is a time for focus and development.
“Before Ied, we had tried the working from office system with a capacity of up to 20% with certain permits and the intention was for wellbeing. Because we also hear, especially for female employees, they want to work from the office for their well-being. Not to leave the family, but they need some time to focus on work," said Willy Saelan, HR Director of Unilever Indonesia.
Before the pandemic, we already had a system of working from home one day a month, then started adding another two days a month until finally one day a week. So when the pandemic started, culturally, habitually and in terms of infrastructure it was already built.
In addition, L'Oréal Indonesia also have several policies or activities that can be adjusted, such as:
Conduct employee engagement surveys to really listen to employees' opinions. From the survey, L'Oréal tries to identify their persona. This makes it easier to map out the benefits that are needed.
Having the myFlex program, which allows employees to adjust their benefit plan as long as it is still under the umbrella of to care, to protect, to enjoy, to share with the family. For example, for employees who already have family, it can be used for a staycation or if you like sports you can buy shoes.
Have an Employee Assistance Program for employees to chat with psychologists over the phone, cooperate with hotlines so that employees can communicate with doctors, ask questions about hospitals, and also make talk shows with doctors and financial planners to prepare them for this crisis.
Although not 100%, we try to provide allowances for home office setups such as buying a work desk, work chair, and etc.
How is the process of formulating a policy or regulation and what are the challenges faced?
"There's no one size fits all policy," said Willy Saelan.
It is necessary to determine what the needs of each employee are so that the company and employees can support each other through appropriate policies or regulations. Unilever Indonesia does this in several ways:
Looking back at the company concept, what their goals, vision, and mission are.
It's also important to listen to what employees really need.
After that we try to combine these two.
It is necessary to ensure that these policies and regulations do not attack other groups. Always make sure when formulating something, we understand where we are going, we examine how we are doing it and explain why we are doing this.
Because one of the company's goals is the empowerment of women. Sometimes there are questions "why do women always come first? Why not men?"
For example, at Unilever, women in the sales division get a car but she has to drive by herself (junior level), but when this woman is in late pregnancy, it is difficult for her to drive by herself and it becomes less safe for them too, so Unilever provides chauffeur services. When there are male employees who then compare the benefits, the situation must also be explained.
“Women empowerment is treating women like women, not making women into men.” said Willy Saelan.
“The mindset that must be built is; when your employees are happy and engaged they will be productive and stay longer in the company.” Yenita Oktora said.
L'Oréal Indonesia does this in several ways:
Starting from finding out what employees want and need.
Formulate strategies based on input from employees
When pitching an idea to management it must be step by step to see the level of reluctance.
If management has agreed and is willing to try, try the strategy within the specified timeframe. If successful, develop again. If not, evaluate.
How is performance management managed by Unilever Indonesia and L'Oréal Indonesia at this time and how did it start?
There is initial trust in employees for them to be able to set their own schedule.
If an employee has to work overtime, his or her supervisor must provide a clear reason that this employee will indeed be working overtime because Unilever Indonesia has strict restrictions on not working over and violating the law.
Provide a framework at the beginning such as what targets to achieve, the targets are mutually agreed, the leader just needs to check how far the progress is, if there are obstacles, they can offer assistance.
Equipping leadership skills for leaders to face the pandemic crisis with coaches. For example, before starting the meeting, first ask how the crew is doing. Be Empathetic, try to understand the complaints, grievances, and difficulties of team members. “Two questions I often get asked are "how are you doing personally?" and "how are you doing professionally?" said Willy Saelan.
Everyone's leadership skills may be different but the framework must remain the same.
Take a look at the company culture. In L'Oréal, there are 8 cultures that we try to inculcate in our daily life. For example, Frame and Trust, how a senior or leader provides a framework regarding targets for her or his team, then they trust their employees to do it. Then there is Empowerment, how seniors or superiors must empower employees, not to micromanage so that they can manage their own work well. Some of these cultural values can be used for performance management.
Then do a test and learn to see whether it is in line with the company’s vision and mission.
Provide a space for employees to give feedback and input to their leader. So leaders can also continue to grow and adapt to the team members.
To know this session in more detail, you can watch the video on the IBCWE Youtube Channel. And don't miss the webinar series episode 2!
6 August, 2021
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