Practical Responses to COVID-19: 3/20/2020 Summary
Monday, March 23, 2020
Posted by: JoAnna Leon
Highlights of ways your industry peers are minimizing contamination while addressing employee and customer concerns
The COVID-19 global pandemic is like nothing the modern world — and today’s supply chains — have faced before. Yet, even as they face of the unknown, your WERC peers are doing what they do best: developing solutions to unforeseen challenges in a changing environment.
On Friday, March 20, a panel of industry insiders participated in a WERC webinar to share what they’ve been doing to maintain operations, as well as to protect and communicate with employees and customers. Here are some of the highlights across a range of topics, including people and labor management; customer assurance; communications; and safety measures.
- Jeremy Banta, Program Coordinator - Supply Chain Management, Columbus State Community College
- Graciela Cruz, Director of Global Planning, Amway
- Brian Devine, Senior Vice President, EmployBridge
- Deb Parmé, Vice President, Global Supply Chain Planning, Amway
- Megan Smith, CEO, Symbia Logistics
- Greg Younghans, President, Reliable Management Solutions
To start the session, Brian Devine shared three slides detailing up-to-the-minute insights from a survey conducted on March 19, 2020 of more than 10,000 EmployBridge associates:
1. Are your work hours being affected by COVID-19?
No – 53% (6,352 responses)
Decreasing – 38% (4,544 responses)
Increasing – 10% (1,173 responses)
2. Has your workplace taken additional precautions to decrease risks associated with COVID-19?
Yes – 73% (8,333 responses)
No – 27% (3,102 responses) – Brian interprets this as those precautions are taking place behind the scenes and not being well communicated to associates.
3. On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being the highest), how concerned are you about COVID-19? (10,408 total responses)
7-10 – 7,021 responses
4-6 – 1,909 responses
1-3 – 1,478 responses
4. What are you most concerned about right now? (10,262 total responses)
Top three concerns:
Your job/income – 4,418 responses
Your family’s health – 2,982 responses
Your health – 1,682 responses
The following measures are currently being implemented by panelists.
Employee / Customer Communication
- Frequent employee communication via text, email, internal messaging systems
- Creating a daily e-newsletter (also posted to website as a blog) from the CEO sent out at the same time each day with the latest updates, targeted to both employees and customers
Facilities and Labor Management
- Limiting visitors to all facilities to just essential vendors needed to support ongoing business; Suspended truck driver entrance into facility, meeting them outside to minimize contact
- Reinforcing social distancing by rearranging workspaces to keep stations at least 6 feet apart, putting more time between shifts to limit interaction during changeovers, and staggering break times to limit the number of people congregating in the same area
- Suspending shift start-up group meetings; Providing work assignments as individuals come in; More on one-on-one communication with supervisors and leaders in operations
- For families that lack childcare, considering creating alternate shifts (overnight) to allow parents to be home with kids during the day
- Non-essential employees mandated to work at home
- Employees deemed essential to operations being paid time-and-a-half for coming into work; If they are unable to come in to work due to illness or childcare, they are still being paid full-time wages (this has done wonders for morale)
- Self-certify your employees as essential by using a document prepared by IWLA; Distribute on company letterhead and signed by a company official to all essential employees to carry with them (in glove box) in case they are stopped by authorities on way to or from work in states where shelter-in-place orders are in effect
- Hiring/new hire orientation – some operations have suspended hiring for now; Operations that must hire/train new employees are minimizing groups to 10 people or fewer
- Moving application process to online
- Temporary suspension of drug screening and criminal background checks to limit potential exposure
- Implement video-based interviewing
- Consider an alternative workforce if you are short staffed; Many teachers, students, and hospitality industry staffers are out of school and/or work at the moment and might be a good resource
- Making hand sanitizer and wipes available to staffers
- Working with customers/suppliers to keep personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitizer and wipes in stock; manufacturing on site if possible
- Explaining to employees why they need to use cleaning supplies, establishing cleaning protocols and demonstrating how they should be followed
- Requiring wipe downs/sanitation of shared equipment at start/end of shifts, breaks, etc.
- Increased frequency of cleaning across all common areas — restrooms, breakrooms, areas outside break areas — anywhere people are generally congregating gets an increased amount of cleaning
- If a business did not have a plan before, develop a strategy for how to manage a government required facility closure and suspension of service; Consider what to do before, during, and after the suspension
- Create a phone tree of current employees and customers; Make sure customer info is up-to-date
- If unable to ship/deliver product to customers in an area that has been closed, take the order and inform the customer they will receive it as soon as restrictions have been lifted
- Have a protocol in place if an employee tests positive for COVID-19, such as shut down for 24-48 hours to appropriately clean and disinfect the facility and scrap affected product
- When this crisis passes, plan to review what happened and how things could have been better handled, then document it all into a plan for future use in the next catastrophic event
The full recording of the webinar is available for viewing here.
Additionally, WERC has created a page of COVID-19 resources that is being updated daily at werc.org/covid-19.