In a company where “pampamilyang malasakit” or family-like concern is the norm, employees respond and show their appreciation by being highly motivated and engaged—even paying it forward to also elevate their own communities.
Such is the case for renewable energy leader Energy Development Corporation (EDC), whose genuine concern for its employees stood out through its Tindog EDC program for employees, communities and customers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
These efforts have earned EDC a citation for industrial peace and harmony from the Employees Confederation of the Philippines’ (ECP) recently concluded 2021 Kapatid Awards, which underscores the crucial parts of forging a sustainable partnership between management and employees to ensure business growth and employee satisfaction.
Keeping employees whole amid the pandemic
EDC, which has been generating 100% clean, reliable, round-the-clock power for the country for almost 40 years now, has always prided itself for having above average employee benefits as part of its total employee value proposition.
The COVID-19 pandemic that began last year was a different story and one that truly tested EDC’s commitment to its core Lopez value of employee welfare and wellness. After all, a company’s resilience and genuine concern for its employees are always tested during a crisis.
While other companies had to cut down on employee cost and require their staff to still come to the office to work, EDC did the opposite by being a step ahead of the pandemic. “We kept thinking, ‘What else should we be doing?’ To guide our actions, we spoke to our employees often, through townhalls, surveys and countless personal calls made by the leadership team throughout the organization,” said EDC president and chief operating officer Richard B. Tantoco in his message in the company’s recently released 2020 Integrated Report.
Tantoco also wrote a series of personal emails to all employees to keep reminding them to attend to their family’s needs and safety first, and to prepare for what’s to come as the pandemic began. Apart from distributing close to two million face masks that it has accumulated since 2015, EDC brought more comfortable office chairs and the necessary equipment to the homes of its employees. Benefits were repurposed and additional support for creative as well as other pursuits was given to keep its workforce whole and thriving.
In line with helping partner communities build their resilience against COVID-19 as well as to keep locally based employees and their families safe, EDC provided RT-PCR machines as well as other medical equipment and supplies to their respective local government units. The donations allowed these LGUs to put up their own molecular testing centers, which was crucial in stemming the transmission of the virus in the grassroots level.
Tindog EDC is the company’s way of elevating both its employees and communities in fulfillment of its revitalized mission to forge collaborative pathways for a decarbonized and regenerative future. For EDC, being regenerative means going beyond sustainability that merely seeks to do less harm, by uplifting the lives of its stakeholders as they transform them into partners in healing the planet.
Strong labor relations and employee appreciation
All these efforts made by EDC’s management did not go unappreciated by its employees, including its labor unions.
EDC’s management and its 13 labor unions have built a strong relationship founded on mutual trust and transparency that resulted in improved collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations year after year. From having separate CBAs with them, all of which have concluded in just one session since 2012, all labor unions have agreed to negotiate as a unified and single bargaining panel in 2020 and have set aside their respective union’s individual interests to secure industrial peace in EDC. To ensure everyone’s safety, virtual conferencing facilities were used and agreements were reached with all unions in a series of four meetings.
According to Yahya Centi, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Regional Director for Region 8–Eastern Visayas who was party to the CBA conclusion, the successful outcome is a first in the history of labor relations in the Philippines where a CBA was negotiated, concluded and signed all via digital platform. This statement was also substantiated by the Philippine League of Labor–Management Cooperation Practitioners Inc. (PHILAMCOP). According to a benchmarking done by the industry organization, there were no other online CBA negotiations done in 2020. Furthermore, no express expenses were incurred by both the management and union panels in successfully concluding its Collective Bargaining Agreements for the period of January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2021.
EDC employees have once again shown their strong appreciation toward management’s pandemic efforts through the record-high overall engagement score of 95% in the Employee Engagement Survey conducted by Willis Towers Watson in early 2021. This is eight percent higher than the average score of Philippine organizations.
Clearly, EDC and its almost 1,500-strong workforce did not waste the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity to express their genuine concern for each other. Throughout these challenging times, EDC has truly lived up to its promise of standing by the side of its stakeholders through thick or thin.