COVID-19 – the first step for businesses to perfect HR policies

December 23, 2021 | 10:26
While 2021 is still a challenging year, businesses head to technology application and the digital space to operate and strengthen working processes as well as maintain the office culture.
COVID-19 – the first step for businesses to perfect HR policies
Novartis has been ensuring productivity without sacrificing employee benefits during COVID-19

2021 will go down in history due to the challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic not only affecting social life but also bringing waves of transformation for businesses around the globe.

The pandemic has completely changed business staffing. HR managers must not only seek out the latest technology but also have to adjust their internal policies to reassure employees in terms of both physical and mental life.

As one of the leaders of a multinational enterprise with more than 110,000 employees globally, Amitabh Dube, country president of Novartis Vietnam, said: ”The COVID-19 pandemic challenges business leaders and HR managers to prepare for current difficulties and an unpredictable future by enhancing resiliency and flexibility.”

"Since the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, as leaders, we need to take short-term decisions to soften the current shock and also to prepare for the long-term sustainability of our people and our business. At Novartis Vietnam, we constantly remind ourselves that the best way to overcome this pandemic is to focus on the welfare of our employees and also educate the stakeholder community," he added.

Vietnam Best Place to Work

In 2021, thanks to the reasonable, fast, and timely internal policies responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, Novartis continued to be honoured in the top 100 of Vietnam Best Places to Work.

COVID-19 – the first step for businesses to perfect HR policies
Amitabh Dube received the “Vietnam Best Place to Work” certificate

COVID-19 has been causing a lot of difficulties for the economy and businesses. However, Novartis fully maintained its HR regimes according to global policies and provided employees support through many welfare policies to promote creativity and keep up the working spirit.

There have been no pay cuts for employees and there were many training activities to improve skills and job performance even during the prolonged periods of remote work. Furthermore, Novartis also offers workers a sponsorship of $1,000 for their working corner at home so that they can purchase the necessary equipment and design their workstation when working from home.

Besides, with the criteria of "Work-from-home, not home for work" for employees’ work-life balance, Novartis has proactively adjusted and cut down on online meeting time and pledged not to hold meetings on Friday afternoons. Also, Novartis has fully equipped its employees with epidemic prevention knowledge, masks and antiseptic solutions, and prepared specialised clinics for advice and support on employees’ health issues to effectively protect and create peace of mind for employees to overcome the challenges of the pandemic.

According to Novartis representatives, even before the pandemic, the company has applied the working model of Choice with Responsibility that offers associates the choice to decide how, where, and when they work. It is the result of data analysis in many years to unleash the potential power of employees, which demonstrates Novartis' spirit of innovation for workers.

Novartis' vision in corporate social responsibility

Not only implementing staff-specific HR policies, Novartis also shares the medical burdens with the community in this hard time.

Contributing to addressing the problem of overcrowding in upper-level hospitals and raising health awareness for Vietnamese people, from 2020, Novartis has collaborated with medical centres in many provinces to implement primary healthcare programmes for more than 20,000 people.

COVID-19 – the first step for businesses to perfect HR policies
Novartis shares the medical burdens with the community by contributing to the government's epidemic prevention and control efforts

At the same time, the company has also made a lot of contributions to the digital transformation of the local health sector. Specifically, Novartis has successfully applied the Docquity platform in organising activities and programmes to update knowledge for medical teams in Vietnam, which allows doctors to search for medical information without time or place restrictions; or collaborated with many health organisations and the Hello Bac Si platform to raise health awareness in the community. Hence, Novartis was the only pharmaceutical company to receive the Certificate of Merit from the Ministry of Health for its outstanding contributions to the digital transformation of the health industry in 2020.

Moreover, Novartis has contributed to the government's epidemic prevention and control through different programmes such as donation of health facilities and equipment through Eurocham Pharma Group and Ho Chi Minh City Red Cross. Especially, the company supported the initiatives of six medical universities in the country to train more than 1,800 medical students as frontline healthcare workers responding to the outbreak. With excellent achievements in training and building capabilities for healthcare professionals in general and active contributions to the pandemic control and prevention in particular, Novartis was recognised by the Ministry of Health with the Certificate of Merit on the occasion of its global 25th anniversary this year.

During the strict lockdown in Ho Chi Minh City to control the fourth pandemic outbreak, to maintain an uninterrupted supply of Novartis medicines, its warehouse team volunteered to stay in the warehouse 24/7 and apply “three on the site” principle for several weeks to ensure supply continuity of Novartis medicines for patients’ treatment.

Joining hands to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, Novartis has gradually implemented both its HR policies and community activities, demonstrating its commitment to long-term and sustainable development in Vietnam. At the same time, these policies reaffirm trust from both staff working at Novartis and future candidates.

By Bich Thuy

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