Employees’ welfare should always come first, said Mr. Arsenio Sabado, chief human resources officer of Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC), during the 19th Development Policy Research Month kick-off forum last September.
“Our founder Tony Tan Caktiong has always believed that people should be at the heart of our business, and this fundamental principle guided us through the leadership decisions we made last year,” he said as a discussant in the forum.
According to Sabado, their people have become the corporation’s pillar and source of strength and inspiration amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
To ensure the well-being of their workforce during the crisis, Sabado related that JFC allocated PHP 1 billion pesos as emergency fund to provide the full salaries, allowances, and 13th month pay of their employees. They also gave special premium pay and additional meals to store-based workers during the implementation of the community quarantines.
Sabado also shared JFC’s initiatives to create stability, provide security, and instill confidence among their workforce through frequent and timely communication of business developments. This gave updates on how the business was doing and showed appreciation for the efforts of individuals and teams.
They also launched The Hive, an employee communications intranet portal to COVID-19-related information and the company’s response efforts. “The Hive also served as a platform for [our] employees worldwide to build a stronger sense of community as one JFC,” Sabado added.
Recognizing the pandemic’s toll on its people's mental and emotional well-being, JFC also launched a mental health hotline to provide their employees with free counseling.
These best practices earned JFC a spot in the 2020 Forbes’ list of the World’s Best Employers and as the first and only Philippine company to be given the Gallup Organization’s Exceptional Workplace Award.
According to Sabado, these awards affirm JFC’s commitment to being a best-in-class workplace that values and takes good care of people, especially during difficult times like the ongoing pandemic.  
“We are not out of the woods yet. There remains plenty of challenges and uncertainties in the months ahead. However, the fundamental truth is this: we must continue doing our best to put people first. This will be the key to our success in this new normal and the vital enabler of our vision to become one of the top five restaurant companies in the world,” he concluded.
You may watch the webinar at https://www.facebook.com/PIDS.PH/videos/854765825174584/ or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4Jc3Jcpj54&t=158s. For more videos of PIDS events, go to https://www.pids.gov.ph/videos.

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