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Human Resources talks exclusively with Philip Lee, HR director, Asia Pacific for The Clorox Company on what his organisation is doing to protect the morale and health of employees in times of crisis

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How is Clorox keeping its employees safe and engaged during the ongoing challenge of the pandemic?
To support the health and safety of our employees and communities, all those who can have been working from home. For those who have critical work that must be conducted on-site, we’ve established appropriate work schedules and instituted safety and hygiene measures, including temperature scans, staggered meals and breaks, physical distancing practices, and increased disinfection protocols at all facilities. It’s essential that we keep our on-site people safe, informed and connected during times of uncertainty. 

We’ve also committed US$1 million (HK$7.75 million) to our global employee relief fund to help provide additional support for those employees who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. We’ve enhanced pay and incentives for our on-site employees.

We are also supporting greater flexibility around sick-pay and work hours, as well as providing home-office support. Employee safety and well-being has always been a top priority for Clorox, and we will continue to manage and enhance our efforts as we navigate COVID-19 in the near- and long-term.

How has your HR role changed during COVID-19?
With COVID-19, we’ve been in uncharted waters. Throughout, we’ve taken a thoughtful approach – while also moving quickly and flexibly – in finding ways to support our people and keep our workplace safe for those whose essential duties require them to be on-site. HR has served as a trusted advisor to our leaders and managers and played an impactful role in driving our commitment to put people at the centre.

You mentioned that Clorox is leading with “compassionate and objective-based management”. Can you elaborate on this?
As a company we understand our response to COVID-19 isn’t just about lifting and shifting work from the office to home. We know our people are all managing different and sometimes challenging situations – kids, elderly parents, small spaces.

All this can create stress. At Clorox, being compassionate means explicitly saying it’s OK if we hear children’s laughter and screams in the background as you speak, it’s OK if you are not as accessible as you would be if you were working in the office, and it’s OK if you cannot participate in a meeting that you normally would if you were in the office.

We understand, and we’re finding ways to balance and accommodate people’s needs while continuing to keep the business moving forward. Supporting and continuing to drive the business forward is where objective-based management comes into play. We are radically prioritising, focusing on results, and not getting hung up on the when and where.

Our managers are continually engaging with team members, who develop their work plan and establish their delivery timelines. This helps people feel good about being able to take care of life’s priorities while getting things done at work. This is a paradigm shift, and it means more work for leaders and managers, for sure. As far as our experience, this approach has proven very effective.

How would you rate the healthcare component of employee benefits at Clorox?
No doubt COVID-19 is creating stress and anxiety. We recognise it. We have a number of resources and are offering free access to Calm, a global app that is designed to help people relax, practice mindfulness and get better sleep.

We’re also making sure we’re connecting regularly as a company and keeping people well informed. We think compassionate leadership and objective-based management also helps reduce potential stress by providing our people greater flexibility to manage their life and work.