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Olam Cocoa awarded for top COVID management initiative at SBR Management Excellence Awards

They were awarded for introducing initiatives in the manufacturing industry.

During this period of uncertainty, Olam Cocoa Pte. Ltd. made every effort to support their employees in weathering the storm against the COVID-19.

Apart from employer preparedness, response, and control plans, workplace factors were also considered by the employer such as studying the feasibility of social distancing in the workplace, implementing flexible work arrangement, and introduction of ways to prevent and reduce transmission amongst employees.

Other issues such as actively promoting high levels of hygiene in the workplace, maximising health and well-being solutions, expanding virtual care, and addressing mental and behavioral support for employees were also put into light by Olam Cocoa Pte. Ltd.

For these efforts, Olam Cocoa Pte. Ltd. won the COVID Management Initiative of the Year - Manufacturing award in the recently concluded Singapore Business Review Management Excellence Awards.

This annual awards programme recognises excellent executives, innovators and teams, as well as HR and company initiatives that promote the well-being of employees.

With a total of 180 employees in Singapore and 81,000 worldwide in over 60 countries, the company was awarded for three highlighted efforts that were implemented during the pandemic.

First is having successfully set up the Antigen Rapid Test (ART) Centre, isolation rooms, and segregation of areas for different departments.

The ART Test Centre in the company is where all employees, contractors, interns, and visitors perform their COVID-19 test using the provided ART test kits. These kits are regularly packed to ensure sufficient supply needed as tests are done weekly for employees and daily for contractors. Should any person test positive, he or she is led to one of the company’s isolation rooms.

This initiative was pushed by Olam Cocoa Pte. Ltd. to safeguard its employees and their families against the virus.

The second highlighted accomplishment is the implementation of Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA) for employees.

In particular, two types of FWA were offered: the Office Flex Time and Flexi-Place (work from home) options.

In Office Flex Time, there are five types of flexi-time slots comprising eight hours each. From the chosen time slot, employees are required to specify the start and end date in the application. The maximum duration per application is four weeks.

The other option is called Flexi-Place, where employees have the option of choosing the number of days working from home. Employees can apply for up to seven days in a month.

Olam Cocoa Pte. Ltd. also gifted their employees working full-time with the Family Leave. This allows them to use three working days per year to take care of their children, spouse, or parents—on top of the regular leaves they already have.

Meanwhile, foreign employees are also granted the Special Home Leave, which they can use to return to and work from Malaysia in case they need to attend to their family’s needs.

Olam Cocoa also plans to launch the Flexi-Benefit Program in early year 2022. The aim of this benefits is  to promote personal health, personal development, and help employees achieve total well-being.

Lastly, considering the number of employees the company has worldwide, it was able to oversee staff welfare during the COVID-19 pandemic through constant communication.

Since the company applied to get an exemption from the government to allow a certain number of its employees to operate in the company during the Circuit Breaker, Olam Cocoa Pte. Ltd. took it upon itself to relay up-to-date information from the government regarding measures, policies, and announcements related to COVID-19 and the current situation. Videos that are educational and informative were created through the company’s enhanced communication channel for faster dissemination of information.

To further ensure that these employees are safe and well-educated about the virus, the company has utilised its e-mail communication, E-Boards (TV), as well as its corporate newsletter, Cocoa Bytes. It was found that 70% of the company’s workforce were reached and informed through the company’s intensive communication initiative.

According to Olam Cocoa Pte. Ltd., protecting its employees has been a top-of-mind concern especially since the pandemic started.

“In this period of uncertainty, it is important that, as an employer, we are making every effort to support our employees; to continue to meet their needs and demonstrate compassionate leadership through awareness, vulnerability, and empathy,” the management of Olam Cocoa Pte. Ltd. said.

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