The years 2020 and 2021 were undoubtedly unusual and very difficult times for everyone. It was a severe test of our organization’s agility, culture, and our collective skills. With most activities coming to a standstill, EDC acted decisively and went beyond being a leader in the renewable energy industry by looking after all its stakeholders. Management was at the forefront of those efforts but the employees themselves stepped-up to help the company and their fellow employees. As a result, everyone remained productive during the pandemic and the Company managed to obtain an overall engagement score of 95 from its 2021 Employee Engagement Survey (which was done through Willis Towers Watson Engagement Survey platform) held early in the year. This proved that the employees themselves remained highly-engaged and appreciative of their overall work experiences during the ongoing pandemic.
We made all these possible through our values and regenerative purpose, along with our behaviors of Accountability, Performance Orientation, Collaboration, and Safety (or collectively referred to as “APCS”), which are clearly demonstrated in the following achievements:
Building partnerships that result in progressive employee relations
Our commitment to open dialogue, transparent negotiations, and progressive employee relations have built strong partnerships with our 13 unions and led to significant improvements in our CBA negotiations through the years. In the past, negotiations were done per union, holding several meetings before coming to an agreement. During the 2012-2013 cycle, however, each union negotiation was concluded in just one session. This was followed in 2014 by a unified CBA negotiation, comprising of all six (6) Rank and File (RF) unions, who likewise agreed to have their members covered by “performance-based merit increases” instead of the “general increases” (or “CBA blows”) that were determined in previous negotiations. This was a clear show of our unions’ support for the company’s new performance management system.
Our four (4) Professional/Technical (PT) (including Supervisory) unions duplicated this feat in 2015 by having their own unified CBA negotiation concluded in just one meeting. These successes further encouraged both management and the unions to have unified CBA negotiations with seven RF unions and four PT unions in the same year. Both were concluded in just one session.
This paved the way for the potential streamlining of CBA anniversaries in 2020, wherein the plan was to hold simultaneous negotiations with EDC’s ten unions. This was significant because this would be the first time that said unions, which represent employees across different locations and two employee groups (i.e., RF = 5 unions, PT = 5 unions), would negotiate as a unified and single bargaining panel. This was made possible by the noble gesture of our union leaders to set aside their respective unions’ individual interests to secure industrial peace in the company. Management truly appreciated the gesture and recognized that such an opportunity was brought about by the harmonious relationship that existed between management and the unions.
When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in the first quarter of 2020, however, EDC was forced to impose work-from-home and shelter-in-place work arrangements in its different offices and power plant facilities to protect the health and safety of its workers and their families. But this did not prevent the Company from proceeding with its simultaneous 2020 CBA negotiations because it wanted to sustain the goodwill and trust it had cultivated with the unions.
Virtual conferencing facilities were used, and agreements were reached with all ten unions in a series of four meetings. The successful outcome was truly a “first of its kind” achievement for labor relations, employee engagement, and internal communications in our country. 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.
The outcome of the CBA negotiations also surpassed the economic benefits that were previously agreed upon, as both parties delivered the following improvements in employee benefits:
• Rice Allowance Improvement • Increase in Overtime (OT) Meal Allowance • Flexible Uniform Allowance
The unions attained these economic benefits for 1,488 employees.
In recognition of the momentous achievement of the unified, simultaneous, and online CBA negotiations, both parties also agreed to the following one-time bonuses:
• Signing Bonus • Online CBA Milestone Bonus
The conclusion of these ten Collective Bargaining Agreements is the pinnacle in the proud history of collaboration between EDC management and its workers’ associations. This is also the first time in the history of labor relations in the Philippines that a collective bargaining agreement was negotiated, concluded, and signed all via digital platform, according to Director Yahya Centi, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Regional Director for Region 8/Eastern Visayas who was party to the CBA conclusion. This statement was also substantiated by the Philippine League of LaborManagement Cooperation Practitioners Inc. (PHILAMCOP). According to benchmarking done by the industry organization, there were no other online CBA negotiations done in 2020.
Growth culture of Agile mindset and supporting Continuous Improvement Initiatives
In support of an always-on transformation mindset, EDC promotes a Continuous Improvement (CI) program to empower employees to think, recommend, and implement their ideas and solutions at work. We believe that the aggregate of many “small” improvements can provide the most impressive achievements.
The COVID-19 pandemic could not deter the CI program as employees completed 2,400 CI ideas that resulted in about PHP 2,735 million total value (total savings and additional revenue generation) in 2021 alone. The company also strengthened its Agile approach in doing work. To date, we have about 160 agile squads and 112 agile advocates who helped drive different projects and programs of the company creating PHP 23 B in value generation.
Employees also took an active role in developing health and safety protocols for their work activities, even as they had to learn and adapt to their new working conditions. Notably, our COVID-19 Health Officer Joel Ygnacio personally coordinated vaccinations for his colleagues on shelter-inplace (SIP) duty. He anticipated that individual appointments may disrupt their work activities, so he arranged special on-site vaccinations through his friends and former students in the LGU. “Squads” were also formed to address work-related concerns, and the squad members themselves thought of the solutions which management allowed them to implement. This likewise became a learning process for our employees and they eventually became more confident in coming forward with their own ideas for continuous improvement.
Since employees spent more time at home (because of their WFH arrangement) or in the facilities (as a result of the SIP work arrangement), the Company also promoted continuous improvement for the personal growth and overall well-being of employees by encouraging them to pursue their passion and personal interests outside of work. This became the Special Interest Development Program (SIDP). Through the SIDP, the Company provided a Special Interest Development (SID) grant of five thousand pesos (PHP 5,000.00), which employees could use to subsidize expenses from the pursuit of their personal or special interests. The program initially ran from May 1 to December 10, 2020 but it has been extended to 2021. A total of 1,142 employees took part in this program.
The “top 5” special interests of employees were identified to be activities or programs related to physical fitness and wellness (177), baking (104), biking (104), welding/fabrication works and metal works (95), and woodworking/carpentry (79). Despite the disruptions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, we were committed to the growth of our future organization leaders. The Young Officers Development Academy of EDC, more popularly known as YODA, was also launched in 2020. To date, YODA has 45 participants, whose managerial and technical competencies, and leadership skills and capabilities are being developed.
EDC is “future-proofing” its business processes and procedures by embracing digital innovations and infrastructure. These include the Workday platform introduced by Human Resources Management Group (to serve as the single source of employee information and HR-related processes and procedures) and the Happay platform (for all finance, accounting, and payables transactions) launched by the Finance Group. Other examples were the Enterprise Asset Management system and Supply Chain Management procurement system.
A healthy and safe workforce delivering reliable affordable clean energy
Resiliency is part of EDC’s spirit. However, this was tested when our biggest facility in Leyte, including our employees and host communities, were devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. It was during these times that the term “Tindog” (Cebuano word for Bangon or Stand in English) was first heard and eventually became the battle cry of EDC and its employees. We rallied behind our colleagues in Leyte and they repaired our facilities, and even improved them, after just a few months. This experience instilled in us a mindset that we are capable of overcoming the most daunting challenges. We have since called this our EDC Tindog Spirit and this was demonstrated again when the COVID-19 pandemic threatened the health and safety of our employees, including our families, and business operations.
Even before the government declared an enhanced community quarantine in Luzon in March 2020, EDC proactively declared “work-from-home” arrangements for its office-based employees and followed this up by arranging “shelter-in-place” (SIP) work arrangements for its operations personnel. These modified setups reduced the risk of exposure to the virus for our employees; allowing them to safely continue delivering their work requirements at home, from their provinces or in our facilities.
The Company also reviewed existing employee allowances to cover the emerging needs of employees during the pandemic. This repurposing of benefits allowed employees to use their allowances to purchase personal healthcare (such as PPE, medicine and vaccines); higher Internet plans (for better and longer access to Internet services); communication charges (for usage of mobile phones); equipment and furniture (for better work-from-home conditions); and even philanthropic actions (donations to charitable institutions).
Another major initiative in 2021 was the company’s partnership with MyGolana to provide free online counseling sessions to employees who felt the need for additional mental and emotional support in order to cope with all the pandemic-related stress and concerns. This provided employees with easy access to professional help through a counselor of their choice. The Company also hosted online learning sessions which featured medical and industry experts to enrich employees’ knowledge on various topics such as financial planning, homeschooling, common health conditions and diseases, and women’s reproductive health, providing a more holistic approach to employee wellness.
Apart from our existing flu and pneumococcal vaccination program for employees and their families, the company initiated a corporate vaccination program to provide free COVID-19 vaccines to employees, while allowing them also to order vaccines (at their personal cost) for their family or household members. It is likewise working to help its service providers and other partners secure vaccines for their own workers.
Throughout the ongoing pandemic, EDC continued to provide a stable supply of electricity to its power customers by implementing Shelter-in-Place (SIP) work arrangements for our facility operations personnel. They worked in “two-week bubbles” inside our project sites and the company provided all their meals and accommodations in our facilities. Among the precautions and stringent measures that have been put in place, our SIP employees are also kept away from non-SIP employees to prevent possible infections.
Standing stronger together
Staying true to our promise, we prioritized the safety and well-being of our most important resource: our people. Their talent, knowledge, skills, and dedication to service are the core of EDC’s corporate values.
In the second year of the pandemic, EDC continued its initiatives and introduced new programs to better address the requirements of the new normal. These initiatives are part of “Tindog EDC,” a comprehensive COVID-19 Response Program for our employees. The program was strategically focused on three key aspects—physical safety, mental health, and financial security.
Initiatives under this include:
• Declaring work-from-home (WFH) arrangements even before the national lockdown
• Establishing shelter-in-place (SIP) amenities for employees in project sites and ensuring health and safety measures were in place
• Successful repatriation program of 54 stranded employees and contractors
• Repurposed employee benefits and allowances
• Personal healthcare and personal protective equipment (PPE)
• Upgrade of internet plans for WFH employees
• Telecommunication charges for the use of mobile phones
• Purchase of ergonomic equipment and furniture for WFH employees
• Philanthropic actions such as personal donations to officially registered and recognized charitable institutions
• PHP 238 million COVID-19 resiliency assistance provided to employees
Amidst the many challenges due to the pandemic, our employees remained highly engaged, happy, and proud of their work. This is reflected in our employee engagement survey rating of 95% which was done through the Willis Towers Watson platform.
We value our people. Success is only possible together as we participate as cocreators of a decarbonized and regenerative future.