There has been much focus on local employees as of late due to COVID-19.
From speeches in Parliament to news of companies carrying out retrenchment exercises to survive this pandemic – It would be blasphemous if the Government does little to protect the local workforce and strengthen the Singaporean core.
While I can relate to local workers’ anxiety, I wonder if our fixation on saving jobs has made us forget that employers are people as well.
Stresses Faced by Employers
As an employee, what do we typically worry about at work?
Are we accomplishing our organisation’s objectives? Are we fulfilling our career aspirations? What about our remuneration?
More often than not, worrying about these three points is more than enough to keep most of us up at night.
Now imagine worrying for maybe 10 or even hundreds of other people while concurrently worrying about your objectives and livelihood.
Employers who took the survey were concerned about three main areas during this pandemic, namely the financial health of their company, their staff’s well-being and engagement.
Company’s Financial Health
Some 67 per cent of the 692 employers who took the survey were concerned about their business’ revenue, profitability and cash flow during this period.
As employees, we usually only worry about when our next paycheque will be coming in so that we can settle our own finances.
However, employers also have to worry about the company being liquid enough to sustain workers’ wages over the next couple of months, all while simultaneously worrying about overheads and profitability.
And let us not forget that employers also must settle their personal finances outside of work as well.
Being on the receiving end of a retrenchment letter or a salary cut is never easy.
With that said, it is not always easy for employers to break such news to their employees, regardless of how unempathetic they may appear.
In the same report, it found that almost half of the employers surveyed – being the bearer of bad news in the organisation – have been left psychologically drained.
Having to resort such measures could already mean that the company’s finances are in the red, and the business is no longer profitable.
While a worker may lose his job, his employer could lose a business that he has spent both time and money to grow and shape – a business that could have been a lifelong dream.
Then there is also the issue of managing and keeping staff engaged while still adhering remote working recommendations by the Government.
Forty per cent of employers found it hard to maintain staff engagement amidst remote working.
Factors attributing to this included the lack of physical interactions, poorer productivity, and difficulty in staff management.
So if you are an employee who is currently working remotely, perhaps you can give your boss a hand by proactively keeping him abreast of your work.
We are All only Human
One might argue that employers are typically better off than their employees; that the latter are more vulnerable and need more protection.
Although that might often be the case, we shouldn’t forget that sometimes employers are just workers who took one step forward in their careers by choosing to lead instead of being led.
They too need the Government and their workers to empathise with them to make it out of this crisis.