Indonesia bank weathers pandemic through employee- and community-centred response

Among entries for the HR Stars Awards 2023, it was the Covid management strategies of UOB Indonesia that garnered the top spot. The bank had the Business Continuity Management Task Force (BCMTF) at its core, which was established at the very beginning of the pandemic in 2020. The bank’s operational commitment as well as staff safety were its top considerations.

Within a month of Covid-19’s entry into Indonesia, the bank had begun distributing care packages that included vitamin packs and injections, grocery and medicine vouchers, and healthy snacks. As a boost to employee health and wellness, the company covered costs for Covid testing and telemedicine channels. It also worked closely with hotels so that facilities would be ready in case any workers needed to be placed under isolation.

UOB Indonesia continued to hold routine meetings with the BCMTF to address the various transitions it had to undertake. These included split working sites and full work-from-home arrangements, as well as clear procedures for infected employees. It invested in improvement of its employee self-service platform, recognising the need to streamline the reporting and contact-tracing process during that period.

During a strong wave of infections from the Delta variant in 2021, Indonesia faced a short supply of medications and hospital beds. The bank took the initiative with HR and other departments to provide direct support to infected employees so that they could still be hospitalised and medicated. The company even aided in facilitating food deliveries. Its annual report at the time showed that 96% of employees felt that the company cared about them.

Once vaccines were available, UOB Indonesia helped source inoculation for its employees as well as their families. By July 2021, 79% of the company was vaccinated, increasing to 97% by the end of the year. UOB Indonesia extended vaccination efforts to corporate social responsibility (CSR) beneficiaries as well, even donating medical equipment to institutions such as the Ministry of Health, who received 532 oxygen cylinders. Other items donated by the bank included 100,000 surgical masks, 5,000 N95 masks, 1,000 hazmat suits, and food for 650 families and 850 taxi drivers affected by the pandemic.

In caring for the community as well as its employees, UOB Indonesia displayed an adaptable and comprehensive Covid management strategy that carried the company through the worst of the health crisis.

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Chief of Staff Asia