Why don’t contractors put off work by Covid get financial support ?

Thursday June 11 2020

 

By Moses Ssesanga

Dear Moses,
We are contractors in a company that is under the essentials category. However, because business has slowed down due to coronavirus, half of the contractors in my department were asked to stop work until business returns to normal. We don’t know when this will be. Our employer didn’t even give us a package to sustain us despite having worked for the company for several years. Can’t companies help their employees and contractors during this time of need even as an act of CSR? Jackie

Dear Jackie,
Companies all over the world are struggling to rethink their future in the post-Covid19 era. Revenues have overnight disappeared. Much as companies would not want to lay off their people, many have been forced to make the tough decisions. They, however, must abide by the law as they make these changes and these include the terminal benefits packages you allude to. This is not CSR but simply sticking to the law.

That said however, wisdom teaches us that people change for two reasons; either they learn enough that they want to change or they have been hurt so badly that they have no option but to change. If there is one thing that has been the most impactful of COVID-19, it is the fact that the pandemic has accelerated changes and impacted the ways businesses, irrespective of size (corporates or SMEs) operate.

Currently, businesses are either reshuffling staff internally or relying on experts working remotely to support their operations, leading to massive job losses.

The silver lining of Covid-19 to employees is what Arie de Geus, a business theorist advises: “The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage you possess.”

Robin Sharma is quoted to have said that hard times make us tougher because they connect us to our dormant potential. Yes, they may make us feel uncomfortable and create confusion within our minds and provoke fear within our hearts but the conditions that challenge us the most are the very conditions that lead to our greatest growth.

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Jackie, life does not change by itself, it is up to you and your colleagues to cause the desired changes. We have to learn to adapt and embrace flexibility and couple this with resilience to continuously update and upskill yourselves at the workplace to create relevance to the employer in order to retain your jobs.

Moses Ssesanga,
Head of Human Resource,
NMG Uganda
mssesanga@ug.nationmedia.

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