EMC BC: Virtual EH&S Networking Event Summary – “Human Resources and COVID-19”

July 21, 2020 Bren de LeeuwBC Lower Mainland 385 Views

It never ceases to amaze me how many topics can surface during a roundtable discussion; particularly when it comes to the challenges and uncertainties that surfaced recently. 

On an extremely hot summer day, our EMC BC Lower Mainland Human Resource Members participated in a virtual roundtable networking session that welcomed discussion on the status of our COVID-19 journies. 

We learned from each company representative and talked about their experiences as they dealt with specific organizational challenges, moving from stage to stage in relation to COVID-19.  We chatted about the things that were working well, best processes in place with respect to practices, policies and procedures and we touched on how companies are adapting to the “new normal” while preparing for the future.

Elements of our discussion included aspects such as:

  • Workforce planning issues - planning for growth and resumption of production or alternatively downsizing and dealing with decreases in customer needs
  • Challenges of temporary layoffs and recalls to work
  • Student engagement
  • Task Force development focusing solely on COVID and safety tools
  • Keeping employees safe on the floor by limiting people to work on only certain projects
  • Temperature checks and managing three key questions to determine fitness to work
  • Making lunchtime work by staggering employees, using boardrooms, ordering extra chairs
  • Creating extra space for meetings that allow distance between participants
  • Benefits of working with a Corporate HR and Disaster Management Teams
  • Staff ergonomics allowances
  • Working from home challenges
  • Handling of personal computers used for remote work
  • Using Microsoft Teams and Zoom to stay in touch
  • Pay increases – bonuses, “danger pay”
  • Company communication and implementation of motivational business videos to keep employees informed
  • Mental health and psychological first aid needs
  • Utilization of Employee Assistance Programs

We covered a great deal of territory during our chat and although we were not able to meet in person, it was great to be able to connect with fellow EMC members virutally, via Microsoft Teams!   

Moving forward, if you have a particular HR subject that you would like to see addressed in a peer group setting – please let me know.  We would be delighted to hear from you and certainly look forward to having you join us in the near future!

On behalf of EMC – very special thanks to all of our participants for taking the time out of your busy day to join in on this roundtable discussion! 

All the best as always!

Stay safe and stay well!


Bren de Leeuw

Western Canada Operations and
Vice President – Community Partnerships & Stakeholder Relations
Excellence In Manufacturing Consortium - - 519-372-6009