Emapta Town Hall Q&As
To address your concerns about the organization, we asked our team members to submit our questions to our leaders. We’d like to share the full responses of our management team to your submissions:
STATUS OF THE COMPANY & EXPANSION
Do you see a shift in the organization structure in the next 6 to 12 months?
Tim: No, there will not be any restructuring in the next 6 to 12 months. Our focus will be on building and investing more in the current teams. Whenever we have the opportunity to grow, we’ve invested that money back into strengthening our departments. As we expand globally, all the back-end, all the core expertise, and the engine that will run these regions will be based in our account teams in the Philippines.
What are your plans for expansion in 2021?
Andrew: We will continue to introduce Emapta to new regions, reaching more potential customers and opportunities by extension. New Zealand is a fairly young market for outsourcing and very close to Australia, so it’s really exciting for me. Another market we’re talking to is the UK. When we talk about expansion, for me, Emapta is a really good brand, it’s got a huge capability and I feel very fortunate to be able to take this brand.
Roy: When I joined Emapta, it’s been really seamless. Speaking with customers has been really easy because of the capability which really today everyone has showcased. So that word expansion is something we just gonna keep on growing, the growth team is very determined and driven to keep creating more opportunities not just within, but for your friends and family members to hopefully join Emapta and refer.
Jenn: As we all know, this 2021 we started our global expansion first in Vietnam. This was supported by all of you in the core team, and we would like to extend our appreciation and hard work for this. Our next expansion is in Sri Lanka. There are also ongoing interviews for global expansion manager with Andrew, and full staff developer to be part of Empower.
Emapta Philippines, as mentioned by Tim and all the leaders here, will remain our center for all this growth and development. Just the same, this global expansion will strengthen our presence and service delivery capability, and our goal to being the next global outsourcing partner.
Who do you consider as our biggest competitors and how do you they fare against us?
I don’t consider a singular competitor that is directly in our way. We have formidable and high-quality competitors across the Philippines and even outside the Philippines, but no one has invested more into strengthening operations and areas of capabilities to create a comparative advantage as aggressively than what we have done over the last 11 years. Competitors that stand out are more industry specialists like The Outsourced Accountant. However, the core elements of what we offer and what we stand for – this unwavering flexibility and this commitment to putting the customer first, put us to a class of our own. Then there are other companies like Microsourcing. They were well established with more than 2,000 staff when EMAPTA was starting with only 20 employees. Now, we’re almost the same at around 4,000. You look at every single part of the business and it is really strong. I always say to people, “You get Emapta on a good day and no one comes close to us.” We’ve often been seen as the best-kept secret. Our goal is for Emapta to be seen as a hidden gem to clients that promotes long-term stability and transparency in how we operate.
PEOPLE AND CULTURE
Are there plans to officially support organization-wide interest groups or circles (e.g. cooking or pet care clubs) which can potentially boost engagement activities?
Vince: Organization-wide interest groups or interest circles has [sic] been in the pipeline but due to the pandemic, there’s [sic] been some challenges with the official launch. We continue to focus on how to engage our people remotely, rather than the usual engagement of the interest groups. We’re planning to review this program again by Q4 2021 with the possibility of launching it early next year.
Nina: For 2021, we’ve really tried our best to carefully select themes that we’ll carry out month on month. When we selected these topics, we somehow thought of different interest groups. For example, we launched the Network of Empowered Women (NEW) in March and PRIDE or celebration of diversity in June. These may not be necessarily interest groups per se, like for cooking, travelling or photography groups, but we’ll definitely keep them in mind, so we can have these social interactions in the very near future.
We know that the client staff are important to the business as they are Emapta’s source of revenue, and I do hope the management sees the importance of the core team as well. What are your plans to make the core team feel valued?
Nina: At Emapta, we have two taglines: One is “Emapta empowering people,” the second is “Emapta cares.” These 2 taglines are very important. It’s empowering people, everybody in Emapta, and even outside Emapta if we could empower them and also give them job opportunities. Same [sic] goes with Emapta cares. It doesn’t only say we only care about client team members, we care about every member of this family.
We have also taken concrete steps this 2021 to keep our family stronger together. One is, everybody has really shared or done their part to provide job security for everybody. That we have continued our growth, we have kept our client attrition or turn rate to a very, very minimal level, we have always worked with our clients, making sure they’ll still choose to be with us, and they still to choose to grow with us – I think that’s a very important reminder that collectively, we have actually given the gift of job security to each one of us, and that is already a feeling of being valued. The second point is, we are also addressing your needs through the operational transformation department headed by Anj Capispisan. Some of the department’s initiatives, like the town hall and the newsletter, are ways of making you feel, “Hey we want you to be in the know of what’s happening,” and also recognizing even the birthday celebrators and the new starters that we have in the company. We also launched our rewards and recognition program last July. As our CEO said, we are not a perfect organization, but we’re aspirational, and we care about our family members, we care about you, so let’s do our best for each other.
May we know the timeline on when the Emapta mental health programs will be activated?
Vince: We are looking into launching our mental health program by October of this year, alongside mental awareness month. Our HRBPS are planning some events and programs, so please stay tuned to our teasers and some initial activities ramping up by the 2nd week of September.
TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT
Are there training programs for new and seasoned managers? May I know the timeline on when the Emapta Academy will be activated? Any opportunities to attend training and seminars for career and development?
Vince: Given the challenges that we are facing right now, Emapta Academy may be launched next year. In the meantime, we are building training programs and looking for people who can support us in the delivery of these programs. Nevertheless, not having the academy doesn’t stop us from pursuing other learning and development projects. If your managers would suggest any training programs that you require, we can assist them in finding the institutions offering these programs, either internally or externally, to support your growth.
TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION
What are the plans in addressing the delay with IT procurement and deployment of machines? Can we already upgrade or update the laptops that core has especially the tenured ones? What is the rule for technology upgrades and replacements?
Henry: With over 200 team members joining each month, it’s been a little bit of a challenge for us to re-align our stocks and re-evaluate our thresholds to make sure that we always have the right assets onsite for talent onboarding. Our IT procurement and asset manager is helping us speed up the process with 3 dedicated people in the team, and we are developing our workforce in our ticketing system for handling all of our procurement requests. In the IT systems integrations team, we’re developing an enterprise asset management system that will give us visibility on where our stock is and when we need to reorder it.
Regarding hardware refresh and laptops and some of the older machines, we’re currently doing an audit on all workstations and laptops we have issued on both the core team and the clients’ staff, determining the age of them and what maintenance we have to perform on them. Based on this we will find out the older items and organize a hardware refresh on them. In terms of the replacement units, typically, we’re looking at a 3–5-year life cycle of an asset. For cases where the asset is problematic or running slow that it hinders you from performing your task, then that’s the opportunity we take to troubleshoot the issue before considering replacement. We’re currently in the process of negotiating a bulk purchase of laptops and identify the tenured staff that are [sic] having issues organizing asset replacement. By the end of the year, we’re looking to complete an audit and identify the old assets, and replace them with newer laptops.
In terms of the maintenance and performance, this year we’ve rolled out a remote management monitoring (RMM) tool, which is an agent that’s running on each of the work stations and laptops, and it’s practically checking the health if there’s [sic] any hardware issues and it’s also running some maintenance in the background to keep the performance of your laptop or desktop optimal.
Do we already have a timeline on when will the ATS be rolled out?
Henry: In June, we started the process of documenting business process requirements for the GTS team. After documenting all the requirements, we evaluated 9 different applicant tracking systems and narrowed it down to 2 solutions that we’re proceeding with and testing on. So, based on these 2 solutions, we’ll narrow it down to 1 and we then will break the implementation to multiple phases. In the first phase we’ll focus on catching all the candidates and building our candidate database and identify the source of those candidates. Then, we’ll further build out our integration between ETAP and the successful applicant tracking system so we can have a streamlined process for candidate screenings, replacement, and onboarding within Empower Teams.
When are going to have an HRIS platform?
Owen: Some of HRIS components like recruitment, onboarding, schedule management, compensation and benefits, compliance, training, performance, and employee relations, are included in our Empower updates. We currently have majority [sic] of those modules, and within the end of the year, we will be doing onboarding, performance management, some parts of employee relations. One of the goals of management, especially our division – Henry, and I, and Peter – is for us to create a platform that goes beyond an HRIS. So, this would enable us to seamlessly support our local operations, as well as our international aspirations. For this year, the pipeline would be full, but majority [sic] of it will be impacting our front liners for them to be able to do their job better.
How are we going to address the possibility of prolonged quarantine brought by COVID? What is the status and count of available vaccines? Given that there are teams who availed of vaccines via LGU, can we also open to dependents?
Inge: As we communicated earlier this year, we have purchased 7,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, and they are going to be delivered in several batches. As per the original timeline of the delivery, we will get our orders in the 3rd and 4th quarters. The great news is in preparation for the recent rollout, we’ve done a survey with client staff and core staff, and we’ve found that in total, about 41% of our employees have already been vaccinated or in the process of being vaccinated, with about 9% being registered already, we’re looking at a 50% vaccination rate throughout the workforce already. For core, that’s even a bit higher. Among our respondents, we have about 60% who are already vaccinated or in the process of being vaccinated. The great thing is in the last rollouts, even though they are in small batches, we were able to cover every one of our core team members working on site and those in a hybrid setup. All our frontliners, and those going to the office sometimes or have to go in there sometimes have been offered the vaccine and have been vaccinated if they wanted to.
For the remaining team members, you are guaranteed to be on the queue for the next delivery. We do expect the next delivery in September and that would be rolled out for those working from home. Given the fact that a lot of team members have already been vaccinated with the LGU, we see that rollout going much faster. That does mean, we would have extra doses left over towards the end of the year and we will consider extending this to the dependents. Our priority naturally is to be able to offer our vaccinations to all our core and client staff, so everybody gets a chance to be vaccinated.
What is our company’s covid response plan for the months to come? What are the Covid-19 response plans for 2021 considering that we are rapidly growing? Is there a chance for the core team to be on a hybrid (work from home and work onsite) setup even when the pandemic is over?
Inge: Our facilities and admin, HR and OSH teams have worked early on to make sure our workspaces are kept really safe and also compliant with the Department of Health guidelines, but really safe. For the past 1 and a half years, we have not seen more COVID infections of those working in the office. This is a testament on how we can keep our sites COVID-free. Once the vaccine rollout is done and the situation overall in the Philippines improves, we’ll probably revisit our return-to-the-office strategy and policies, but it may be handled differently by every department because it really depends on our workspace. We were always flexible between offices and home, too.
Vince: If you’re referring to the company response plan for the months to come, as mentioned by Inge, we’re trying to come up with a policy, but we will align our plans with how the government will be polishing its policy as well. The government predicts that herd immunity will not be coming until Q2 of next year, so our plan for the months to come is naturally to get everybody vaccinated. We will assist those who are interested in getting the vaccine, while the service delivery team is making sure the office is safe for everyone who’s reporting to the office and ensuring that working from home will be monitored and will have the support they will need in times of emergencies and guidance in terms of COVID response. If any of our employees need assistance on how to go through COVID situations in their family, our service delivery team will always be there to guide us. You can always reach out to me if needed, we will guide you on how to go through with this COVID situation.
What will EMAPTA provide to the family if in case a death (due to COVID-19) of the employee will be experienced?
Vince: We are working in cooperation with our finance team and our CEO to develop this program. We’re just doing some fine-tuning and investigating the technology on how to do that, so please stay tuned for our announcements in the coming months.
What are the company’s plans especially the Delta variant is already here in the Philippines? Are you planning to provide transportation and hazard pay to those employees who are required to go onsite? When are we rolling out the vaccines?
Vince: We have been supporting our frontliners in various ways such as securing their access to the vaccine and arranging their transportation going to the office.
Will EMAPTA ever provide COVID-19 safety benefits, like free monthly swab test, vitamins, hazard pay during ECQ to our onsite frontliners?
Vince: At the moment, we are providing government-mandated benefits, but we understand that some people may still be looking for some additional support. We will continue to review our safety benefits with our leaders and update you in the coming months.
Will there be a chance to change the HMO for EMAPTA Core?
Vince: In line with the annual renewal of our healthcare program, we are looking at shifting to another provider that is still being managed by Emapta. We’re changing our network of hospitals and clinics to increase our coverage and reach to non-major hospitals in the provinces, including small clinics within the NCR.
Is there a possibility to have a retirement plan benefit for Core employees?
Gemma: Regarding the retirement plan that we have, we partnered with Zalamea Actuarial Services last year, one of the best and most prestigious in the industry, to provide evaluation for our retirement plans. We have also partnered with the Security Bank to secure and manage our retirement funds to ensure we get the best product that will help our investment grow and to meet or surpass the minimum retirement obligation that we have as per Republic Act 7641. Please note that employees who retire, not resign, at the age of 60, and with at least 5 years of service to the company, are entitled to the minimum regulatory benefit mandated by the law. Please wait for further announcements regarding updates to our retirement plans.
Is there a market alignment for CORE salaries? Do we have an annual increase?
Vince: Most of our team members have experienced our annual performance review conducted earlier this year, with 95% of our departments and divisions already accomplished with their reviews. However, please understand that an annual increase is never a guarantee, not in every organization. There are a lot of factors to be considered in providing a salary increase: your performance, the economic capability of the organization, the profitability of the division that you’re in, the achievements of your division, and the index of your salaries. If there are other opportunities that your division is looking to explore, please let us know so we can address them directly.
As for salary benchmarking, we provided guidance to division heads regarding salary adjustments for their team members. There is no rate differentiation in terms of localities considering the roles we perform in the organization are not restricted to certain regions in the country.
What are the plans to improve core employee benefits, especially the length of service benefits for employees?
Vince: As part of our continuous improvement in terms of our benefit packages to remain competitive within the industry, and we are also considering more on this aspect of reviewing benefits for tenured employees.
POST-TOWN HALL QUESTIONS
1. Since most of our leads are from US, do we have any plans in putting some staff/departments on night shift to cater our US clients/prospects?
Quoting from Tim’s opening remarks and updates during the townhall, “We are amplifying our support to the US market and are actively ramping up resources across all key departments to extend our capability and support to both our people, and our clients. This will strengthen our team, spread the load, and relieve critical team members, who up until now, have been required to extend their work hours. These additional resources are being sourced and will be in place as soon as we secure the right people.”
2. Is the Emapta Merch only for new hires? Is there any chance for existing employees to get the Emapta Merch as well?
Emapta merchandise will be available for purchase as soon as our shop and rewards application is developed in Empower. In the meantime, select merch are given as prizes for various department-initiated programs.
3. Any year-end bonus or some kind of incentive?
While we continue to grow, our company is still recovering from the financial impact brought about by the pandemic when we needed to reallocate funds and put in more investments to keep up with the sudden shift to strengthen our remote setups. Nevertheless, every department has discretion on incentivizing their team members which management has always been open to consideration.
4. As we plan to build an Emapta Academy? Can the OD team focuses on this apart from our NHO?
The Emapta Academy will roll up to the People Operations department under the HR delivery Center where we are hiring for Training officers who will work closely with our Org Dev team and HR Business Partners in implementing various learning and development programs whether it is technical, functional or behavioral.
5. Any help benefit that the company can extend to covid-impacted employees? Directly to the person or family members?
We are currently developing a policy for Covid-related assistance. In the meantime, all impacted employees are given the appropriate assistance from the Company through our People Operations, HR Business Partnerships and management on a case-to-case basis.
6. Is medical expense (principal and dependent) reimbursement a possibility in the future?
Our current healthcare benefit package already covers medical reimbursements for procedures and consultations. You may download the form here: Reimbursement Form.
7. As we are following the mandated Retirement plan, are we considering to offer an early retirement benefit?
We are constantly reviewing our compensation and benefit packages to ensure we stay competitive. The early retirement benefit is not among them as we are a young organization and we see the investment in our people as a long-term engagement, so instead of offering an early retirement benefit, we are looking into the service incentive plan to recognize our employees’ commitment and loyalty to the company and at the same time, continue to invest to retain them.
8. Any chance of having a special leave for covid related cases? not to deduct it from regular 5 days Sick Leave or probably an addition of 14 days for direct covid impacting cases?
Please see answer to no. 5.
9. Is there a way for us to add a leave credit benefit for those who are positive in covid especially those people doing onsite support? It is sad that they get covid and spending money for the meds and being deducted because they are out.
Please see answer to no. 5.
10. In connection on the earlier question to COVID relief, the international community of entrepreneurs foreseen experience savings from utilities/rental, loss recovery and still gain profits from the work from home setup due to pandemic. Do you think that work from home setup continues even the pandemic ends? Has Emapta Management foreseen this similar scenario to start strategizing long term or permanent demand of work from home setup?
While Emapta has most of its employees working from home, we still maintain full operations of all our sites. This, in fact, has cost us more as we needed to sustain infrastructure support to both our sites and our teams’ remote set ups. This is a value add proposition that makes our business model unique and flexible such that we are able to support work-from-home/remote work at the same time retaining access to Emapta’s network of offices for co-working and business continuity – a service product we now call Emapta Anywhere.
11. Given that most of us are in a remote setup, what plans do we have to increase employee’s morale and satisfaction? Do we have mandatory programs or incentives?
Our virtual townhall is only but one example and a start of many other programs that we are developing to maintain employee engagement and morale. The Operational Transformation unit shall work closely with the department heads in developing these programs for our core employees, while our HR Business Partners, in coordination with the Organizational Development unit will continue to implement programs for our client staff.
12. How do you plan to celebrate an employee’s work anniversary?
For our core team members, we have a section for celebrating employee milestones in our core newsletter. Every year-end, employees who have reached at least 3 years receive a certificate and gift which are awarded during the year-end celebrations.