TVIRD human resources programs boost employee morale
Maintaining motivation and high morale among employees, many of whom have to be away from their families for weeks at a time to work in a far-flung mining site in the mountains of Mindanao, can be quite challenging. The task becomes more daunting as the employees are in the thick of constructing a mineral processing plant and support facilities that have to be operational within months. Stress levels and homesickness, especially among those who are not from the area, should be high. But not in Canatuan.
Through its initiatives to further improve the living and health conditions of members of its workforce and host indigenous community, TVI Resource Development Philippines, Inc. (TVIRD) is seeing a surge of enthusiasm among its employees. They have demonstrated unity of purpose as they work round-the-clock to finish the company’s Sulphide Project following stringent design specifications and according to schedule. They want to see copper and zinc concentrates produced in this Subanon ancestral domain in Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte by the last quarter of 2008.
In photo above, mine accountant Frank Castro (left) and HRA staff Niels Natividad help themselves with breakfast served at the company mess hall with improved facilities and meals. Below women employees at the corridor of the newly renovated junior staffhouse. TVIRD employees feel a level of convenience and safety of being similar to their own homes while working in Canatuan.
“Our employees should feel a level of convenience and safety of being similar to their own homes while working here. This will help them to be able to complete their assigned tasks efficiently and effectively,” Gerry Marcellana, TVIRD Canatuan Human Resource and Administration (HRA) manager, points out. .
Only a month in his current post, Marcellana led an extensive inspection of the mine camp and several brainstorming sessions with members of the HRA team to determine how best to further improve the company’s administrative services for its most valued human resources. Then they sprung into action. HRA initially zeroed in on the renovation and repair of housing facilities, and on installing additional comfort rooms not only for employees, but for community residents as well. .
Above, Kitchen Camp supervisor Edison Impang (in checkered apron) overseeing the preparation of tuna pastil wrapped in banana leaves for the next employee meal. Below, Impang (in pink shirt) sharing a light moment with community relations personnel. “Apart from providing nourishment to our employees, we also try to help lessen their longing for home by serving them meals the way they are prepared in their homes,” he says.
“We now enjoy the comfort of having nice living quarters and amenities like cable television to while away time during our off-duty hours,” Dennis Torres, Mill Operations Refinery Section supervisor, relates. “It now feels like we are just at home watching our favorite TV shows!” .Since the mess hall, kitchen equipment and utensils have been upgraded, employees now savor the meals – cooked with fresh farm ingredients from an employee livelihood project
(see related story “Green revolution in Canatuan” here) spearheaded by TVIRD Mill superintendent Rey Carubio – with gusto. “That’s hitting healthy diet and sustainable livelihood for employees in one stone!” Marcellano quickly adds. .
Above, TVIRD Canatuan HRA manager Gerry Marcellana says the company is implementing initiatives that improve the living and health conditions in the mine site to give back to employees what they deserve for their dedication to their jobs and to the host community for their all-out support of the project. Below, Dennis Torres (in jacket), Mill Operations Refinery Section supervisor, watches the Beijing Olympics in the TV room with Rathna Arnaldo of the Administration unit. “It now feels like we are just at home watching our favorite TV shows!”
“We are introducing a variety of new and healthy menus using indigenous ingredients for our employees’ satisfaction,” explains Edison Impang, TVIRD Kitchen Camp supervisor and an expert in Italian cuisine. “We would like to create the ambience of a mountaintop restaurant here. Apart from providing nourishment to our employees, we also try to help lessen their longing for home by serving them meals the way they are prepared in their homes.” .
Francisco Castro, TVIRD Canatuan accountant swears: “The food now tastes much better and is served in an artistic way. That’s why I always get stuffed after each meal!” .
Just recently, TVIRD employees also underwent the Annual Physical Examination (APE) conducted by a mobile medical group from the adjacent town of Ipil in Zamboanga Sibugay. An additional registered nurse has also been hired to augment the TVIRD medical team at the company clinic, which serves not only the company employees, but the community as well. A total of 517 employees availed themselves of the five-day APE, which covered tests such as urinalysis, fecalysis, complete blood counts, chest x-rays and thorough physical examinations. .
Top photo shows TVIRD company doctor Arthur Luspo and nurse Lois Esnane attending to an employee. In middle photo, before having their laboratory and physical examinations, employees have their blood pressure checked by a TVIRD scholar who just recently completed her midwifery course. Bottom photo shows employees waiting for their turn at the Complete Blood Count section.
“Taking care of the health of our employees and our Subanon hosts is essential,” Marcellana stresses. “A healthy workforce and community make for a healthy company.” .
In the hiring of employees for the company’s second phase of mining operations here (the first phase was the Gossan (gold-silver) Project), HRA gives priority to Subanons and citizens of Zamboanga del Norte following TVIRD’s Memorandum of Agreement with the Siocon Subanon Association, Inc. (SSAI) — the legal representative of the Canatuan Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title holders – and commitment to the provincial government. .
“The residency factor is given added value during the hiring process,” explains Marcellana. “We are doing this to give qualified IPs and locals greater chances of being hired. In this manner, the economic benefits of our mining operations will be immediately felt by residents of the host community and host province.” .
TVIRD provides its employees with salaries and wages that are higher than their counterparts in the Zamboanga Peninsula, but the company believes there is more to being a good employer than just giving higher pay. .
Rene de Ocampo, TVIRD vice president for HRA, says motivating employees can be a tricky thing. “It was formerly thought that providing reasonable compensation was enough to motivate employees throughout their careers. This is a myth, however, because while good pay attracts the most qualified candidates to the position and prevents employee turnover, it does not do much to increase productivity or increase any long-term motivation. That we see an inspired workforce in Canatuan, we believe, is a good indication that we are on the right track as far as our HRA programs are concerned. .
“We are aware though, that much is yet to be done to further improve the management-employee relationship and workforce morale,” de Ocampo adds. “Once the Sulphide Project gets underway, we will continue to explore ways towards this end. And we will make sure our gracious Subanon hosts will get their fair and rightful share of the pie.” .
“All in all, TVIRD, through its HRA, is implementing these initiatives to give back to its employees for their dedication to their jobs and to the host community for their all-out support of the project,” Marcellana concludes. (Rene Patangan)