• COVID19, Success Stories, Training

Leadership in the age of the Pandemic

23 Mar 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in increased difficulty in lives worldwide  – uncertainty, fear and loneliness have been experienced by many. Garment and footwear factories, already hectic places to work, also saw myriad new  challenges as a result of the pandemic. In the midst of the crisis, Cambodia, like many other garment producing countries, was faced with ongoing urgent issues, temporary suspensions and closures, and huge losses of business. As things started to get back to a “new normal”, and the sector has started the long journey to recovery, it is more apparent than ever that resilient leadership is the key to not only handling crises effectively but to ensuring resilient societies, communities and organizations.

Better Work’s Crisis Leadership focuses on supporting and fostering resilient leaders – leaders who act in agile, decisive and forward-thinking ways.

Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) has recently worked with key players in Cambodia’s garment and footwear sector – the Provincial Labour Departments: Kampong Cham and Svay Rieng. Labour officials in Cambodia have been on the frontline in ensuring COVID-19 protection and awareness in garment factories. In partnership with BFC, the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) and Svay Rieng Labour Department jointly developed and delivered vital training materials on COVID-19 Preventive Measures and COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness. With support and coaching from BFC, Labour Officials delivered tailored trainings to workers, customizing best practices and guidance so that workers could exercise safe behaviours in the workplace and at home.

A core element of BFC’s sustainable strategy is to create scale and impact through the hands of our stakeholders. An important part of this approach is supporting our government partners. In 2020, Svay Rieng Provincial Department of Labour and Vocational Training (DoLVT) delivered a total of 88 trainings in 88 enterprises reaching 1,801 participants (1,110 of whom are women).  The key training topics included first aid, OSH, COVID-19, Labour Law and Trade Union Law, Good Group Leadership and Productivity , HIV/AIDS and Drugs, Life Skills and Nutrition, and Chemical Safety.

Through a training of trainer approach with our partners, BFC aim ensure important messages reach a wide range of workers.

The Crisis Leadership learning series delivery by BFC team leaders took a deep dive into many of the important elements of leadership;

    • Building crisis leadership skills, behaviours, mind-sets, prioritizing and situational leadership
    • Circle of influence and managing stress
    • Crisis communication processes, ensuring safe and inclusive workplaces and managing retrenchment

Crisis Leadership learning

Participants reflected that this training was a rare opportunity for them to reflect on stress management, and they felt more confident and excited to practice their new skills. They also discussed means to further scale this important training in the garment and footwear sector.

“It has not only to help us to train or work with factories but internally, our teamwork has improved because we are more open-minded and are actively discussing how we can better reach out to factory stakeholders.”

Ms. Khieu Socheat, participant from Kompong Cham DoLVT

“My team is now better-equipped with the knowledge to communicate and train factories especially to ensure there are functional OSH procedures; system management and reporting are in place, which has not been the case for many factories in Svay Rieng. We planned to work in person with many more factories in the future and are looking forward to similar training from BFC.”

 Mr. Chim Chantla, participant from Svay Rieng DoLVT

This engagement falls under BFC’s role in working in partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MoLVT) and its inspectorate to help build its capacity, skills, commitment and integrity in workplace inspection and compliance as outlines in  BFC’s Country Strategy 2019-2022. An additional end goal of this training is that Labour officials adapt the training techniques and materials to provide further training to factory stakeholders – a training of trainers approach.

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