Employer and Business Membership Organizations (EBMOs) are effective when they add value to their member enterprises and meet their representation, advocacy and services delivery needs. The COVID-19 pandemic tested this role, but also created opportunities for EBMOs. ACT/EMP adapted its programme in the Asia-Pacific to help EBMOs stay operational, respond to emerging needs, and adjust operational modalities, including a shift to a digital services to be able to play a critical role in responding to the crisis and planning for the recovery.
In particular, ACT/EMP has assisted EBMOs in the region as follows:
- to undertake rapid membership surveys and regular research on the impacts being experienced by business;
- to created reference guides and provided capacity building on policy options for EBMO to consult with members and other stakeholders;
- developed practical manuals to assist EBMO in extending support to their members on managing the workplace with COVID, business continuity planning, teleworking, and on safe return to work;
- supported EBMOs in organizing information sessions on the workplace management issues during the pandemic, exchange of experience and membership discussions
ACT/EMPs ongoing work at the national level in three core areas of support has also been maintained throughout this period with additional emphasis on organizational resilience and sustainability:
Strategic approaches to organizational development and management of EBMO
While membership-based private sector organizations come in different forms, all need to have effective strategies, structures, governance, and management systems in place if they are to be viable and effective. Our work extends technical assistance to EBMOs in each of these areas, such as support for strategic reviews and planning; membership strategies to widen representation (and increase new segments of recruitment targets), e-training programs on good governance and futures, foresight and horizon scanning; practical guidance for on-boarding of executive members and implementation of effective human resource management systems; and installation of customer relations management software.
Strengthening evidence-based research and policy work
ACT/EMP works across specific policy areas to provide tailored research support and technical guidance to assist with the development of evidence-based policy proposals. Recent examples of policy areas where ACT/EMP provided technical assistance to national policy efforts include: COVID-19 recovery, productivity, wage setting, labour law, skills development, gender equality, social protection and labour mobility. A core aspect of our work in this area is to assist EBMO to develop their own capacity for data collection and analysis using the latest technology for advanced data analytics and business intelligence.
Improvement of EBMO services to provide value to existing and potential members
In Asia and the Pacific, training services to develop EBMOs’ value proposition and expand their membership, particularly among small and medium-sized businesses, is a critically important component of our services support offer. As businesses face new and enhanced challenges resulting from COVID19, ACT/EMP has updated its service offerings to support EBMO in responding to the needs of the private sector. This work has included infrastructure support and related capacity building on eCampuses and digital training offers, practical tools for enterprise-based trainings which COVID‐19 crisis has significantly accelerated these needs of EBMOs.