COVID-19:
Tools for EBMOS

Why is the Toolkit Necessary?

The COVID-19 crisis has shown the vital role the private sector can and will play in its resolution. The crisis presents a crucial opportunity for employers and business membership organizations (EBMOs) to exercise leadership for the business community and shape solutions and knowledge in response to COVID-19.

A renewed appreciation for representative business organizations and the role they play in shaping policy measures that benefit businesses and its continuity; and swiftly providing timely information, and services can be found. This can present an opportunity for membership growth and relevance.

On the other hand, EBMOs may experience a reduction in income from falling membership fees as companies reduce their discretionary spending for memberships; possible delays in membership fee collection to give members space to recover (EBMOs may need to tap into their reserves); and face challenges with delivering traditional services to members (e.g. training, workshops, information sessions).

Conversely, there is an opportunity to explore digital technology and move towards offering online services, i.e. training. The biggest challenge in addition to fees is how EBMOs respond to COVID-19, whether regular updates were provided to members, guidelines, responses to member queries etc, this will determine whether the EBMO continue to be seen relevant or not.

What role can EBMOs play during the pandemic?

  1. Disseminating information concerning the crisis (e.g. guidance on how companies will be effected by new laws or restrictions).

  2. Influencing the course of potential solutions (close and regular communication with members on what is happening in their businesses/experiences).

  3. Providing a channel for organized access to decision-makers (providing a collective and empirically sound voice to government).

  4. Making proposals to target and remedy the issue (bringing to government practical solutions – not problems).

  5. Deepening collaboration with key stakeholder (now is the time for deeper dialogue with unions).

What are immediate response that EBMOs can take?

  1. Coordinate the business voice to effectively input into government policy responses to the crisis.

  2. Guide governments that often lack of strategic focus.

  3. Assess how the private sector can support national efforts during the crisis e.g. Supporting the health system through dialogue with private hospitals; mobilizing laid off staff for support functions; mobilizing private funds to support the national efforts during the crisis e.g. national philanthropic fund for the most vulnerable.

  4. Show the value of social partnerships by providing quick and innovative solutions.

  5. Assess the impact on enterprises and feed that into national responses.

  6. Provide direct services to member firms during the immediate crisis.

What are the medium to longer-term measures that EBMOs can take?

  1. Scale up policy dialogue with the government.

  2. Bring evidence-based policy recommendations to support economic and social recovery.

  3. Innovate policy responses to build back better e.g. health infrastructure, water and sanitation, opportunities for private sector roles in delivering public services etc.

  4. Developing a post COVID-19 policy agenda. Shape longer-term policy assumptions and about the role of business in society. This crisis lays bare the interdependencies between business and its environmental, social, technological and governance context.

  5. Strategic guidance on how to boost relevance of EBMO and their role.