COVID-19 and the Danish Experience
Announced as a pandemic in March 11, 2020, it is evident that COVID-19 has become a crisis that is being experienced at a global scale. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world are being affected and all countries are doing their fair share of efforts to try and contain the spread of the virus.
Large-scale quarantines, travel restrictions, and social-distancing measures are undertaken which largely affect businesses, workers, and the global economy as a whole.
In an Executive Briefing published by McKinsey & Company entitled “COVID-19: Implications for Business”, it is noted that the measures mentioned above drive a sharp fall in consumer and business spending which might last until the end of the second quarter. Consumers are forced to stay home while businesses suffer a loss in revenue which forces them to lay-off workers resulting to a sharp rise in unemployment levels.
Employer and business membership organizations or EBMOs all over the world bear the brunt of ensuring that its member-companies are able to adapt and business operation is sustained.
The Confederation of Danish Industry (DI), having more than 10,000 member-companies within manufacturing and services and covering virtually all subsectors in Denmark, has released a short presentation as to how DI optimizes their organization, collaborates with key stakeholders, and steps up communication efforts to mitigate the economic consequences of the pandemic.
DI has created a “DI Task Force” consisting a (1) main group or internal resource persons keeping track of significant actions and the overall development of the crisis; and (2) sub-groups that monitor development on key international markets, focus on internal staff and service functions, and handle coordination of Danish companies capable of supplying essential medical equipment.
All DI staff are working from home and staff meetings are conducted online. DI also ensures daily internal communication to help employees stay up to date. Crash courses in online video meetings have also been conducted.
For its members, DI has decided to extend the operating hours of its member hotline which now includes the weekend. In addition, DI conducts a regular survey of its members’ economic outlook amidst the coronavirus crisis and encourages its members to give inputs to inform advocacy efforts. Member dues have been postponed ensuring their liquidity.
Other stakeholders of DI include:
- State and regional officials – DI maintains close communication with regional public officials to monitor and mitigate development and to collect and share experiences.
- Social partners – There is a close communication and collaboration regarding national and local collective agreements and emergency mitigation of industrial relation matters. Recently, a tripartite agreement has been concluded to ease the economic burden of companies and to safeguard as many jobs as possible.
- Government – DI maintains close collaboration by conducting regular meetings with key officials.
To ensure communication with members, DI has a dedicated website, both in Danish and English, which contains FAQs, links to government recommendations, and information on economic support packages for companies. Members also receive an e-mail from DI’s CEO when there are important announcements from the government or from DI. The daily newsletter is completely focused on COVID-19-related stories and updates as well.
Furthermore, DI regularly shares important stories and actions via its social media accounts and social media campaign. Regular press releases are also issued commenting on government announcements and help packages. DI is open for press inquiries 24/7.
Internally, regular electronic meetings are conducted across teams, which also includes daily updates and crash courses for all employees.
The DI is ECOP’s sister organization in Denmark. ECOP has partnered with DI through a project entitled “Strengthening Bipartite Relations at the National and Enterprise Levels” which aims to promote a mutually beneficial and harmonious relationship between labor and management.