Five days with the most resilient Colombian businesswomen in the face of the crisis
At The Woman Post, we chose resilient women entrepreneurs during these times of crisis. / Photo: Courtesy Pavimentos de Colombia
The Woman Post | Maria Lourdes Zimmermann
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Leer en español: Empresarias resilientes: Luz Marina Jaramillo, Pavimentos Colombia
In July 2020, ECLAC published non-optimistic figures of the impact of COVID19 on productive activities in Latin America, 2.7 million formal companies could disappear in the midst of the crisis and the loss of 8.5 million jobs would increase the poverty gaps in our countries .
The global crisis also paralyzed the activities of the American bloc countries and the response to the global economic pressure was rapid, the closure of companies and the dismissal of employees were the response to relieve the pressure.
But not all companies thought about closures, or massive layoffs, Pavimentos Colombia, a company that has connected the country with more than 3,500 kilometers of highways, a driver of economic development in Colombia, focused on people, their care and education to keep their staff healthy for the economic opening three months later. Their optimism turned into strength.
The Woman Post chose a group of Colombian businesswomen with the support of the expert consulting firm on inclusion and Equity, Equilatera, to show the resilience of women in times of crisis and their responses to the pandemic.
Luz Marina Jaramillo president of Pavimentos Colombia
"Our philosophy since the creation of the company with my husband 51 years ago was justice and sustainability"; "He was an engineer, and I was a social worker, he was an expert in construction and I in people, so we united those two passions and founded a company thinking that, to give the best of yourself, you must receive the best" , says Luz Marina and explains what the foundations of the company have been. "We were clear that if people were happy and had their basic needs covered, we would have a better chance of success, because having good engineering practices without the staff being satisfied would not lead us anywhere" adds the businesswoman with conviction and a passionate spirit for what they do.
So in the midst of the crisis due to the pandemic that began with the paralysis of all economic activities in the country, "Our concern was the care and protection of our 1,500 employees and their families," that has always been the priority of Pavimentos Colombia.
If to prevent contagions it became necessary to educate workers, Pavimentos Colombia investments should focus on its people. So all occupational health personnel dedicated themselves to generating a self-care and protection strategy.
The creation of an APP that would allow them to be in constant communication was the first step. " For us it was important to be in communication with our employees, to know how they and their families were doing in order to assist them, so an application was the best strategy to find out and for them to tell us what their daily health status was."
The company developed several strategies, prevention kits with masks, disinfectants, thermal lunch boxes, water flasks, bags to store work clothes and bicycles for employees who had to move in public transport.
Bicycles became the best mobility tool, in total they distributed 200 among their employees. "We finance some bicycles and others we give them away," explains Luz Marina Jaramillo, we needed to avoid as much as possible that our employees suffered infections and if they protected themselves, they did it with their families avoiding spreading the virus. "
Education was a priority , "we taught them how to wash their hands and do it constantly, they had health tutorials that helped them create habits, the ARL was present all the time and communicated with our employees so when July arrived , only 19 employees out of 1500 had been infected with the disease "explains the businesswoman. "Today we do our own tests among employees and the ARL is providing efficient care," she adds.
The company started its activities again after two months and its employees never stopped receiving their salaries and bonuses because without the people Pavimentos Colombia would be impossible. "A well-placed grain of asphalt makes homeland and to do such an important job, our employees must feel the same, that is why in the face of COVID19 the company never stopped, but it did transform and adapt successfully for its people and for itself."
One more example of a Colombian businesswoman with innovative responses in the midst of the worst crisis that the world has experienced in its last 100 years.