10 Ways Employers Have Made a Positive Impact
Employers across a spectrum of industries have stepped up during the coronavirus pandemic, adapting their practices to help employees, customers, and the country as a whole. Whether they’re producing and distributing hand sanitizer or offering free counseling sessions, companies are finding new ways to make a difference.
Starbucks, Walmart, and Anheuser-Busch are only a few examples of corporate social responsibility at its best. As smaller business owners seek to make the most of difficult times, these helpful initiatives might spark a few ideas.
1. Wellness Programs
Starbucks has invested in special initiatives to focus on mental health and wellness amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Now, employees in the US and Canada have access to Headspace’s guided meditations.
The company is also partnering with Lyra Health to offer 20 free mental health sessions a year to US employees and eligible family members. As anxiety and depression reach all-time highs, these perks make a positive impact on the lives of workers and their families.
2. Work From Home Resources
Square, a payment processing company, is trying to make work from home life easier for its employees. Square was one of the first companies to announce permanent work from home programs, and also one of the first to support employees in this endeavor.
During the transition, the company’s benefits team partnered with resource groups to distribute documents to help employees adjust. These shared documents included tips for working parents, mental health resources, and a variety of other helpful information.
3. Free Child Care Support
Companies such as Walmart have acknowledged that employees need other kinds of support when transitioning to a work from home lifestyle. To help parents who are now working from home and trying to entertain their kids simultaneously, the company hosted a free virtual summer camp.
Guided by Neil Patrick Harris, Todd Oldham, Idina Menzel, and other celebrities, kids were able to learn new skills, flex their creative muscles, and engage in family bonding activities.
4. Weekly Food Credits
Zach Ragland, the head of people at Feather, a furniture company, is also making a positive impact amid the pandemic.
In mid-March, the company’s headquarters sent employees home permanently to begin remote work. Ragland then reallocated budgets formerly used to fund office-wide lunches to provide employees with a $100 weekly stipend to buy office supplies or make meals at home. From ordering takeout to finding innovative ways to make food at home, employees have since made good use of their food credits.
5. Shoes for Health Care Staff
The US shoe company Allbirds has also made an impact in the lives of health care workers. Through direct donations and a buy-one-give-one program, they were able to donate $500,000 in shoes—about 5,000 pairs altogether—to medical staff. This donation was their way of saying “thank you” to everyone who’s cared for patients during the COVID-19 outbreak.
There’s still a long wait list for shoes, so customers can keep donating to the cause and show health care workers their appreciation.
6. Jobs for Laid-Off Workers
Better.com aims to improve the mortgage industry through technology. However, they’re also bettering many peoples’ lives with their pledge to hire 1,000 new employees by the end of the year. Specifically, they’ll focus on hiring workers whose employers laid them off during COVID-19.
Experience in real estate, tech, or finance isn’t necessary to apply. Rather, Better.com will provide training so new employees can fill a wide array of roles.
7. Small Business Support
Between March and mid-April, there were a staggering 858,000 unemployment claims in New Jersey alone. In response to this dramatic spike, Prudential decided to waive rent for 21 tenants in retail spaces around Newark to ease their financial burden. Meanwhile, the company is paying for building services like cleaning and security to prevent layoffs.
Prudential was also able to contribute $250,000 to the Small Business Emergency Grant Fund and $50,000 to support small business employees.
8. Sewing Machines for PPE
In April, Brother International Corporation announced plans to donate 100 industrial sewing machines to apparel companies to support personal protective equipment (PPE) manufacturing.
The first companies to receive the machines included Beverly Knits, Inc., Los Angeles Apparel and SanMar—all of which were part of the coalition to fast-track the production of face masks. Now, they’re using their sewing machines for free to make masks and other PPE for frontline workers.
9. Paid Leave
Jeff Brown of Ally Financial was quick to help employees when COVID-19 came to the US. Within just a few days, he moved 8,700 employees to remote work and sent equipment to those who needed it.
The company is also offering paid leave to employees who are high-risk according to CDC guidelines or those who receive a COVID-19 diagnosis. Additionally, employees may be eligible for paid caregiver leave and free financial support.
10. Hand Sanitizer
Distilleries and breweries are making more than beer and spirits these days. Anheuser-Busch, a beer company with breweries across the US, began producing hand sanitizer in May. It then distributed more than 340,000 bottles to employees, communities, and healthcare systems all over the country.
Anheuser-Busch also partnered with the American Red Cross to support critical relief efforts and those fighting on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Importance of Making a Difference
“Corporate social responsibility” might have certain implications, but many employers’ motivations are altruistic. Offering paid time off, free mental health services, and other types of support may not immediately benefit their bottom line. Even so, companies have participated in making a positive impact, and they can take pride in knowing they did their part to help others amid a global crisis.
Yet, employers’ selfless acts of kindness may just benefit their companies, after all. Roughly 62% of Americans have said they would consider changing jobs if their employer wasn’t actively making a difference. Moreover, even during an outbreak, they would leave their job to work for a different company that is creating a positive impact.
Consumers also value community awareness and want to use their spending money to support companies that have a purpose. In fact, 80% of them would be willing to pay more if they knew a brand was socially responsible or environmentally friendly. Therefore, businesses that have a voice and use it for good build both customer and employee loyalty.
It seems that now is as good a time as ever to do the right thing. Employers can embrace that sentiment by making sacrifices and helping those in need. As companies strive to be the change they wish to see, they’ll naturally attract people who strive to do the same.