Article: How companies are helping employees in response to COVID-19


How companies are helping employees in response to COVID-19

COVID-19 has put all the companies on the edge and has impacted the world of work significantly. Millions of jobs are at risk and many businesses are on the verge of shutting shop. Amid all this chaos, many organizations are giving financial aids, organizing learning programs and also keeping a track of the mental wellbeing of their employees.
How companies are helping employees in response to COVID-19

Amazon, Facebook, Walmart, Reliance, PepsiCo, and Paytm - what is the one common thing between all these companies? The answer is, at the time COVID-19, all these companies are standing with their employees, and they have got their back. These corporate giants are hiring, supporting their employees with financial aids, and working towards the safety of the employees.

Paytm, Founder, Vijay Shekhar Sharma has announced that he will not take a salary for the next two months, and he committed the money to the needs of Paytm staff amid the pandemic. Sharma was inspired by Marriott International President and CEO Arne Sorenson, as the Chief Executive Officer of Marriott will not be taking a salary for the rest of 2020.

A company is only as good as its people. And the people represent the actual image of the company. In this time of crisis, companies around the world across multiple sectors are providing financial aid, giving bonuses, paid leaves, and leaders are stretching themselves by not drawing salaries for the coming months.

Employers stand for their employees

In a letter to the employees, Amazon Founder, Jeff Bezos, said, "Across the world, people are feeling the economic effects of this crisis, and I'm sad to tell you I predict things are going to get worse before they get better. We're hiring for 100,000 new roles and raising wages for our hourly workers who are fulfilling orders and delivering to customers during this period of stress and turmoil. At the same time, other businesses like restaurants and bars are being forced to shut their doors. We hope people who've been laid off will come work with us until they're able to go back to the jobs they had." 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the company is hiring more workers, and employees diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine will receive up to two weeks of pay.

PepsiCo will also pay 100 percent of their pay to those employees who are in quarantine. The company announced that it would provide enhanced benefits to all U.S.-based employees and additional compensation to U.S. frontline employees – the women and men who make, move and sell products – amidst the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The additional compensation covers more than 90,000 frontline employees at both PepsiCo Beverages North America (PBNA) and PepsiCo Foods North America (PFNA). It consists of a minimum of an incremental $100 per week for full-time employees over the next month. PepsiCo also announced it would hire 6,000 new, full-time, full-benefit frontline employees across the U.S. in the coming months.

Global retail chain giant, Walmart has responded to COVID-19 with more hiring and paying extra bonuses to the employees. As part of responding to the current environment, Walmart is also hiring 150,000 new associates through the end of May to work in stores, clubs, distribution, and fulfillment centers.

The company is providing a cash bonus for hourly associates in a time of an unprecedented national health crisis. The bonus is for all U.S. hourly associates in stores, clubs, supply chain, and offices. The bonus will be $300 for full-time hourly associates and $150 for part-time hourly associates and will add up to more than $365 million.

Appreciating the effort of the employees, Doug McMillon, President and CEO of Walmart, said, "Walmart associates have gone above and beyond the call of duty in serving our customers during these unprecedented times. We want to reward our associates for their hard work and recognize them for the work that is in front of us."

The Mukesh Ambani-led conglomerate Reliance Industries issued a statement where it said that all employees who are earning below Rs 30,000 per month would be paid twice a month to protect their cash flow and mitigate any overwhelming financial burden.

Facebook is also giving $1,000 bonuses to its employees to support them during the coronavirus pandemic. The company announced that they are offering $1,000 to use for whatever the employees see fit to support themselves and their families in adapting during this period.

Other organizations from different sectors such as FMCG, Banking, and Retail are coming forward to take care of their employees with all the measures they are capable of doing.

The crisis is taking a toll on the corporates but some of them are going extra mile to make the situation normal for their employees. Shree Ramkrishna Exports has paid full salary for the month of March to the entire workforce of around 6000 employees (Including Contracted Workforce). The company is not setting off any eligible paid leaves which respective employees are already having in their account. 

Mental wellness 

Panasonic has come up with multiple virtual programs to engage the employees one of the specific initiatives are HR Business Ambassadors. These are in regular touch with all employees to keep a check on their wellbeing and ensure their safety in this critical hour. 

Smartphone brand, itel is constantly driving responsible communication and internal engagement campaigns to help employees cope up through spiraling negative thoughts about this uncertain time. The company is organizing comic styled tips & tricks to efficiently manage work from home. The mobile brand has also introduced fitness challenges, quiz and games to keep the employees fit and stress-free. 

In order to maintain the well being of the employees, ITC Hotels is maintaining a personal connection with the employees. Each HR Manager calls a minimum of 10 employees daily to enquire about their health and safety and that of their family members. More than 1200 employees have been reached at their homes & extended necessary support. 

Amway is continuing with the increments, promotions, and recognition as per earlier plans. Despite the tough times the employees have received salary corrections effective 1st April 2020.  

The company has constituted a COVID-19 Crisis committee comprising select members of the leadership team. The committee is responsible for charting out and guiding the crisis strategy for the employees. The company has rolled out virtual engagement programs, external webinars on a variety of topics to learn new skills and also introduced employees mediclaim plans that will cover treatment costs arising on account of N-COVID. 

In the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, the L&D team of Clix Capital has launched a channel on the Learning Experience Platform, specifically dedicated to Wellness. This channel is regularly populated with content like- motivational videos by senior leaders on themes like how to make WFH productive, articles on mental well-being by reputed publications etc. 

Digital software networking company, Amdocs has taken the precautions to ensure a safe and healthy workplace at their offices globally while maintaining an open channel of communication and updates with the employees. To add another layer of support to help the employees during these complex times, they launched the Virtually Together website, and have made large parts of it available to the wider community as it can help everyone. Virtually Together incorporates a wide range of solutions for working from home, wellbeing and for parents at home with their kids. 

Learning hour

Learning and upskilling has become paramount in this time of crisis. All the leading companies are opting for virtual learning classes and trying to get the maximum leverage out of this lockdown. These courses give employees enough time to upskill themselves and stay relevant for the future. 

Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages has launched a virtual employee engagement programme that seeks to involve our colleagues and their family members online for their physical, and mental wellness. The company is also conducting virtual town halls at all levels of the workforce to keep everyone updated of the latest and seek their inputs on the best course of action, at a given time. 

McDonalds India has adapted many of its classroom training modules digitally, and introduced e-learning modules, quizzes, masterclasses by managers and many more creative learning sessions, which employees can access on their phone while in quarantine at home. This initiative by the company is aimed to make sure that the team continues to learn and grow even when they are staying home.

Apart from ensuring the mental wellness of the employees, ITC Hotels has rolled a number of e-learning courses targeted at specific roles and levels through primary channels of E-Learning. to provide an opportunity for self – learning which can be accentuated through anytime app-based hosting. 

Clix Capital is also hosting live e-sessions on their learning platform on topics such as P&L Training, Managing personal finances etc. The company is also encouraging employees to sign up for an online course in their domain on platforms like Coursera that will add to their existing skill set. The company will bear the cost of the course and the certification, if completed within the designated time frame.

With multiple measures being put in place, the entire world is hoping that this crisis will come to an end soon. And when all of this will be over, every organization will be remembered for what they did during the crisis for their employees. They will be remembered for how they sailed through the tough times and fought this long battle. This is not the only crisis that has occurred in history; such crises will come and go; it is about what we learn from this as we prepare for a better tomorrow.


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Topics: C-Suite, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, #COVID-19

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