Supporting Employees During a Crisis: Examples of Standout Brands
From a business standpoint, crisis periods often involve the need for quick decisions based on incomplete information. Sometimes companies get it right, but most often they make mistakes and end up taking away important lessons learned, especially when it comes to employee management.
Supporting employees during a crisis isn’t just the right thing to do, it also communicates to your employees that your company’s values have meaning when it counts. This not only fosters brand loyalty among your employees and community, but it also ensures that you have a company to come back to once the crisis period has passed.
Here are a few examples of brands that got it right when they faced a major crisis and some ideas for how to support your employees during the next major crisis.
Keeping the Pay Checks Going
During any crisis, safety and financial security come to the forefront of everyone’s minds. Employees will be anxious about the possibility of losing pay, or the job entirely, and what that will mean for them and their loved ones. Some may even get desperate and leave a job where their financial stability is uncertain for one that can provide predictable pay checks, even if they’re smaller.
When it comes to supporting employees during a crisis, an important priority will be to provide as much financial certainty as possible. If you’re able to guarantee pay for a specific period of time, communicate that to your workforce as well as the steps you’re taking to protect their jobs. The more communication on this, the better.
When companies faced closures during the COVID-19 pandemic, many offered an immediate guarantee of pay to their staff. Here are a few examples of companies that acted swiftly to protect employee pay:
- Amazon created an emergency relief fund and committed to two weeks of pay for affected employees.
- Taco Bell amended its policies to continue paying employees who were required to stay at home or who worked at a location that was been closed, for their regularly scheduled hours.
- Best Buy allowed its employees to work on a voluntary basis and offered a temporary pay increase for those who did.
- The CEOs of leading companies like Delta, Marriott, and Texas Roadhouse, announced that they would be giving up their salaries for the year to diminish layoffs.
- All 30 Major League Baseball teams pledged $1 million to ballpark employees who were relying on income once the season started.
Finding Ways to Help the Community
Companies that truly rise to the occasion during a crisis know that supporting employees also means supporting communities. Giving your workforce purpose during a time of uncertainty helps to keep them focused, especially when they know that their work is making a difference. Here are a few brands that stood out during the COVID pandemic:
- The Four Seasons New York hotel offered free lodging to medical personnel working lengthy shifts.
- Fashion designer Christian Siriano shifted from couture clothing to producing personal protective equipment to help address the shortage.
- Various distilleries and breweries shifted operations to help produce hand sanitizer which was in high demand early in the crisis.
Banding Together and Forging Partnerships
Depending on the crisis, there could be a fairly broad impact on the economy and industry as a whole. Supporting your employees during a crisis may mean forging partnerships to support industries and the economy as a whole — and to keep your brand solvent. Here’s a few examples of companies coming together to help employees and each other in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Hilton partnered with other companies to help find temporary jobs for their furloughed employees.
- Bringoz provided its technology platform to retailers for free to help them scale their in-house delivery operations.
- DoorDash joined with United Way to deliver food and supplies to people in need.
Translating Employer Goodwill to New Hires
For the companies that do need to increase staff to meet new demands during a crisis period, giving people a reason to choose their organization (beyond simply needing to find work fast) is more important than ever. Leading with your core values during a crisis shows that your company will take care of employees when times are good or bad and helps to attract a dedicated workforce.
Applicants may be motivated by the desire to do something essential to support society, but knowing that a prospective company really values their services can go a long way as well. Take it from these three giant corporations who went out of their way to recruit and hire during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- CVS Health not only hired more workers during the pandemic, but it also gave bonuses to employees who worked on-site, which helped to draw in new hires.
- When Walmart announced that it was hiring 150,000 new employees, it also shared that it was paying out $550 million in special and advanced quarterly bonuses to store and supply chain associates.
- When it announced the hiring of 100,000 US employees early in the pandemic, Amazon also raised its starting pay by $2 an hour and provided for double pay instead of time and a half for employees who work overtime.
Showcasing your company’s goodwill during a crisis is one of the best ways to find candidates who will work hard and reward you with their loyalty. Supporting employees is important every day, but when you do it during the tough times, it becomes personal, in a good way.
Is Supporting Employees Part of Your Brand?
No one can be completely prepared for a crisis, but the businesses that tend to weather the storms best are those which have built a brand centered around their employees. If you want to find ways to strengthen your brand and the company culture that projects it, Monster has the expert resources you need to get started.