We often hear the bad news before the good news it seems. We see the highlights of what is wrong in the world, along with a growing pandemic; it doesn’t help quell an already anxious society. As an entrepreneur and business owner, your fears have probably been heightened throughout the last few months. Anything from keeping employees working, to paying bills, to being able to survive the next year are maybe just some of the worrisome thoughts that have passed over your mind. While it may not help to hear that you aren’t alone, it may help to hear of what certain companies have done to keep positive and be proactive during this unprecedented time.
Hearing some of these stories will not help us believe in the power of the human spirit, but also give insight into how your business persevere and give back to those that are on the front lines, especially if those who are on the front line are your employees. We are going to highlight both well-known and some not-so-well-known companies, and share what they did to help make this new normal more positive and easier for those that work for them or to give back to their community in a long-lasting way.
Let’s get started with the big names right away. Tech Giant, Apple sourced and donated 20 million masks, of which, 1.9 million of them went to New York City, the first well-known hot spot for the pandemic in the United States. They are also in the process of engineering medical face masks for use in the healthcare field.
Bank of America (and many other banks)
Realizing that many of their customers could be out of work or dealing with hard financial times, Bank of America refunded overdraft fees, deferred mortgage payments and suspended late fees to help their customers as they deal with getting back on their feet.
With kids across the United States out of school due to the growing cases of the Coronavirus, Audible, a streaming audiobook company, is not charging fees to stream educational and entertaining children’s literature collections.
Aside from limiting how many people can be in their store at once, wholesale warehouse company, Costco wanted to reward those on the front lines and give back to them being at the forefront of this pandemic. In April, Costco announced that it would give first responders and health care workers first admittance into its warehouse stores. Paramedics, firefighters, and health care workers with proof of their position are able to cut the line.
The social media leader’s CEO, Mark Zuckerburg, said that he would be investing $100 million in grants to help journalists work during this pandemic. While $25 million will go to the Facebook Journalism Project, the rest will be given out to marketing news organization.
Ford and General Electric
The American automobile giant and General Electric came together to help design and manufacture face shields, respirators, and ventilators due to a shortage of having them within hospitals when the virus first hit the United States.
The car rental company offered its idle rental car services for New York City healthcare workers who struggled to get to work due to the unsafe conditions that public transportation was facing. Hertz also let their rental vans be utilized to help transport ventilators to hospitals in New York City.
Known for its high-quality performance apparel, Nike converted part of its factory to help make face shields and air-purifying respirators for hospitals. They also donated repurposed padding, cords, and shoe soles into PPE (personal protective equipment) to Oregon Health & Science University for their use.
Giant Food & Grocery (Martins)
When the pandemic first put us under quarantine, people made a mad rush to the grocery stores in fear that they may close or be limited in their hours and products. While they didn’t prove true and grocery stores stayed open, it was a monumental moment for these stores to show their appreciation to their employees. Giant, along with other well-known grocers, offered an “appreciation pay” to both full-time and part-time employees. This encompassed a $2 pay raise for employees during the course of the pandemic shut down across America.
In a similar fashion, Sheetz, a household name in Pennsylvania and neighboring states, gave their employees a $3 pay raise for working with the general public during the first wave of the pandemic.
Professional social networking site, LinkedIn, offered free courses that would be beneficial during a quarantine. Courses on how to stay productive, build relationships when you’re not face-to-face, use virtual meeting tools, and balance family and work dynamics were just some of the different courses offered by the company.
A cause close to my heart, Starbucks extended mental health benefits to its employees, and are working to ensure that their employees have access to a variety of therapists and mental health coaches in their provider networks.
Other companies extending sick leave benefits, got full pay while being quarantined, and airline CEO’s either cut or did not take a salary to help pay employees while they were furloughed.
Online powerhouse Amazon, gave back to Seattle small business by pledging $5 million to assist them during the pandemic, as well as establishing a $25 million fund to help their seasonal drivers cope financially.
The hardware retailer announced that it plans to give out $25 million dollars in grant money to minority-owned businesses to help restart the economy. This is a multi-purposeful endeavor during this pandemic, as it not only encompasses boosting the economy for small businesses, it also is giving more financial assistance to businesses owned specifically by minorities and women, another hot topic in American culture right now.
According to Lowe’s CEO, Marvin Ellison, “Lowe’s has been committed to helping minority small business owners—the very backbone of our economy—rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating impact. Helping people make their homes better extends beyond our walls and into our neighborhoods, communities, and country.”
This article should help us remember that goodness can be found in the darkest of moments. While we often hear of the devastation and sadness in the headlines, hopefully, these highlights will help show that there is positive to be found in this world. So as you do what you can to find a new normal in this business world, remember that if we come together to help one another than nothing is out of reach.
Stay safe. Be well. We will get through this.