Helping employees during Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. How you support workers during the outbreak could have a lasting impact on recruitment and retention efforts.

What will you say when asked how you helped employees during the COVID-19 outbreak?

We are in the midst of a crisis. The Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak is dramatically reshaping the working world. Healthcare workers, delivery drivers and grocery store shelf stockers are being overworked while waiters, bartenders, musicians and those in the hospitality industry are dealing with shutdowns, layoffs, and unemployment. All of them are looking to their employers for help to get through this uncertain time. 

How employers respond to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic will have a significant impact on recruiting and retention efforts for quite some time.

Helping Employees During Coronavirus/COVID-19 Outbreak

Employees at all levels are dealing with increased financial stress. Nearly 60 percent of Americans say the Coronavirus has had a negative impact on their finances, according to a survey by the National Financial Educators Council. Over 40 percent of them are more concerned about their personal finances than they are about contracting COVID-19.

There are a number of ways employers can support employees during the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. These are a few areas some organizations are zeroing in on and others where the U.S. government is providing assistance:

  • Financial Wellness 

    Employees want to know how the Coronavirus is going to impact their retirement savings, their monthly budget, their credit card debt, their paycheck and they want to know what they should do about it. Best Money Moves, a mobile-first financial wellness platform, just added new resources to answer employees’ questions about how the Coronavirus will affect their finances and for a limited time, new clients can get Best Money Moves free for the first three months.

  • Paid Leave

    The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) mandates certain employers provide up to two weeks of paid sick leave related to COVID-19. Employers who provide paid sick leave under the FFCRA will be eligible for two new refundable payroll tax credits that the IRS will “immediately and fully reimburse” according to the IRS and the U.S. Department of Labor. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) provides almost $350 billion in partially forgivable loans to small businesses and nonprofits with 500 or fewer employees impacted by COVID-19 to help cover payroll and temporary closings.

  • Unemployment Resources

    Some employers, especially small businesses, will have to layoff and furlough employees during the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak. Whenever possible, employers should provide severance pay, extend health benefits and give a tentative rehiring date if the business plans to remain open. Employers should also help employees navigate the unemployment process.

  • Mental Health

    Mental health platforms that offer teletherapy have noticed a surge in usage during the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. People are anxious, depressed, isolated and lonely as they socially distance themselves and stay home to limit the spread of the Coronavirus. Providing resources for those who are struggling with their mental health during this crisis is important. Employers should evaluate their current mental health benefits and consider telehealth solutions.

  • Virtual Recruiting

    Employers in essential services are struggling to fill open positions and comply with social distancing restrictions. CVS Health will fill 50,000 full-time and part-time positions through virtual job fairs, interviews and job tryouts. Walmart is shortening its hiring process to hire associates “in as little as 24 hours” to meet its goal of hiring 150,000 new workers by the end of May. Employers who were in the process of evaluating and interviewing top talent who still need to fill the position and have the budget to do so shouldn’t suspend the hiring process until the Coronavirus outbreak is behind us. Instead, those employers should look to virtual solutions like video conferencing for interviews.

This is a defining moment for business leaders around the world. Years from now potential hires will ask employers what they did to support employees during the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. What will your organization have to say when that time comes?

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