As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps globally, almost every industry worldwide suffered. This includes the U.S., where private businesses and small enterprises became the most vulnerable. Even the global, national, and local economies encountered great losses because of the pandemic’s uncertain nature. If this goes on, more employees will lose jobs, and entrepreneurs won’t support their businesses.
In the past years, big companies often take a step back in times of crisis. But as stakeholder capitalism turns mainstream and businesses strengthen their roles in society, business leaders are now going against the odds. For example, corporations and pharmaceutical companies are working with drug discovery platforms, such as SARS-CoV-2 protease assay services, supporting the global quest to beat COVID-19.
Despite challenging times, businesses have plenty of ways to create a positive impact on society. This is their opportunity to expand their capacity to mold public policies through programs promoting corporate responsibility. With this in mind, here are some ways how corporations can contribute their resources in addressing economic needs during this pandemic.
As many businesses closed down in the first few months of the pandemic, many employees lost their jobs because of company layoffs. This puts too much pressure on the labor force because of the economic uncertainty brought by the crisis. Meanwhile, remote workers have been making plenty of adjustments to balance their home and work duties. In this time of unrest, the overwhelming circumstances of the pandemic can heavily affect the emotional well-being of employees.
Supporting employees is one of the main responsibilities of every business during these trying times. First, businesses must ensure proper guidance and accurate information to their staff. In some businesses, the employer serves as the source of health information to their workers. It becomes a key responsibility for companies to ensure employees obtain access to medical-related information.
Second, businesses must extend any form of support to staff who are traveling more during the pandemic. This includes access to medical support, vaccination, transportation, lodging, and other essential needs. If businesses plan to resume their on-site operations during this pandemic, they should address public health concerns by considering the possibilities of positive cases, isolation, and quarantine in the workplace. They should also be ready to extend assistance in contract tracing efforts.
Business leaders should not only examine their contributions to company growth but society as well. In fact, any effort creates a big impact on society. They can use their brands and influence to connect and support people in raising awareness and creating solidarity groups within communities.
Supporting small business
While large corporations have concrete plans to prepare themselves and survive the pandemic, Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are suffering from a financial crisis. In a report by Wall Street Journal, confidence in managing small businesses plummeted because of COVID-19. This led small entrepreneurs to make painful choices as they grappled with the effects of industry fallouts.
Considering the growing predicament of SMEs, large corporations are now stepping in to extend their support. In fact, Amazon released $5 million as a relief fund for SMEs, while Google pledged $1 million to small organizations affected by the pandemic. These examples of voluntary initiatives to unite SMEs make a big difference in encouraging business sustainability. Organizing video conferences, discussions, and virtual webinars are some of the best practices to help SMEs navigate the business world in times of uncertainty.
Offering financial security and mental health support
While companies reduce working hours and lay off employees as a part of their cost-cutting strategies, some corporations continue to support workers financially. One example is Lululemon that temporarily shut down stores located around North America and provides salary and access to relief funds to employees. Meanwhile, Microsoft continues to provide regular payments to its hourly employees despite the dwindling demand for its products and services.
Instead of reducing the workforce, companies must look for a fairer approach to layoffs by looking for better alternatives to cost-cutting strategies. While layoffs are inevitable, it is better to consider every opportunity before letting go of employees. These can be in the form of freeze hiring, halting salary increases, taking advantage of employee attrition, and reducing work hours, fringe benefits, and pay rates. But before employing these strategies, make sure employees are involved in maintaining their trust levels in the organization.
As the pandemic drags on, the implications of the coronavirus will continue disrupting industries and lives for the coming months. The corporate industry can do something during these times of uncertainty by implementing initiatives and strategies that will benefit communities and ensure the long-term success of their businesses and the economy.