- In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the nation's historic unemployment crisis, some major companies have made a commitment to prioritize worker well-being and economic mobility. JFF, a national nonprofit that supports transformation in the American workforce, announced the launch of the #RecoverStronger Initiative June 10.
- Autodesk, Microsoft, Postmates, Salesforce, Walmart and Workday are members of the initiative's founding coalition. JFF referred to the companies as "impact employers" — organizations focused on talent strategies that make a positive impact on workers and communities. The companies are also taking a stand against systemic racism "as the country looks to come together, heal, and recover from its current state of crisis," JFF said.
- Members of the #RecoverStronger Initiative committed to putting "people-centered shared values into practice," such inclusive hiring practices, development programs, total rewards programs and ethical offboarding strategies, according to the organization. The #RecoverStronger Initiative is open to any Fortune 500 corporation, as well as other qualifying U.S. companies, JFF said. To participate, a firm must publicly support the Recovery Commitment for Impact Employers.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, companies that put employees first and practice empathy will be rewarded with loyalty from workers and customers, according to experts.
Those taking part in JFF's #RecoverStronger Initiative committed to enhancing values in support of employees, even in offboarding strategies. In times of crisis, highlighting company values remains important, according to Jeanne Schad, talent solutions and strategy practice leader at Randstad RiseSmart.
"Certainly those who are able to stay true to their values can stay connected to their employees, even if those employees are forced to exit the organization," Schad said in a recent webinar. With the right support, there can be some positive outcomes for people who are laid off, she said.
Companies in the initiative's founding coalition have issued statements against systemic racism; Postmates also made Juneteenth a company holiday. "Starting today Postmates will observe Juneteenth as a permanent company holiday," CEO Bastian Lehmann said on Twitter June 10. "Not just in response to the moment — but to allow all of us time to reflect on the Black American experience (from 1619 to today) and the actions required to move forward together." Juneteenth, observed annually June 19, is a celebration of emancipation from slavery in the United States. The occasion observes June 19, 1865, when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, were informed that they were free — more than two years after The Emancipation Proclamation was signed, according to Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
The #RecoverStronger initiative will conclude in early 2021 and a public report will be made available, according to JFF. With a report, companies can be held accountable for commitments made to prioritize worker well-being and racial equality initiatives.