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How a company responds during a crisis can speak volumes about its culture and character and of course the experience it wants to create for its people. Does it rush to sell its product and boost sales? Does it reach out to customers? Does it protect its management and lay off entry-level employees? Treating people well during times of prosperity is easy, but treating people well during times of stress and tension is what really matters.

The COVID-19 pandemic has given companies around the world a chance to show what they are made of. Instead of simply putting their core values on a poster, this is a chance to live them. A number of companies are focusing on their people and showing that employees really matter. Of course, there are plenty of other companies out there who are doing the exact opposite.

Here are three examples of companies putting their employees first during this global crisis:


PepsiCo was one of the first companies to give its front-line employees pay raises, continue to pay employees who can’t work due to COVID-19, and offer a variety of assistance packages. The packages include an extra $100 per week to employees who produce, transport, or deliver products, as well as a full salary for up to 14 days for employees who have to be quarantined. PepsiCo is also offering employees at least two-thirds pay for up to 10 weeks if they are sick or have to take care of a sick loved one.

PepsiCo also unveiled new caregiver benefits, including two-thirds pay for up to 12 weeks for employees who can’t work from home and must care for a child. The company views its employees as “the backbone of the company,” which is demonstrated through its actions.


Twitter set the tone for many large companies when it was one of the first to switch to a work-from-home model during the pandemic. After moving all employees to work remotely, the company announced that any employee who wants to continue to work from home can do so forever. The choice for if and when an employee wants to return to work in the office is up to each individual.

Twitter also supports its employees in the pandemic by reimbursing any additional childcare expenses working parents may experience and paying for employees to set up their home offices, including covering their internet costs.


Starbucks committed $10 million to its Global Partner Emergency Relief Fund to support employees around the world affected by the pandemic. Employees can apply for a grant to help them get through extreme hardship.

Aside from providing traditional health benefits for its employees, Starbucks recently unveiled expanded mental health benefits for all employees who work 20 hours or more per week. Every employee and their family members will have access to 20 therapy sessions a year at no cost.

“As we navigate this global crisis, we never lose sight of the wellbeing of our partners, who are the heartbeat of this company,” said Lucy Helm, Starbucks chief partner officer.

These companies show the importance of putting employees first, especially during tough times which is when it really matters. From childcare costs to medical leave and mental health treatments, there are many needs for employees during this unprecedented time, and the best companies work to meet those needs. For all of the leaders out there, remember that now is the time to be a human being first and a business leader second. No organization can exist without people and I can promise you that when the pandemic is behind us, it’s the organizations who put their people first that will continue to thrive and attract and retain the best people.

These are some of the many companies that are stepping up to take care of their people. Do you have another company you want to add to the list? Please share below!

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