Human Resources News & Insights

Case study: Helping employees when they need it most

What’s the best way to show staff you appreciate their hard work? Here’s how one company went above and beyond in giving back to its employees.

(As related by the senior VP of HR at a Massachusetts senior living facility)

We wanted to show our employees we were just as committed to them as they were to us.

We’d be nowhere without our dedicated staff, and as we began making preparations for our 10th anniversary, we wanted to do more for them than just throw a party.

Specifically, we wanted to thank them by offering them something that would truly show our appreciation.

Up to $5,000 in aid

After some brainstorming, we came up with the idea for a program called the One Company Fund.

The goal: Be able to help our staff when they need it the most.

Here’s how it works: The fund is a non-profit, tax-exempt program that offers up to $5,000 to employees when they’re faced with a crisis or unanticipated hardship.

That can include any number of emergencies or natural disasters, including fire, flood or tornado, theft,a death in the family, and illness or disability. The program also offers help for workers who experience financial difficulties.

Support for the program comes via donations from the company, execs, staff members and other friends.

To apply for a grant, employees contact our selection committee, which is made up of a regular employee, two front-line managers, and two execs.

After getting our ducks in a row, we rolled out the program with a lot of fanfare.

But we found that not many employees took advantage of it because they weren’t sure it covered the specific hardships they were going through.

It was clear we had to ramp up communications about the fund.

Got the word out

In the annual survey we have employees fill out at the end of the year, we asked them to answer questions about the fund.

We also put up bulletin boards around the company to educate workers about what the fund was and what situations were likely to be covered.

Both steps went a long way in filling in staff on what the fund was.

So far, we’ve helped 275 people get through tough times.

Not only have we provided aid to our own employees, but we’ve also helped the relatives and parents of staff, including some who were living in Haiti during the 2010 earthquake.

The program has done exactly what we hoped it’d do – show employees how committed we are to them and their well-being.

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