Some Good News: Employers Step Up to Make the World a Better Place

I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling that things have been pretty rough since the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders went into place. Initially, I missed being able to go to my local Mexican restaurant for some table-side guac. As the weeks wore on, things got worse; I started missing the days when I didn’t have to wait in a long (socially distanced) line just to go inside Walmart.

One highlight I have come to count on during COVID-19 is John Krasinski’s YouTube show: SGN (Some Good News). If you haven’t checked out this fun show, John Krasinski (Jim from The Office) highlights some feel-good stories happening around the country.

During the International Foundation’s recent survey Employee Benefits in a COVID-19 World, we asked organizations to tell us something they are doing to help boost the morale of their employees. I don’t have the star power of Krasinski, but I thought I would take advantage of this blog to shine the light on some truly remarkable things companies are doing to help make their employees’ lives a little better during this time.

Some Good News: Employers Step Up to Make the World a Better Place

Here are a few examples of employers across the United States doing things big and small to help make their workers feel supported and appreciated:

Sending Administrative Professional Day Flowers

A small insurance company made sure to show their appreciation for their administrative staff even after stay-at-home orders went into place: “Yesterday was Administrative Professional Day, so we sent flowers to each person’s home along with a promise to take them to lunch when we are able to return, and the restaurants open. They were all thrilled and said the flowers really brightened their day! One person said that was the first person who has come to her door in the past month since we have been working from home!”

COVID-19 Return to Workplace Strategies Virtual Conference

Paying Brand New Employees!

Anne Arundel County in Maryland is making sure that employees continue to receive a paycheck throughout the crisis. “We’re allowing all employees who can to telework. If they can’t telework due to their job, they are being paid their full salary under admin leave for COVID. We’re actually paying new hires that accepted the offer prior to the shutdown, who don’t know their job, admin leave under COVID. No one is missing any pay during this pandemic.”   —Anne Arundel County Government, Maryland

Spreading Joy and Helping to Alleviate Strained Budgets by Sending Gift Cards to Workers

A health care company in the Northeast has “Thankful Thursdays” where they distribute food and gift cards to employees from a different location each week.

CSL Behring, a large manufacturing company in the Northeast, mails gifts to employees to “remind employees we care about their health and are thinking of them.”

Farm Credit Solutions, a small employer in the Midwest, was disappointed when they couldn’t hold their on-site Kentucky Derby Party. To try to make up for it, they did a prize wheel using Zoom, where winners received prizes that can be ordered and delivered online.

The Benefit Company, a professional services firm in the South, has offered several fun COVID perks, including providing gift certificates for Uber Eats, mailing wellness kits to employees’ homes and weekly team virtual-meeting happy hours.

Providing Subsidized Meals

A large manufacturing company in the Midwest has made it possible for their internal cafe to offer subsidized family meals for employees to purchase, pick up curbside and take home.

Having Haiku and Ukulele Jams!

One organization is working to beat the COVID blues by encouraging fun and creativity. Farella Braun + Martel LLP, a legal company located in California, is pushing creativity to boost morale. This company hosts every-other-week noon-time ukulele jam sessions via Zoom and hosts activity challenges to allow for creativity and expression of frustrations, such as a haiku contest and a limerick contest. Reading the entries resulted in laughter—the best medicine!

Writing A Thousand Thank You Cards

The CEO of Holmes Murphy, an insurance company in the Midwest, sent a handwritten note of encouragement to every (1000+) employee.

Thank you to all the companies that participated in this survey!

Thank you to the hundreds of companies that responded to the Foundation’s Employee Benefits in a COVID-19 World. It was very uplifting to spend several hours reading the countless examples of employers who truly care about the well-being of their workers. Let’s keep on caring about one another!

Help us come together as a benefits community by sharing your coronavirus story—what has worked for you and your organization as well as the challenges you still seek answers to—Visit Benefits Together.

Share Your Story at Benefits Together.

Learn More About How COVID-19 Is Changing Employee Benefits

The new report, Employee Benefits in a COVID-19 World, provides data on a variety of benefits including health care, prescription drug, mental health and short-term disability, as well as retirement plans.

Visit the International Foundation Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources page to find even more resources for plan sponsors, including these upcoming free member webcasts:

Rebecca Estrada
Research Analyst at the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

Employee Benefits in a COVID-19 World Survey Report

The latest from Word on Benefits:


Research Analyst at the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans Favorite Foundation Product: I am biased, but I think all of the primary research that the Foundation does here is fantastic. We cover a large breadth of topics in great depth – I think it may be one of our most underused tools. Favorite Foundation Conference Moment: My first week on the job, I attended the “Essentials of Multiemployer Trust Fund Administration” class. I loved to see how much passion the attendees had for their job. They really want to help their participants. Benefits Related Topics That Interest Her Most: Mental health, health insurance, and benefits! (Who doesn’t love great benefits!) Personal Insight: Rebecca’s enthusiasm for data is contagious. Most days you’ll find her crunching numbers from the Foundation’s survey reports to shed light on the latest employee benefits trends. Rebecca applies her same enthusiastic approach to exploring her new state—Wisconsin. She’s a recent transplant from Washington D.C.

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