America’s leading companies are committed to attracting top talent and rewarding their employees’ hard work through higher pay, strong benefits and additional forms of economic support. This commitment starts with the first paychecks employees earn in the workforce. That’s why companies are increasing their minimum wage and adjusting starting wage scales upward to increase their employees’ economic security from day one on the job.
Business leaders also recognize and reward the collective hard work of their teams, understanding that when employees come together to reach their goals, those achievements should be recognized. At The Home Depot, when stores meet sales targets, employees are rewarded with a share of the profits—roughly $256 million in 2017, disbursed to hourly associates at 99 percent of Home Depot stores.
Walmart’s Centers of Excellence (COE) program provides employees like Linda Tetlow with health care benefits by connecting them with national experts for conditions such as heart and spine surgeries, knee and hip replacements and certain cancer diagnoses to help prevent misdiagnoses. Of the 2,300 Walmart associates referred to the COE for spine surgeries, more than half ultimately did not require surgery and found more effective, appropriate and less expensive treatments. Patients at COEs also have shorter hospital stays and lower readmission rates. Walmart covers travel costs to the COEs.
Yet, even in a strong economy, unexpected challenges or hardships can arise for employees and their families. Companies are stepping up to offer support. This includes investing in the daily health and well-being of their employees, working to make health care more accessible and affordable and providing other forms of assistance before, during and after trying times. At Bank of America, for example, employees earning less than $50,000 per year haven’t seen a health insurance premium increase since 2012. In 2018, for employees making less than $60,000 per year, JPMorgan Chase reduced medical plan deductibles by $750. Additionally, the majority of JPMorgan Chase U.S. employees have access to one of the company’s 28 onsite Health and Wellness Centers, which are staffed with physicians, nurses and other health care professionals. The centers handled 791 health emergencies in 2018.
For employees facing financial hardship, Marriott International’s TakeCare Relief Fund makes need-based financial grants available to associates at managed Marriott International locations who are facing financial hardship. The fund has provided over $5 million in monetary assistance to thousands of associates. Similarly, the Walgreens Boots Alliance’s “Walgreen Benefit Fund” provided more than $2.8 million in assistance to more than 2,600 employees and retirees who experienced financial challenges during fiscal year 2018, the 12 months ending August 31, 2018.
Then there are some of life’s biggest and most important moments, such as starting a family. EY, for example, offers 16 weeks of paid parental leave, allowing employees like Brett to be with his daughter Ariella during her first months of life. “To be able to be there for those first 16 weeks of my daughter’s life—I was so privileged and lucky,” said Brett, while describing his experience during parental leave.
Dell Technologies supports new parents by providing 12 weeks of leave for all parents after a birth, adoption or fostering of a child, and the company offers adoption reimbursement of up to $6,000 to cover eligible expenses. (Note, these benefits are region specific.) When Kate Hobbins and her husband, Brian, decided to adopt their second child, Best Buy was there to support Kate with adoption assistance and paid caregiver leave.
These companies remain committed to the health of their employees after they return from time off by providing critical and innovative ongoing benefits. Goldman Sachs also offers resources such as “Strategies for Working Parents,” “Working Parent Forums” and a “Family Matters Resource Room” to help new parents transition back into the workplace and manage work and family priorities.
When it comes to making higher education more affordable, many companies provide student loan repayment programs and more. TSYS, for example, offers the TSYS Future Scholars Foundation scholarship program for college-aged children of TSYS team members. Since 2008, the Foundation has awarded 604 scholarships totaling $1,057,750.
At Huntington Ingalls Industries, CEO and Business Roundtable member Mike Petters donates all but $1 of his base salary to fund scholarships for the children of his employees. “These kids, they already have a love of learning and they have some direction in where they’re going to go,” Petters said. “To be able to have even a minor impact into the trajectory of their lives is just incredibly rewarding.” Similar programs exist at many Business Roundtable member companies. That includes UPS, whose James E. Casey Scholarship Program and the George D. Smith Scholarship Program have awarded more than 6,500 merit-based scholarships to children of UPS employees pursuing post-secondary education.
Finally, America’s leading businesses are just as committed to the mental wellbeing of their employees as they are to the physical and financial. Best Buy has leave-of-absence policies allowing employees struggling with mental or other health issues to leave without having to worry about whether they’ll still have a job upon returning to full health. Ric, a Best Buy employee, was struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts and was getting ready to resign from his job when his wife urged him to get help. Best Buy’s Human Resources department let him know that he could take a leave of absence. “Your job is safe,” Ric recalls HR saying. “Your full-time job, until you tell us differently, is to do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel better.”
The SAS Work/Life and Employee Assistance Program Center provides guidance for employees navigating difficult life events, and helps them lead balanced, healthy and productive lives. The programs and services offered through the Work Life Center would cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars elsewhere. For SAS employees, they’re free of charge and offer immeasurable support in dealing with physical and emotional stress, maintaining mental health and improving overall quality of life.
America’s leading companies know it’s smart business to pay employees well, invest in their health and well-being and provide a helping hand in both good and difficult times. Doing so means treating employees right so companies can better compete for, support and retain the best talent available.