Some employers are going above and beyond to help staff during the pandemic. Picture: Nicki Connolly
Some employers are going above and beyond to help staff during the pandemic. Picture: Nicki Connolly

Best places to work during the pandemic

Job security pledges, staff bonuses and salaries paid in advance are among the initiatives being offered to Australia's luckiest workers amid the COVID-19 chaos.

While some employers are having to stand down staff or reduce their hours, others are going above and beyond to give employees peace of mind during these uncertain times.

Tech company ServiceNow committed to "no lay-offs in 2020".

Australia and New Zealand managing director David Oakley said the aim was to alleviate concern about job security.

"We want to ensure that our employees' jobs and salaries are protected, despite the economic uncertainty of the COVID‑19 pandemic," he said.

"ServiceNow Australia continues to see appetite for digital transformation and our hiring plans for 2020 plan have not changed, with up to 70 open roles across our Australian offices."

Unemployed people line up outside Surry Hills Centrelink in Sydney as the COVID-19 pandemic causes massive job losses. Picture: Sam Ruttyn
Unemployed people line up outside Surry Hills Centrelink in Sydney as the COVID-19 pandemic causes massive job losses. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

Online retailer Kogan also assured its 200 Australian staff of their job security - and gave them each a $500 coronavirus bonus.

In a company-wide memo, founder and chief executive Ruslan Kogan made it clear there were "no plans for COVID-19-related redundancies at Kogan.com".

"There will be no pay cuts, and no team members will be stood down without pay," he wrote.

"In fact, we're going to continue hiring and growing our team."

The company last month onboarded and trained its first group of team members that had only met virtually.

Meanwhile, telecommunications provider Amaysim introduced its own suite of measures to help out staff and provide peace of mind.

Among them was the offer of advanced payment of up to one months' salary, to be paid back over a 10-month period once the pandemic was declared over by the World Health Organisation.

Amaysim’s Tracey Murphy says the telco is helping staff with a suite of coronavirus-centred initiatives. Picture: Supplied
Amaysim’s Tracey Murphy says the telco is helping staff with a suite of coronavirus-centred initiatives. Picture: Supplied

Although designed to help out with financial hardship incurred as a result of the pandemic - for example, if a spouse lost their job - no questions were asked and no strings attached.

Amaysim chief people and culture officer Tracey Murphy said 26 of the company's 210 workers across Australia had already accessed the loan program.

"It takes one thing off their mind so they are better able to focus on their job when they are not worried about their financial situation," she said.

Amaysim also allowed each staff member to claim $150 worth of equipment to set up their home office and introduced pandemic leave - an additional 14 days that could be used for any coronavirus-related situation, such as caring for a sick family member or looking after children if their childcare centre was closed.

The company is currently recruiting across Melbourne and Sydney.

 

ONE OF THE LUCKY ONES

Kogan employee Emma Wischer plans to spend her $500 coronavirus bonus on fitness equipment to help her stay active while working from home.

The marketing and content co-ordinator and her colleagues received the one-off payment as a gesture of goodwill from their employer last month.

"I'm also going to buy some more equipment to boost my home office set up even more, then the remainder to cover personal bills and put away a little for saving," the Elwood, Melbourne resident said.

Emma Wisher received a bonus from her employer to help out with any financial struggles during the pandemic. Picture: Nicki Connolly
Emma Wisher received a bonus from her employer to help out with any financial struggles during the pandemic. Picture: Nicki Connolly

Miss Wischer, 23, said the company-wide bonus was a "really welcome surprise", especially as other businesses were tightening their belts or standing down workers.

"Some of my family members are business owners and have taken a really large hit since the pandemic, others have completely lost their ability to work making this time very stressful and uncertain for them," she said.

"A few friends who worked in retail jobs have been stood down due to store closures as a result of the pandemic, they're now having to start the search for new work.

"Knowing that Kogan.com is not only in a positive enough position to provide the bonus to team members, but also knowing that the company is willing to take measures to look after us as team members and ensure that we are all supported financially and symbolically was really encouraging."

SAFE AND SECURE

ServiceNow employee Liz Fassone hopes more companies will follow her employer's lead and pledge to avoid lay-offs during the coronavirus pandemic.

The senior solution consultant from Waverton, New South Wales said she had been assured of her job security from the beginning, with constant communication from all levels of leadership.

Liz Fassone’s employer announced a commitment to no lay-offs in 2020. Picture: Christian Gilles
Liz Fassone’s employer announced a commitment to no lay-offs in 2020. Picture: Christian Gilles

"It is very reassuring to know that my colleagues and I are safe in our roles and can continue business as usual in this new normal," she said.

"I think it's important for employers to show that they care about employees - by taking the time to communicate and offer as much clarity as possible.

"This gives people satisfaction that they are being taken care of and in return they're likely to be committed to doing their best work.

"Job security gives people a degree of control when everything else is so uncertain."

Ms Fassone, 33, has been with ServiceNow for more than four years and said the company's pledge to retain all staff allowed her to focus on work rather than stress.

"I think that job uncertainty would be a heavy weight which would drain an individual mentally and physically," she said.

"Undoubtedly, your work and productivity would be impacted from the downstream effects of this stress.

"Happy employees are hardworking employees."

 

READ MORE EMPLOYMENT NEWS IN THE CAREERS SECTION OF SATURDAY'S THE COURIER-MAIL, THE HERALD SUN, THE ADVERTISER AND THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

Originally published as Best places to work during the pandemic



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