Ally Financial: A shining example of caring leadership during Covid-19
By Josh Williams, Ph.D.
Organizational leaders are facing extreme challenges in navigating COVID-19. This is especially true with high profile organizations that are under intense scrutiny. Unfortunately, we’ve seen some missteps along the way. Although Amazon recently pledged all of its $4B second quarter profits to coronavirus relief efforts, they also received negative press for perceptions of how they initially handled employees’ safety in some of their warehouses. This included how they responded with people who spoke up about it (1). Perceptions of mishandling employee safety are bad for business, especially right now.
Other organizational leaders have bolstered their company brands by handling the COVID-19 crisis with caring, compassion, and courage. Ally Financial is a shining example. They took immediate steps to address employees’ safety and security when the first reports of COVID filtered in.
This included a number of bold steps, including (2):
- Sending employees who self-identified as high-risk for COVID home with pay.
- Giving a $1,200 tax-free financial assistance payment to help cover unexpected costs related to working from home for all employees making less than $100,000/year.
- Adding 100% coverage for diagnostic testing and hospital visits related to COVID-19.
- Providing immediate paid medical leave for any employee diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Expanding childcare support when daycare or adult/elder care arrangements were disrupted, including 30 uses of emergency care.
- Providing 100% coverage for virtual doctor visits and online health care services.
- Paying caregiver leave for employees caring for an ill family member.
- Offering free financial planning support, including access to certified planners and credit monitoring.
- Providing access to free mental health professionals, via phone or text, through the Employee Assistance Program.
- Offering free telemedicine consults.
- Offering well-being education and training geared to staying physically and mentally healthy at home.
According to Kathie Patterson, their chief HR officer, “Everything we do is through the lens of care and support. That’s the culture of Ally. When you get culture right everything else falls into place and there is no better time to let that shine than right now.” (2)
Recent blogs have showcased other exemplary efforts that leaders have taken to show caring and compassion during COVID-19. As we begin to open up certain segments of society, it is important to remember that manner in which leaders handle employees’ safety says a lot about their character.