During a pandemic that has shuttered businesses and stranded people in their homes?
That thought can be hard to process. Lately, we’ve come to expect bad news, including that seventeen million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in just three weeks. But good news is out there, too. Hiring is happening. And it will continue to. In a big way.
Right now, hiring is happening because companies that provide essential services need to hire hundreds of thousands of new workers to keep up with the demand. Many of these workers—grocery clerks, nurses, pharmacists, truck drivers, and more—have been pushed to their limits by working around the clock since the crisis COVID-19 crisis took hold. These workers can’t keep up the pace forever, and yet the need for the services they provide persists. This need will only increase as state and local governments extend stay-at-home orders and reopening efforts remain uncertain. This is why some industries are actually experiencing hiring booms.2
GPM Investments, LLC, which operates and supplies convenience stores in twenty-three states, has been preparing for this moment since March, when they announced they would be hiring up to five thousand store employees in the wake of the COVID-19 virus.3
“We want the communities where we operate to know we have a place for them and would love to have them join our team,” explains GPM’s Senior Vice President of Human Resources Veronica Donchez.4
Since their March announcement, GPM has received an “overwhelming response” to their call for applications. They will hold a hiring event in early May, where they will interview applicants and offer jobs to thousands of new associates, including those hit hardest by the current unemployment environment.
In addition to offering new hires the welcome security of a weekly paycheck, GPM is offering financial help by partnering with PayActiv, a technology platform that allows employees to access up to 50 percent of their earned pay. If their $1200 stimulus checks haven’t arrived, or if they were immediately claimed by loan payments, employees won’t have to wait for the official payday to access some of their much-needed cash. With PayActiv’s Earned Wage Access (EWA) program, workers can access their earnings when they need them. And for the duration of the coronavirus crisis, PayActiv is granting workers this access for free.
“We have been a successful partner with PayActiv, a company that allows our team members the freedom and flexibility to access their earned wages on their terms,” explains Donchez. “This allows our associates quick access to their earnings prior to their scheduled paycheck so they can purchase much-needed supplies for their households.”
Safwan Shah, CEO and cofounder of PayActiv, is equally proud to partner with GPM. “We are thrilled to build on our long-standing relationship with GPM to provide these new hires with instant access to their earned but unpaid wages, on-demand between paychecks, in whatever way they need it most,” Shah says.
GPM and PayActiv will also provide employees with special discounts at local stores and on prescriptions as well as the ability to use earned wages to take advantage of services including Uber and Amazon. Through an easy-to-use mobile app, GPM and PayActiv also offer financial counseling, budgeting, and savings tools for employees. PayActiv’s financial care package will help GPM attract new hires and retain them long after the crisis is over.
“We want to assure people who live in the communities where we operate that we intend to continue operations and can provide employment opportunities for those who have lost their income as a result of the pandemic,” said Arie Kotler, chief executive officer of GPM. “I continue to be amazed at the dedication and fortitude of our associates as we navigate this crisis and hope to add many others in need to our team.”5
 Rebecca Rainey and Quint Forgey, “Unemployment Claims Near 17 Million in Three Weeks as Coronavirus Ravages Economy,” Politico, April 9, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/09/coronavirus-unemployment-claims-numbers-176794.
2 Sarah Overmyer, “The State of Essential Jobs During COVID-19,” Indeed, April 17, 2020, http://blog.indeed.com/2020/04/17/the-state-of-essential-jobs/.
3 “GPM investments, LLC to Hire Up to 5,000 Store Employees in the Wake of the COVID-19 Virus,” GPM Investments, March 21, 2020, https://gpminvestments.com/gpm-investments-llc-to-hire-up-to-5000-store-employees-in-the-wake-of-the-covid-19-virus/.
4 Isabelle Gustafson, “GPM to Host Hiring Event,” CStore Decisions, May 5, 2020, https://cstoredecisions.com/2020/05/05/gpm-hosts-hiring-event-partners-with-payactiv/.
5 “GPM investments, LLC To Hire Up To 5,000 Store Employees in the Wake of the Covid-19 Virus.”
There is something HR can do to help employees relieve some of the...