The legendary Marvel Comics’ “Spider-Man” concerns teenager Peter Parker, who is bitten by a radioactive spider and discovers that he has superpowers. After making this discovery, the following quote has often been attributed to Peter’s Uncle Ben:
“With great power comes great responsibility”.
The actual origin of this phrase is unknown, but all Marvel superheroes eventually come to this same philosophical realization.
So it is with business. Your business. Our business.
We are in a time of unprecedented crisis, and it is in times of crisis that we discover just how super-heroic businesses can be. Companies are people, and people rise to the occasion every time.
Apple has donated millions of N95 masks. MyPillow has amazingly repurposed its product line away from pillows to make medical masks. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft purchased 1.7 million N95 masks and flew them on the team plane from China to Boston. Local Los Angeles chefs are preparing meals for the LAUSD’s grab-and-go food donation service. Starbucks extended its mental health benefits. Countless firms have offered paid sick leave. LVMH, the parent company of several fragrance companies, is manufacturing hand sanitizer for free to France.
The list goes on and on.
Here at PayActiv, we have waived all fees for all our services and announced a major initiative by forming and launching a 501c3 foundation (Access Foundation) with a $5M donation. A number of our team members, partners and clients have made substantial donations.
We also announced a major partnership with Paychex the leading payroll company of the world. Through this alliance Paychex is offering Pay-on-Demand, powered by PayActiv to over 650,000 businesses in the US.
With our partnership with OnShift, a leader in human capital management software for post-acute care and senior living, we have extended our fee waiver to assist the frontline healthcare workers that are hardest hit during this crisis.
American businesses are rising to the occasion just as they did in World War II. Many companies are looking at the resources they have in-house that can be repurposed or leveraged to help during this crisis. Big or small, everything matters and every act is a super-heroic act. One need not go from home to home collecting spare steel and copper to make a difference.
If you, as an employer, haven’t already given thought to how you can step into the battle, it is never too late.
Look to your physical resources and your internal supply or manufacturing chain. Can anything be converted to a service that would be of use? Are your employees working from home? If so, can your office space be used for anything, in the way that hotels are donating rooms to serve as makeshift hospital rooms?
You have more than you think. Do you have a closet filled with company-emblazoned swag, like sweatshirts? Donate them to a senior living facility, or places where workers must work outside in the cold. Is your snack room well-stocked? Donate the food to a food bank.
Now is a great time to put everyone in the company together and brainstorm, to find things that can be of use to others.
That list includes human capital. Who in your company has skills that might be of use to others? Give them a day off to use those skills for the benefit of the community. Surely you have strategic thinkers, planners, and operations people. Can they think of an efficient way to deliver your services faster to a targeted group that is in need of assistance?
Is one of your own employees suffering from the virus itself? There is nothing better for that individual than knowing that people care about them. Let that person know by having everyone in the company send them a greeting and a kind word.
The subtext of all great superhero stories is that there is a superhero inside every one of us. It need not take a radioactive spider to save the world.
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