Considering the devastating impact that COVID had on businesses that require in-person interaction, PartnerHero was relatively lucky in 2020. Our offices closed and we moved to a work-from-home setting in March, making it easier to keep our community safe.
Despite these measures, COVID did create hardships for many of our employee’s families and larger networks which is why our President and COO, Heather Casey, launched the COVID Loan Program in June of 2020.
Heather knew that to get PartnerHero through COVID fundamentally meant getting our associates through COVID, “like all businesses we had to ensure our survival, but part of that meant ensuring our associates made it through the pandemic right along with us. We all have a responsibility to do what we can to help one another, and I’m grateful we were in a position to lead with action over words.”
"Like all businesses we had to ensure our survival, but part of that meant ensuring our associates made it through the pandemic right along with us. We all have a responsibility to do what we can to help one another, and I’m grateful we were in a position to lead with action over words."
The Covid Loan Program was a $100,000 pool that was set aside to loan to associates, interest free, between June and November of 2020. There were only three criteria for eligibility: 1) You were a PartnerHero employee for at least three months 2) You or your family were experiencing some kind of financial hardship 3) You were not a Director, or above, at the company.
Seventy-four of our associates from all over the world accessed funds. In the spirit of our core value “Manifest Trust”, PartnerHero did not ask for many details about what the loan would be spent on but some common themes we heard were that spouses, parents and siblings had lost work due to the pandemic and now the entire family was depending on just the PartnerHero associate’s income. We heard from associates whose family businesses shut down, resulting in lost income for the entire family. We heard about entire households coming down with COVID and the medical expense of dealing with that. We heard about salaries being reduced, resulting in important lost income, making it hard to cover bills.
No matter where you were in the world this year, COVID likely created some stress for you and those around you. At PartnerHero we know that health, and especially mental health, is crucial to good performance. With the COVID Loan Program we hoped to take some stress off recipients' plates, allowing them to move through life a little more normally.
Kenny Zelaya, our People Operations Lead based in Tegucigalpa, Honduras summed it up well, “We are working at a company that really cares about its associates. We did not ask unnecessary questions when it came to distributing the funds because we trust our employees and we care about every single one of them. Some associates said, ‘hey, my family is not doing well, they are not making it through this well.’ We helped them. We know how much it impacts an individual when their family is struggling - so we did something about it. Knowing that we work at a company that cares at that level is beyond special.”