Collaborative Action to Combat COVID-19
Date: March 20, 2020
In CECP’s 2020 Look Ahead blog, our annual examination the corporate social engagement field, Collaborative Action was one of five themes for the upcoming year. CECP noted that in seeking to address time-sensitive global issues, companies will move quickly together for mutual benefit. The fast-moving global COVID-19 pandemic was far from our minds when drafting the article, but as we have seen in the past two weeks, companies are responding quickly and focused on ensuring their key stakeholders – particularly their employees – are safe.
Last week, CECP conducted a Pulse Survey asking our companies, “Has your team taken action related to COVID-19? We know companies have added and/or changed strategies for employees, supply chain partners, and customers, but what are companies doing within their local and global communities? We also know companies are enacting their disaster relief strategies (e.g., donations of cash and product). If your team is acting, does it include that and/or other actions?”
These results indicate that most companies have enacted both their disaster relief strategy AND have taken other action outside that strategy.
A week ago today, President Trump stepped to the podium to address Americans with an update on the efforts and progress being made to overcome the coronavirus. Accompanying him were 10 executives of the world’s leading companies, each of whom shared brief remarks on their contributions to improve the current circumstances. To highlight a few:
Walmart plans to make segments of their parking lots available for drive-through testing.
BD is boosting manufacturing capabilities for collection devices and testing equipment.
Quest Diagnostics with the help of others, will bring resources to their facilities to increase the capacity for testing.
Target commits to keeping stores open to serve consumers stocking up on necessities and creating a safe environment for their team members.
Roche gained approval from the Food and Drug Administration for their tests.
CVS is focused on providing information and safety to patients and customers.
Together these companies have the resources to quickly create new systems to support government and hospitals.
CECP’s blog posted last week also highlighted some of the actions companies are taking to adapt to this crisis. Many are focused on corporate purpose and values to inform how they think about the way they will lead today with an eye towards the long-term.
The urgency of collaborative action we are seeing today can be summed up best by Target CEO Brian Cornell, “Normally, you’d view us as competitors, but today we’re focused on a common competitor and that’s defeating the spread of the coronavirus.” This goes beyond profit and toward a responsibility to all stakeholders.
Companies will continue to pool their resources, such as Regeneron and Sanofi, which are administering studies to uncover the usefulness of a co-developed drug as treatment.
Financial support has been a large concern for workers. Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, and others are launching a regional COVID-19 Response Fund. Many players and owners in the National Basketball Association committed to covering lost wages for arena employees. Facebook plans to give employees an extra $1,000 along with positive performance reviews.
Companies and organizations are uniting to provide what they can. Whether that might be medical equipment, financial support, accurate information, or a parking lot.
Never has an old saying been more fitting than in this situation: “If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together.” CECP is taking this to heart and talking to our companies on a daily basis to learn their needs and understand how we can help. We are creating tools and resources to meet their needs, including bringing them together for a series of conversations. Our calendar of events through May 2020 has been moved to virtual platforms. CECP employees are working remotely and supporting each other as best we can.
Collaborative efforts are not new, but they are more important than ever before to effectively overcome obstacles not just in business, but also the world.
Is your company working with others in response to coronavirus? Share your story so that we may crowdsource solutions to share with our companies. Please also let CECP know how we can support you by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.