On February 8, Bloomberg shared some long-awaited news from Apple: Retail employees are getting increased benefits, starting April 4. Specifically, the article notes, store workers will get double paid sick days, more annual PTO, and paid parental leave. to leave.
Before you think I’m advocating for small businesses to copy a tech monolith, though, I should note: Apple is just one example of where we should be going.
Undoubtedly, this decision is influenced by the impact of the big resignation – and perhaps a touch of employee dissatisfaction with CEO Tim Cook’s handling of remote/flexible working over the summer of 2021. .
Many leading companies have made efforts to retain their best and brightest, but so far have had a disproportionate response in the “frontline” retail sector – or no response at all. In fact, several months ago I wrote about Nike’s lopsided efforts to address mental health issues in the wake of the pandemic. The office staff got a break; retail workers have been left behind.
On the contrary, Apple’s recent decision underscores the importance of protecting not only your strategists, marketers and headquarters teams, but also those selling your product in the field.
Biggest hit: Part-timers will get up to six days of paid vacation and paid parental leave. This is virtually unheard of – historically, part-time workers haven’t received many benefits at all.
And yet, as we have painfully learned in our new pandemic normal, frontline workers – many of whom are part-timers – are the ones who make the sale, who fuel the results, who enable the growth, who deliver the best salaries received in the corner offices of the headquarters.
What I mean is not that another company is deploying yet another scheme to combat the Great Resignation. We are overwhelmed by these efforts. My point is that Apple is finally giving part-timers their due – and setting an example for other companies to follow.
Equally important is this small detail in the new benefits package: Sick days can be used for mental health leave and to take family members to the doctor. This should be amplified as much as possible; it is a belated recognition of the disproportionate impact of mental health problems in the modern world and the critical importance of family and community care.
Want to follow suit? You don’t have to double sick time out of doors. At the very least, a change in language will pave the way to improved wellness. Be transparent about how it can be used: sick days aren’t just for physical illnesses, but also for mental health management. Encourage your employees to use this time for well-being in all respects. And slowly introduce new wellness benefits as you can – in-office or on-call counsellors, support groups and, yes, more time off.
These changes are not the Herculean effort that they now seem. Start small and work towards more – but do it now.