No matter what business you’re in, an event like the COVID-19 pandemic incites fear and anxiety among employees because there’s so much that is unknown in the moment.
Thus, any reassurance of job security is a welcome sign. Visa Chairman and CEO, Alfred F. Kelly Jr. provided his 20,000 employees with that comfort in late March by announcing that there would be no layoffs in 2020 as a result of COVID-19.
“There is enough sadness in the world and already too many families impacted by job losses,” Kelly Jr. posted on his LinkedIn page. “I have no interest in contributing to that. Our employees and clients continue to be my top priority during this challenging time.”
Since that declaration by Kelly Jr., the Visa Foundation also announced that it is pledging $210 million to fund two different programs that support small and micro enterprises that have been financially disrupted because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Money from the Visa Foundation will offer capital to non-government organizations (NGOs) and investment partners that assist small and micro-businesses.
The first program is a $10 million fund that provided emergency assistance to charities on the frontlines fighting the pandemic — public health and food relief — in North America; Latin America and the Caribbean; Europe; Asia Pacific; and Central Europe, Middle East and Africa.
“As COVID-19 continues to unfold, communities are feeling the effects and need our immediate support,” Kelly Jr. said. “As a global company that operates a very local business, we recognize this need. We’re also committed to the long-term recovery and will continue to explore ways we can accelerate economic activity in line with our mission to help individuals, businesses and economies thrive.”
The second program is a five-year, strategic $200 million commitment to support small and micro businesses around the world, with a focus on fostering women’s economic advancement.
In its release, Visa asserted that small businesses are the backbone of the global economy, accounting for more than 90% of worldwide businesses and contributing 50-60% of global employment.
“Now more than ever, we must accelerate our support for small businesses on the frontlines driving economic growth,” Kelly Jr. said. “As many small and micro business owners are women, there will be a ripple effect supporting women’s economic advancement, which we believe is one of the most important ways to achieve gender equality, reduce poverty and foster inclusive economic development.”
Through the $200 million small and micro business program, the Visa Foundation said it will provide $60 million in grants to NGOs dedicated to supporting small and micro business owners, many of whom are women, in every region where Visa operates. The Visa Foundation said it will also allocate $140 million with investment partners that generate positive social and financial returns for small and micro businesses.
“Two hundred million dollars in new financial resources demonstrates our continuing commitment to support small and micro businesses, with a focus on women’s economic advancement globally,” said Graham Macmillan, president of the Visa Foundation. “When women thrive, communities thrive. We know this matters now more than ever as the global economy seeks to recover and rebuild.”
No Layoffs: Tech’s Next Big Idea
Many technology companies have decided to institute a “no layoff” policy for their employees during these tumultuous times. Not only is this good for workers, but it’s smart business, writes Tae Kim of Bloomberg. Kim asserts that company reputations are built during tough times and promising job security engenders loyalty from one of companies’ most important assets: human capital.
See the full list of organizations WorldatWork has identified as a part of our #KeepTheWorldatWork campaign. If you know of a company we missed, email us and we'll add them to the list.
About the Author
Brett Christie is the managing editor of Workspan Daily.