The article is attributed to Mr. Ankur Mittal, SVP – Technology & MD, Lowe’s India
You may have heard this very often. But it still merits to say it again.
COVID-19 has changed the world and how we live our lives every day.
It has thrown curveballs at my leadership team and me on how to navigate the constantly changing situation. Through all of this, the one thing that did not change, and serves as a north star, is Lowe’s culture and our commitment to support our associates and communities in any way we can.
Throughout our 100-year history, Lowe’s has prioritized the health and well-being of our associates, their families, and the communities we operate in. We have adopted a strategic three-pronged approach to navigate the new normal in this pandemic.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, Lowe’s is proactively helping its associates, and their families prepare to tackle the virus. For one, the organization has announced that it would continue working remotely until October 2021 to ensure the safety of its associates. We are continuously assessing the situation on-ground and will revisit this decision once again closer to the date.
Recognizing the importance of having basic healthcare materials handy, Lowe’s India sent out ‘healthcare kits’ to all our associates’ residences. These included Oximeters, Rapid Antigen Test kits, thermometers, essential medicines, BP monitors, masks, gloves, and PPE Kit, among other things that would help our associates and their families stay safe and monitor basic health indicators.
An employee post: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/virendra-kumar-sharma-4b11a314_Lowe’sslife-activity-6803240121408753664-5iht/
At Lowe’s, we understand that vaccination is a personal choice. For associates who choose to be vaccinated, we are enabling access by organizing vaccination drives in our offices, aligned to government guidelines. For associates who wanted to get themselves or their families vaccinated at a drive-in/facility of their choice, we’re reimbursing the vaccination cost incurred by them.
Despite efforts to pre-empt and prepare, unfortunately, many of our associates and their families tested positive for COVID-19. Our focus in such situations is to provide support in any way that we can. Our frontline teams are working tirelessly to roll out multiple initiatives offering medical and financial support, extra leaves, and mental health support to manage stress.
Recognizing that quick access to a registered medical professional is essential during these times, Lowe’s India launched an exclusive 24X7 telemedicine consultation facility for our team and their families.
Additionally, to support our associates and ease their workload, we at Lowe’s India re-prioritized projects so that our employees can focus on their and their family’s health and wellness needs. Lowe’s India has also extended the Associate Assistance Program to support not only our associates but also their immediate family in managing their emotional, mental, and psychological well-being needs during these challenging times.
Apart from the COVID-19 leaves, our associates can also avail caregiver leaves to support their families. We have also enhanced the Group Medical Insurance Program to extend financial support as required. When we spoke to our associates, we realized that every case does not need hospitalization and, in some cases, burdens our employees with added medical expenses. It’s for this reason, we are now offering reimbursements for expenses incurred due to COVID-19, should they or their immediate families require health care support at home. Also, to meet any additional medical expenses due to COVID-19 related issues, Lowe’s India associates can avail salary advances.
Despite our best efforts, we at Lowe’s India lost a few associates to the virus. We continue to feel a deep sense of loss over their demise and stand in solidarity with their families. In this regard, Lowe’s has been offering benefits over and above the existing Group Term Life Insurance Plan. The bereaved families will receive a monthly salary of up to one year, medical insurance coverage, and counselling support of up to two years. In addition, we will consider the spouse/children for suitable roles within the organization based on merit.
Supporting our communities
At Lowe’s, we are focusing our resources, skills, connections, technology, and voice to provide a global response to this catastrophe. We believe we can best address this humanitarian crisis collectively. Therefore, we are partnering with various NGOs and civic/administrative bodies to ensure that timely aid reaches the needy.
With the rising COVID cases, we knew that there would be added pressure on frontline workers, and they would require the necessary gear to remain safe. With that in mind, Lowe’s U.S. team has shipped thousands of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) kit materials (including face shields, gloves, and masks) to India for supporting our frontline workers who have been working tirelessly to keep us all safe and healthy.
Additionally, Lowe’s U.S. has donated $5 Million (INR 37 crores) towards COVID-19 relief to NGOs working on the ground in India. These funds will support the procurement of medical equipment, oxygen concentrators, and cylinders, and also aid in setting up oxygen generation plants.
In addition, Lowe’s India is supporting two Government-run hospitals in Bangalore for COVID relief, which includes providing ICU (Intensive Care Unit) beds, oxygen cylinders, and concentrators. We are also partnering with the Sambhav Foundation to install an oxygen plant (to support 100 beds in a Government Hospital) as part of our COVID relief efforts and to conduct vaccination drives to inoculate 10,000 people from the underserved communities.
A 100-year legacy of people-first culture fuels the way for Lowe’s India as it stays core to its values and responds to the pandemic.
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