Cold Connection

As the World Slows Down, Supply Chain is Ramping Up
Author: Paul Harty

As businesses in a variety of supply chain capacities respond to the increased demands spawning as a result of the coronavirus, there are trends taking shape in the industry to simultaneously respond to the resulting increased need for more talent.

Below are a series of examples of how the supply chain industry is adjusting its strategy to hire and retain in the COVID-19 era:

  • Walmart has compressed a hiring process that can often take two weeks into as little as three hours by eliminating formal interviews and written job offers. For retail roles, they are giving store managers authority to make verbal offers right away. (Bloomberg)
    • Walmart has also recently implemented compensation changes for those working in the company’s supply chain, including: (Reuters)
    • A temporary $2/hour pay increase for all hourly associates working in its e-commerce fulfillment centers, from now through Memorial Day.
    • Offering a $250 referral bonus to fulfillment center associates who refer a new hire. The newly hired associate also receives a $250 referral bonus.
    • Walmart is also installing plexiglass sneeze guards at its pharmacy lanes and plans to do the same for regular cash registers over the next 2-3 weeks. It will also put decals on the floor in checkout lanes to indicate the right distance shoppers should keep from each other. Workers are also using a new spraying tool to more rapidly sanitize shopping carts. (USA Today)
  • Amazon plans to invest more than $350 million worldwide to increase wages for hourly employees. In the United States, the raise is expected to be an additional $2 per hour. (Forbes)
  • Lockheed Martin is continuing to recruit and hire technical talent at a time when millions of Americans are filing for unemployment benefits. They have shifted their hiring process to be completely virtual so they can continue hiring without risking the spread of the virus. (Forbes)
  • Many companies — including Lyft, Uber, DoorDash, Postmates, and Instacart — have announced emergency assistance policies for independent contractors. Efforts include providing hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies at no cost, instituting contact-less delivery, establishing relief funds for impacted workers, and providing two weeks of partial pay to workers who are diagnosed with coronavirus or who are put under quarantine by a public health authority. (CNBC)
  • Roehl is hiring 250 drivers in Wisconsin and surrounding states, and they are paying students while they train. (Spectrum News)
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued new guidelines on expired commercial drivers’ licenses and medical cards in order to keep more trucks on the road. (Truckinginfo)
  • Harris Teeter is giving hourly associates in its retail, distribution center, manufacturing, and corporate offices a one-time bonus of $300 for full-time workers and $150 for part-time workers. (MSN)
  • Kroger is forming employment partnerships with local, regional, and national businesses from the most-affected industries to create a shared-resource model to temporarily flex employees to Kroger roles, ensuring the food supply chain continues without disruption. Current partners include Frisch’s, Marriott International, McLane Foodservice, Shamrocks Food, Sodexo, SodexoMAGIC, Sysco, Thunderdome Restaurant Group, US Foods, and VF Corporation. (Produce Blue Book)
  • Hormel Foods announced a special cash bonus to its plant production team members who continue to work to produce food during the COVID-19 outbreak. The more than $4 million in bonus money will be paid to all full- and part-time ($300 and $150, respectively) plant production team members who have been working around the clock to ensure the company’s brands and products are available during the pandemic. (Hormel Foods, PR Newswire)
    • Hormel Foods has also expanded its CARE Program, an employee assistance fund. And, they have extended their paid sick leave and waived waiting periods and eligibility requirements for certain benefits for its workforce.
  • PepsiCo has enhanced their benefits to all U.S. employees including: (
    • Employees who must quarantine will receive 100% of their pay during the up to 14-day quarantine period. The quarantine period will not reduce accrued unused sick days, nor will there be a negative impact to attendance records.
    • Employees who have been assessed by a doctor and are either showing symptoms or are diagnosed with COVID-19 will receive 100% of their pay during the 14-day quarantine period. Beginning week 3, employees will receive sick pay/short-term disability benefits, which will provide a minimum of two-thirds of their pay, for up to 10 weeks.
    • Employees who are caring for a family member living in the same household who has been assessed by a doctor and is either showing symptoms or has been diagnosed with COVID-19 will receive 100% of their pay during the 14-day quarantine period. Beginning week 3, if they are not able to work from home, they will receive a minimum of two-thirds of their pay for up to 10 weeks. If they are working from home, their full pay will be continued.
    • Employees who work at a facility that must be closed will receive 100% pay for up to 12 weeks.
    • Employees who are impacted by school or day care center closures with no one home to look after a child, will receive a minimum of two-thirds of their pay for up to 12 weeks if they are not able to work from home.
    • Employees are also eligible for free COVID-19 testing, a "Crisis Care" reimbursement of $100 a day for childcare, and access to specially trained mental health professionals.

It is worth noting that not all of these strategies are being implemented in any sort of formalized capacity, and not all supply chain employers are rushing to make adjustments to hire and retain employees. There are still a lot of unknowns about the coronavirus, how long its impact will be on certain areas of the supply chain, and what demands will stem during the rebound, post-coronavirus market.

Like everyone else, the supply chain industry is reacting as the news unfolds.

On behalf of everyone at Sevenstep, we recognize everyone working within supply chain and logistics for their hard work and dedication during these uncertain times. We understand and appreciate the pressure you all are under, and we are grateful for you and the services you are providing to the national and global supply chain. Thank you.

April 23, 2020


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