A few weeks ago, when it became clear that the coronavirus pandemic would wreak havoc on local economies and cause thousands of people to lose income or their jobs entirely, Seer Interactive founder and VP of Innovation Wil Reynolds looked at his company’s cash and set aside $150,000.
The concept is this: While the Northern Liberties-based digital marketing agency’s 200-plus employees haven’t seen a disruption in their wages, Reynolds said inevitably members of their families who work in bars, restaurants, childcare or any other industry that’s seen layoffs will. If a Seer employee’s family member experiences this, they can apply for a $1,500 payment to help them through this time.
This is what leadership looks like
This message was sent to our whole company.
I am so grateful for the folks at the helm of the @SeerInteractive ship.
2x in 2 weeks @wilreynolds has me teary eyed over how much they have our backs. We have yours too, Wil.
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— Erin Simmons, They / Them (@ErinSimmonsSays) March 25, 2020
Reynolds heard someone mention that their mother was a bartender, and said it was a reminder to him that that’s how his parents were — they had jobs that were often times hourly, or they couldn’t work from home.
“I think it just kind of snapped me out of my bubble in terms of spending my time around tech people,” he told Technical.ly. “Where we can work from home and I’m hearing, ‘Ah, it sucks to work from home,’ well, it sucks to not get paid.”
Reynolds explained in a video to employees that a paycheck for a 40-hour work week at $15 an hour would yield $1,200, and that they’d rounded up the amount to $1,500 to help with taxes. Employees with parents or significant other who’d lost income could apply for a $1,500 payment to be added to their paycheck to then be distributed to their family. They’ve since opened up the fund to siblings who have lost income, Reynolds said Thursday.
In the three weeks since making the fund available, Reynolds said about 25 families have applied and have received funds.
“We’ve made a lot of decisions as a company to save our cash, and that’s put us in a position to help our team and their families at a time they need it most,” he said.
The decision to distribute money “was simple,” and he hopes that more companies do it. He also acknowledged that not every company is in the position to be doing what they’re doing.
“As a founder you say, when we have good years, it’s good for me, and obviously it’s good for the team as well,” Reynolds said, “but I was like, in the bad years, I should be the first person to take the biggest punches and do what I can to support you, and I hope other companies try to find their own way to support their teams and their teams families.”
P.S. Seer is also offering free resources on its site to businesses affected by the pandemic, including Digital Marketing Through COVID-19 Business Impacts, Digital Marketing Guide for Nonprofits and a live webinar on Wednesday, May 6, featuring Reynolds and SparkToro CEO and cofounder Rand Fishkin discussing new 2020 marketing plans in the face of a recession.
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