Many companies say that employees are their greatest asset but most don’t really mean it. Lowes seems to get it - doubling down on investing in employee happiness during the challenge of a decade: COVID -19.

Happy employees lead to happy customers and a company that thrives. As cliché as this is and sounds, we all know it’s true. Even though as leaders we routinely mine HR budgets for more and more savings, we still know it’s true. Especially when the chips are down, we desperately hope that our employees need their jobs more than that extra benefit, training or performance reward.

Lowes has shown us something different during 2020 in the midst of a pandemic that has all but decimated retailers around the world. When many others were zigging, they zagged, investing over a billion dollars and hiring more than 155,000 frontline staff during the pandemic.

It’s true that with people isolated in their homes more than usual this year, DIY and home improvement became the darling of retail 2020. It’s fair to assume that Lowes had to hire and invest in people in order to capitalize on the moment. If you dig a little further however, you’ll find that Lowes did not keep the DIY upside of

2020 to themselves or, distribute as much as possible to investors. In a turning of the tide, enormous emphasis has been placed on rewarding and recognizing its greatest asset – employees.

In one of the toughest years on retail record, $80 million was distributed in staff bonuses, hourly wages were increased, an additional 2 weeks’ vacation granted for salaried staff and 14 days emergency leave for families going through hardship.

Lowes even went as far as stocking pantries in store for staff to access whenever they needed food or other comforts at work with only one simple guideline: take whatever you need, whenever you need it here or at home for your loved ones.

Publication: November 18, 2020