Every week we see businesses adapting to new circumstances in creative ways. Many organisations are constantly innovating so they can remain at the disposal of their customers. Some companies are forging new alliances, others open up their business to do good for society.
In our weekly digest, we highlight some of these inspiring stories. This week: Eneco, CitizenM, Colruyt and Zalando.
Eneco launched a heart-warming initiative this week, and it has nothing to do with their core business: energy. The company is giving its customers the chance to send a flower bouquet for free to someone who deserves it. As the energy supplier puts it: “We’ve been confined to our houses for a month already. The lockdown weighs hard on many people. But for people working in healthcare, logistics, food production or other industries it’s not evident to keep working. So we would like to call on our customers to send flowers to those people who could use some cheering up in these hard times.”
Eneco will send out the bouquets for free and have them delivered safely to the people chosen by their customers. “As a company, we care about our society and we want to show our customers that this situation can be dealt with, with optimism and positivity”, says Jean-Jacques Delmée, CEO of Eneco. You can read the full statement here.
The Telegraph reported that CitizenM hotels in London and Paris have gifted 800 unused iPads to a number of hospitals in both cities. Usually, the hotel franchise uses the tablets in their rooms as MoodPads. These allow guests to control everything in the room, going from the lights, heating, television or the alarm clock.
In light of the current situation, CitizenM decided these iPads could be put to better use. They distributed the devices to patients in hospitals across London and Paris, who need them to keep in touch with family whilst quarantined. Instead of a MoodPad interface, the tablets now have Facetime, games and educational apps to keep their users entertained. Some of the iPads will be handed out to ambulance workers, who can use them to access vital patient information while out on a call.
Robin Chadha, chief marketing officer at CitizenM, explained: “We hope this small act will help some of our local communities stay connected with their loved ones during these strange and unprecedented times."
After the supermarket already teamed up with Decathlon, Colruyt now extends their job offer to people who are currently unemployed. As a supermarket, they have a big responsibility to keep people provided with food. As a result, they are looking for 400 extra temporary employees. To keep supplies running smoothly, the extra manpower is necessary for the supermarkets, production departments and logistic centres. The inspiration for the initiative came from Germany, where McDonald’s employees were dispatched to Lidl stores.
Last week, Decathlon already signed up 60 people for a job at Colruyt. Randstadis helping Colruyt to take care of the administration. In practice, companies with technical unemployment can hand over lists of employees to Randstad. Next, the HR firm processes these lists and makes sure detached employees from these companies can work as a temp at Colruyt Group. “This way we create a win-win situation for all parties involved.”
Our last business update for this digest comes from Zalando. The German online clothing retailer is adding mouth masks to its product range. The proceeds from the sale will go to charity.
In several European countries, we see that lockdown measures become gradually less strict, with stores and schools reopening step by step. To prevent further spread of the coronavirus, governments encourage citizens to wear mouth masks. Since there’s already a shortage of protective clothing in most countries, Zalando will sell mouth masks made from textile.
According to David Schröder, chief financial officer at Zalando, the online retailer saw its revenue increase with 10% in Q1 of this year. On top, sales in the first weeks of April have been good. This creates enough space to donate the proceeds of selling mouth masks to charity. Which good cause they will be donating to hasn’t been decided yet.
That was it for this week!
Did you see some inspiring business news or you launched a great initiative yourself? Feel free to let us know for our next HC Digest!