Canary and Arosa: Helping alleviate essential workers’ financial hardships during the pandemic
Updated: Sep 16, 2020
Canary has recently partnered with Arosa LLC, one of the largest home care and care management companies providing premier support for seniors and differentiating itself as a best-in-class employer of caregivers. Part of its commitment to quality jobs was creating an emergency fund. Together, our companies have launched the Arosa Grant Circle, powered by Canary, to provide critical aid to workers experiencing financial hardship. We had a virtual chat with Ari Medoff, CEO of Arosa, and Cynthia Glotzbach, Director of Talent Development, to discuss our partnership and its benefits for their employees, especially during the pandemic.
What made you want to explore a solution like Grant Circle for Arosa employees?
Medoff: In the home healthcare business that we’re in, there are a lot of traditional benefits that don’t really benefit our team members. For example, 401(k)s are important, but it is difficult to plan 20 or 30 years into the future if you cannot pay rent or a phone bill this week. That leads us to focus on benefits that can really improve the lives of our team members today while we work to improve our industry’s business model to benefit all teammates.
Our interest in emergency assistance gets to the core of meeting our team members where they are and recognizing where we are as a business. Emergency assistance is a mutual form of assurance for a team; it’s a commitment to being there for one another during difficult times. Having access to a couple hundred or couple thousand dollars when it is most needed is something that can really change someone’s stress level. It can enable someone to get through a difficult time while maintaining employment. We need to be doing everything we can to meet our team members in their times of need.
What kinds of financial challenges do Arosa employees experience?
Glotzbach: The main challenge for our employees is living paycheck to paycheck with no emergency fund. We have a predominantly female workforce, and most of them are mothers. They are met with unexpected childcare-related issues or healthcare-related issues. If their child is sick, they have to call out of work, missing shifts and thus hours on their paycheck. Sometimes it can be a domino effect from there. A lot of our employees are the main breadwinners for their households. With COVID-19, even more of them are now the only source of income for their families.
How do you think about Arosa’s role in helping people deal with those challenges? How do you think people who work at your company think about helping each other?
Glotzbach: We work in a direct care sector, where it’s ingrained within us to want to help. Most of us have that caring nature where we want to help people feel better, whether that’s mentally or physically. We work to get people to improve quality of life in a holistic way. When we launched the Grant Circle, we received a lot of feedback, not just from our caregivers but also our office team members who hear, on a day-to-day basis, the struggles of the caregivers working in clients’ homes. When they see that 100% of what they donate to the Grant Circle goes directly to their team members, they want to be a part of that. We foster a culture of wanting to help each other out.
What impact has offering the Arosa Grant Circle to your employees had?
Glotzbach: It’s had a tremendous impact thus far. We had some employees who were on the verge of being evicted from their homes due to circumstances that were out of their control. The funding that they received from the Grant Circle prevented that from happening. They were able to make rent without having to make extremely hard tradeoffs. It prevented that negative domino effect that can be triggered by a financial hardship. It also made employees feel appreciated. And they are so grateful for the program and the grant funds.
Medoff: One employee was unable to work because eight people at her children’s daycare had been exposed to COVID. When a caregiver is exposed, we obviously cannot allow our clients to be exposed; we have to break that chain so the caregivers cannot work. But at the same time, how are we going to get funds to this individual who has been an essential worker during a pandemic? The Grant Circle has been able to help during this incredibly difficult time. Having the Grant Circle reinforces that we are a company that cares in a different way. We’re there for one another during the toughest times.
What makes working with Canary special?
Medoff: Canary has under-promised and over-delivered consistently on very short timeframes. They have really made the right things happen at every point along the way. Being able to do a project like this in a very short timeframe in the middle of COVID is a testament to the strong foundation Canary had built prior to work with Arosa and the hard work of an incredibly talented team. Canary has artfully walked the path with us, taking and incorporating feedback, since they’re actively iterating and thinking five steps ahead about what can scale. I’m really pleased with where the product is, the communication between the teams, and the alignment of our companies’ missions. I look forward to a long, long partnership.
Glotzbach: Working with the Canary team, you can tell that they care deeply. They really want to help employees get the resources they need. They go above and beyond, as far as communications go, to reach out to employees and help them get their documentation submitted. They really want to receive feedback, and when they hear pain points in the employees’ experiences, you can see the hurt behind the Canary team’s eyes. This is a team that genuinely wants to help.
What would you say to other employers who are looking to help their employees in times of financial hardship?
Glotzbach: Know the signs that someone is going through a hard time by building relationships with your employees. Offer a fund like the Grant Circle that they won’t have to pay back. Be a beacon of support for your employees, not just financially, but emotionally as well.
Whenever we discuss the Grant Circle with potential or current employees, they are absolutely wow’ed. The benefit of mentioning the Arosa Grant Circle during recruitment is definitely a bonus. The follow-up question we receive every single time is, “Do we have to pay this back?” When we tell them “absolutely not,” they are just blown away that we care enough as a company to be able to offer it. They light up when they see that this is a company that truly cares and invests in their employees.
Thank you to Ari Medoff, Cynthia Glotzbach, and the whole Arosa team for their commitment to providing quality jobs, and to including emergency relief funds in that vision. If you want to learn more about partnering with Canary, we invite you to explore our website and get in touch.