We all need some good news right now.
In the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies are furloughing or laying off their employees until stay-at-home orders have been lifted or the virus is under control—which could take anywhere between 5 months and 18 months, or even longer. Most recently, Macy’s made the tough decision to furlough most of its employees as its stores have been closed due to COVID-19 concerns. Some businesses have been able to stay open during the shutdown, allowing employees to work from home rather than leave them uncertain of when their next paycheck will be.
But at Windward Studios, employees were met with an even more wonderful surprise—the CEO has drastically raised the minimum starting salary for all employees.
In an email from Dave Thielen, the founder and CEO of Windward: “Why are we doing this? Because we ask employees to give us their all. Jobs here require not just a broader range of duties, but an emotional commitment. We owe our employees the same in return.”
According to a study published in Nature Human Behavior, a salary of between $60,000 to $70,000 per year is the amount an individual needs to make for emotional well-being. This is in line with Windward’s new minimum salary of $63,000 per year.
A living wage is the minimum amount an employee must make to have their basic needs met: food, clothing, housing, etc. MIT’s Living Wage Calculator “aims to provide an accurate estimate of the true costs of living in U.S. local areas.” Windward’s new minimum salary now greatly exceeds what would be defined as a basic living wage in the state of Colorado according to MIT’s calculator (which is approximately $14/hour, higher than the state’s minimum wage of $11.10/hour).
Moving forward, Windward will be offering at least $63,000 starting salary to all new full-time employees, regardless of department. Most departments, such as Software Development, start much higher.
According to Dave Thielen, “Companies are defined by what they do, not what they say.” It is one thing for a CEO to say he values his employees, but it is quite another thing for a CEO to put policies in place that directly support employee morale and well-being. All companies should be considering how to directly support their employees in the midst of a global pandemic.
Windward Studios, proudly located in Boulder, Colorado, develops world-class document automation software that helps pharmacovigilance and the medical field. Their customers range from startups to Fortune 100s, in 70 countries around the world.