- As major American companies quickly mobilized to meet challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including transitioning to telework, some had more effective responses than others in meeting the needs of employees. Forbes Corporate Responders, released May 26 in conjunction with JUST Capital, ranks how well the largest employers among U.S. public companies responded to the crisis.
- The ranking is based on JUST Capital's COVID-19 Corporate Response Tracker, which documents the activities of 100 companies, and includes 22 different metrics such as "wage increases and bonuses, paid sick leave benefits, community relief funding, price reductions, and customer accommodations," JUST said on its website. The top 10 of the 25 companies on the list include: Verizon Communications; Target; AT&T; Walmart; Lowe's Company; Starbucks; and The Kroger Company.
- Companies' policies were analyzed from mid-March to May 7 on a rising scale of 1 to 5. Forbes also noted, however, that some of the companies on the list have been criticized and "not free of controversies."
Managing the short-term effects of financial downturn effectively can give employers more options when it comes to controlling long-term outcomes, according to Mercer.
Preserving jobs is a way to show empathy, and employers can do so by "identifying ways to redeploy employees within your company or even to other companies with substantial needs," the company previously said in an email to HR Dive. Mercer recommended strengthening safety nets; evaluating potential compensation and benefit actions to take later to improve cash flow; and preserving flexibility by conserving cash and delaying increases and grants to deter reducing compensation and benefits.
Verizon, which is No. 1 on Forbes' list earning a score of 3.87 out of 5, is a global company that activated new processes for HR teams to better support employees amid the COVID-19 pandemic. "We felt [it was] really important for people to see our leaders, hear from us what's happening," Christy Pambianchi, Verizon's chief human resource officer, told HR Dive in a recent interview. "I think in times of uncertainty, there's so much misinformation and people are really scared."
In March, CVS Health, No. 17 on the list, set a hiring goal of 50,000 employees. "All of us were facing an unprecedented reality," Jeffrey Lackey, VP of talent acquisition at CVS Health, told HR Dive in a May interview on the company's journey. "We realized that we needed to create an accelerated hiring process that allowed us to be able to get support to our front lines quickly and with compassion."
Retailers on Forbes' list have responded to employee concerns for safety amid the pandemic by creating new policies such as taking temperatures of employees and providing protective equipment. Target is limiting shopper flow inside stores. Kroger has implemented technology to monitor customer capacity, and Walmart has limited its customer capacity per store to five per 1,000 feet, HR Dive sister publicatoin Grocery Dive reported. However, a study released in April by Shift Project at the University of California, Berkeley, found that more than half of employees at the nation's largest food service and retail companies aren't paid when they are sick and cannot make it to work.