For 12 hours, HP hired DJ Ryan Best to host a virtual dance party for its global workforce to boost employee morale during the pandemic. Roughly 2,000 employees logged on to Zoom to dance with pets, stuffed animals, wigs and other props—all in front of their bosses and coworkers.
“People just really loved it,” says Tracy Keogh, HP’s chief human resources officer. “What you are looking for is to bring people together and uplift them. It’s so hard to get people through this pandemic.”
This spirit-booster, along with countless other employee well-being measures, secured the hardware and technology company the 17th spot on our fourth-annual list of the World’s Best Employers. Forbes partnered with market research firm Statista to compile the ranking by surveying 160,000 full-time and part-time workers from 58 countries and working for businesses with operations in multiple nations or regions.
Surveys were conducted on a rolling basis from June to July, and participants were asked to rate their willingness to recommend their own employers to friends and family. They were also asked to rate their satisfaction with their employers’ Covid-19 responses, and score their employers on its image, economic footprint, talent development, gender equality and social responsibility. The final list is composed of 750 multinational and large corporations headquartered in 45 countries.
The United States dominated the list with 247 employers, followed by Europe with 224 and Asia and Oceania with 208. South Korea’s Samsung was ranked No. 1, followed closely by American Amazon and IBM at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. Unsurprisingly, employees of IT, software and telecommunications organizations, which have seen business grow and were able to shift to working remotely more easily, tended to rate their companies’ coronavirus responses more positively than workers of travel and leisure or transportation companies. Respondents from Colombia and Brazil were also much more satisfied with their employers’ handling of the pandemic than those from Japan, Singapore, South Korea or Italy.
“One of the rare positives things in the Covid crisis is some of the biases of mobile working have gone into thin air.”
Dr. Jochen Wallisch, Siemens senior vice president of human resources
Many of the companies on the list have not been immune to the effects of Covid-19 on their workforces. Amazon, most notably, is facing a lawsuit alleging the company did not provide workers of its JFK8 Staten Island facility with a safe work environment. And at least eight Amazon employees have reportedly died of Covid-19. But since the pandemic started, the company has made big investments in workplace safety. It gave all front-line employees and partners a bonus totaling $500 million in June, and has spent $4 billion on Covid-related measures, including distributing more than 100 million face masks to employees, implementing temperature checks at sites around the world and mandating enhanced cleaning procedures at all Amazon sites, among others. The company also has begun regularly testing its employees for Covid-19, and plans to do 50,000 tests a day across 650 sites by November.
“In the early days of the crisis, we enlisted several of the world's leading epidemiology and outbreak-response doctors to work with our 5,000-member global safety team to devise and implement process changes throughout our buildings,” an Amazon spokesperson says. “All in, we've introduced or changed over 150 processes to ensure the health and safety of our teams.”
In addition to its legendary dance party, HP offered its employees a host of other unusual perks during the pandemic. The U.S. company expanded the criteria to apply for its employee relief fund, allowing everyone who faced a pandemic-related financial hardship to apply to receive up to $10,000. Employees have also had access to weekly office hours with physicians, Michelin chef-led cooking classes and homeschooling/tutoring support sessions.
Manufacturing company Siemens is ranked ninth on our list of the World's Best Employers.
In Germany, manufacturing company Siemens embraced the remote-work lifestyle permanently, announcing in July that its employees can telecommute two or three days a week after the pandemic ends. The employer is ranked ninth on our list.
“Most of my colleagues in other companies didn’t expect an announcement like this from an industrial icon like Siemens,” says Dr. Jochen Wallisch, the company’s senior vice president of human resources. “One of the rare positives things in the Covid crisis is some of the biases of mobile working have gone into thin air. We have all seen how productive and effective you can work from home.”
Cisco, ranked 18th, took a different approach, focusing on employee well-being. On May 22, CEO Chuck Robbins and Chief People Officer Fran Katsoudas gave the American company’s nearly 76,000 employees a day off to promote mental health. Three months later on August 28, Cisco announced a similar “unplug” day off.
The employer also sought to support employees in India, where Covid-19 cases have spiked in areas with poor medical infrastructure. Cisco implemented a 24/7 hotline for its 10,000 employees in the country, connecting them to medical professionals who could provide advice and assistance in getting them quality care.
“What we are doing as a company is managing and mitigating the risk of Covid-19 spread across our entire employee base across the globe,” says Katelyn Johnson, Cisco senior manager of global benefits. “This has been a year of challenges, but a year of silver linings, too.”
For the full list of the Worlds Best Employers 2020, click here.
To determine the list, Statista surveyed more than 160,000 full-time and part-time workers from 58 countries working for businesses operations in multiple countries or regions. All the surveys were anonymous, allowing participants to openly share their opinions. The respondents were asked to rate their willingness to recommend their own employers to friends and family. They were also asked to evaluate other employers in their respective industries that stood out either positively or negatively. Additionally, participants were asked to rate the companies on aspects such as image, economic footprint, talent development, gender equality and social responsibility. The 750 companies that received the highest total scores made the final list.