By Aisling Crabbe, Global Marketing Executive, Top Employers Institute
By Aisling Crabbe, Global Marketing Executive, Top Employers Institute

Cor(ona)porate social responsibility – Top Employers are doing good in a time of uncertainty

Many Top Employers are stepping up and contributing to the fight against coronavirus. This article looks at the latest notable and relevant CSR initiatives.

The daily rise of COVID-19 statistics, lockdown measures and announcements pushed to our phones would have sparked unheard panic no more than a few weeks ago. It remains difficult for many organisations to think ahead, and many more are uncertain of how to handle a global pandemic and what their role in it will become. However, during this time we have also seen an encouraging spurt of positive stories from Top Employers that are doing good in a time of uncertainty. 

To learn more about how Top Employers are enriching their people, contributing to career development and impacting society, download the Top Employers Institute HR Trends Report 2020.

Moving forward when our normal routine activities have been thrown out the window can be tough. For many people, rightfully so, the number one priority is preserving and saving the lives of those affected. But the world cannot come to a standstill, and organisations grapple with how to work, produce and succeed during this unprecedented time.

For European Top Employer, LIDL, an introduction of singular small changes and updates make for a mass change for frontline fighting COVID-19. In Ireland, elderly and vulnerable have been made available from 9-11am, with prioritised access and queuing for those more susceptible to the pandemic. In Belgium, donations of 233 tonnes of food, or nearly half a million meals were donated to food banks, helping those that need it most.

AstraZeneca, one of the largest research-based pharmaceutical companies in Germany has just shipped the first of its promised 9 million face masks to Italy, where they will support healthcare workers on the frontline.

Unilever have also turned their attention to healthcare and sanitation, a pivitol defence against the spread of the virus and have pledged to provide free soap, sanitiser, bleach and food to the value of €100 million. They also looked at what they could do to provide some relief to their small-time suppliers, many of whom will be massively shaken and struggling to survive during this time.

Unilever have dedicated €500 million of cash flow relief to support people across their supply chain, promising early payment and extending credit lines for those most affected in the business world. Internally, the workforce has also been assured that they will be protected from sudden drops in pay, as a result of market disruption or being unable to perform their role, for up to three months. According to the Top Employers Institute HR Trends Report 2020 85% of Top Employers make employee well-being a keypart of their business imperatives, realising that these essential workers keep society functioning during this time, and protecting them is a strong and important message f or Top Employers to send out.

Although COVID-19 is a global pandemic, for many organisations the impact and reach the virus has on them differs depending on region, lockdown level and the category of business they provide. With supply chains in the forefront of everyone’s mind, we see an abject but clandestine pressure falling on essential workers in the delivery and transport sector. DHL, world's largest logistics company and Top Employer, have seen a huge change in regional deliveries and have seen a massive boost in business, thanks in part to the increase in shoppers buying online rather than venturing out.

The physical transporting of goods is one test, but for those residing in the digital cloud, rather than office meeting rooms, internet speed, connectivity and security have now risen to play a pivotal role in the ability to work at home.

NTT, one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world, has seen a massive rise in reliance on its services. Areas such as supply chain management, securing remote working, along with hosting digital events and meetings were important previously, but are now an integral, top tier asset for many organisations. NTT has begun hosting a number of webinars to help ease this radical shift to a remote workforce and educate organisations on digital workings securely.

In Thailand, Huawei have donated their Telemedicine Video Conference platform to Thailand hospitals and Disease Control Departments in an effort to allow doctors to collaborate and utilise technology together.

Tata Consultancy Services has also been thrown a new set of pressurised challenges. Providing secure and rapid IT infrastructure for its clients, of which there are more than a thousand across different sectors, has been a priority. 

On a group level, they have also have pledged 1 500 crores (equivalent to US$ 200 million) to protect Indian communities affected by the outbreak: “Urgent emergency resources need to be deployed to cope with the needs of fighting the COVID 19 crisis, which is one of the toughest challenges the human race will face," Ratan Tata, Chairman of the TATA Trust, posted.

In times of uncertainty, which these certainly are, challenges are posed that were never considered before. During these arising issues, it is heartening to see a level of “give back” and collaboration between commercial organisations, focusing on the betterment of society and giving help where needed.