Six Months Later: COVID-19 Employer Response Survey, Part 2

October 20, 2020 - Scottsdale, AZ


Six Months Later: COVID-19 Employer Response Survey, Part 2
Comprehensive Assessment of How Organizations are Addressing the New World of Work

October 20, 2020 — Over the last six months, in light of the pandemic, companies have become more transparent about sharing financial information and, while there has been a small directional shift in the prioritization of revenue over employees, most companies continue to balance both considerations. The far-reaching “COVID-19 Employer Response Survey, Part 2,” conducted by WorldatWork and, provides a window into how organizations address hazard pay, staffing/layoffs, caregiver benefits, office/workforce planning, future company-offered COVID-19 vaccines, and communications. The survey also assessed compensation planning, incentives, and business travel challenges currently facing organizations. (Journalists: contact for copies of the results of the March and September surveys.)

Key findings:

  • Financial information. In September, 57% of organizations were sharing financial information related to COVID-19 with employees and 30% were offering personal finance guidance/tips, as compared to 33% and 19%, respectively, in April.
  • Revenue vs. employees’ concerns. While 53% of companies in April and 55% of companies in September were balancing employee and revenue needs equally, in September, 13% said they are prioritizing revenue/profit to some degree compared to 6% in April. In April, 41% said they were prioritizing workers to some degree compared to 34% in September.
  • Maintaining a competitive compensation position. Organizations are not very concerned about their ability to maintain a competitive compensation position to attract and retain talent; 52% are “not at all” or “slightly” concerned.
  • Caregiver benefits. Seventy percent of organizations are now offering additional support because of COVID-19, as compared to 40% in April. Sixty-seven percent offer flexible work scheduling for caregivers.
  • Layoffs. Organizations indicate temporary layoff activity has increased 29% and permanent layoff activity has increased 29%.
  • Virtual work social events. In September, 56% of organizations said they were holding virtual social events, as compared to 34% in April.
  • On-site COVID-19 vaccines. While 78% of organizations are providing PPE and are developing policies for employees to report COVID-19 symptoms, only 12% are planning to provide on-site COVID-19 vaccinations when they are available.

“It feels like the speed and scope of change over the past six months has been what we would have expected in six years, but the upside is that organizations are becoming more accustomed to quickly responding to employee needs,” said Scott Cawood, CEO of WorldatWork. “We are still a long way from business as usual, and employers find themselves continuing to pivot, sometimes with very hard decisions (e.g., temporary layoffs that are now permanent) and sometimes for the better (e.g., increased listening sensitivity to employee needs). WorldatWork will continue to monitor the numerous COVID-19-related workforce and workplace changes that impact the way the world is working.”

“Although more businesses are managing to cope with the contagion, the survey clearly shows that they are still concerned about the health of their employees, both physically and financially," said Chris Fusco, Senior Vice President of Compensation, "Responses with a low prevalence show that employers have an opportunity to do more to provide employees with peace-of-mind so that they can spend more time doing their jobs and less time worrying about the virus.”

About the Study
WorldatWork, in partnership with, invited its broader membership and customer base to participate in an electronic survey. Email invitations were sent directly to participants on 9/02/2020 and results were collected over a 22-day period. A total of 510 responses were received, representing organizations of different sizes and across multiple industries. Results have not been weighted, but respondent profiles have been included to assist with interpretation of results. Results are skewed to be more representative of mid-large employers, but statistical differences have been highlighted when present.

About WorldatWork
WorldatWork is the leading nonprofit professional association in compensation and Total Rewards. We serve those who design and deliver total rewards programs to cultivate engaged, effective workforces that power thriving organizations. We accomplish this through education and certification; idea exchange; knowledge creation; information sharing; research; advocacy; and affiliation and networking. Founded in the United States in 1955, today WorldatWork serves Total Rewards professionals throughout the world working in organizations of all sizes and structures.

About is the leading SaaS provider of cloud-based compensation market data, surveys and analytics. Founded in 1999, the company serves over 25,000 survey participant organizations, over 8,000 business-to-business software subscribers, and over 30 million employees globally. is committed to helping organizations drive company success by aligning compensation practices with recruiting, performance, and development initiatives through easy-to-access data and meaningful insights. The market leading CompAnalyst® SaaS platform accelerates compensation workflows, delivers real time data and powers accurate, equitable and competitive compensation. Through its Salary Wizard and pioneering website, delivers continually updated, reliable market pay data and career content to over 30 million visitors each year. For more information, please visit the company website at

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