Doing Our Part During the Pandemic
Hormel Foods has taken immense effort to keep our team members safe and prevent COVID-19 from entering the company’s offices and plant locations, as well as mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in communities around the world. At all our locations, the well-being of our team members is of the highest concern and we have been proactive in communicating often to them ensuring that they know that it is okay, and encouraged, to stay at home when feeling unwell.
We have continued to do our part to take care of our team members, customers, consumers and communities and have donated more than $1 million to be used toward hunger relief and fighting food insecurity during this crisis, and we are working with school districts, food banks, and senior programs to do our part to provide care and comfort through food to those in need.
Hormel Foods is focused on ensuring the health and safety of its team members throughout the normal course of business and the pandemic. Our senior leadership team has daily meetings to update and strategize our continued efforts and our Board of Directors has been engaged and involved throughout the pandemic.
The Governance Committee of the Board of Directors oversees our corporate responsibility efforts, including our human rights policy.
Our Event Evaluation Committee (EEC), consisting of senior leaders and led by Executive Vice President Glenn Leitch, Senior Vice President Mark Coffey and Vice President Richard Carlson, is responsible for relevant human rights issues in the supply chain during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company’s EEC, along with its risk management, operations and human resources teams works collaboratively to identify risks, mitigate the risks and develop processes to continue to provide a safe and secure working environment during the COVID pandemic. This includes translation of all information into more than a dozen languages to support and educate team members in their first languages.
The company is also working closely with its employee resource groups, local union representatives and other organizations including local, state and health officials to ensure that all identified risks are being managed effectively. This includes at-risk groups.
Detailed Protocols to Ensure the Safety of our Team Members
We have a team of operations, quality control, safety, R&D, corporate communications and human resources professionals who are working each day to think of new ways and opportunities to protect our team members. In addition to following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and best practices from reputable organizations such as the Mayo Clinic, we listen closely to the ideas and feedback from our team members throughout the enterprise. Since the very beginning of the pandemic, we have had strict visitor and travel policies in place at our locations and offices and implemented remote work options for all team members who are able to do so.
In addition to our high level of cleaning and sanitizing as part of routine operations, we have implemented further enhanced sanitization procedures in all high-traffic and high-touch areas using products that are deemed effective against COVID-19. Under the guidance of health care professionals, we have instituted daily wellness screenings and taking team members’ temperatures at our facilities.
Most of our locations have on-site nurses who are available to answer questions, consult and advise team members and at all locations, we are helping our team members get increased access to local testing for COVID-19. Social distancing has been enacted in our manufacturing plants by having staggered start times, staggered break times and spreading out team members during breaks by using areas outside of the normal cafeteria spaces. We have also provided masks and personal protective face covering in our plant locations, and installed plastic barriers in closer spaces to further protect our team members.
Livelihood of Team Members
We have been a leader in our industry during this pandemic and are proud of the fact that since the beginning of COVID-19, we created a pay protection program providing paid leave and benefits to any team member who was feeling unwell, quarantined due to close contact or who tested positive or had to be out for another reason related to COVID-19. The first 10 days of coronavirus-related absences are covered at 100 percent of base pay and, if needed, subsequent days of leave are covered at our regular short-term disability coverage pay percentages with no limit.
This pay program has been instrumental in our ability to keep our team members safe. They know that it is okay, and encouraged, to stay at home when they or anyone in their household is feeling unwell with any symptom or if they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. If someone doesn’t feel well, there is no financial hardship to stay home. Our efforts exceed the CDC and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines.
We have provided more than $11 million in bonuses for our plant team members who are stepping up to ensure the company’s trusted brands and products are available during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have also increased our CARE Program that provides crisis assistance to team members, extended paid sick leave, and waived waiting periods and eligibility requirements for certain benefits.
We remain committed to our more than 20,000 team members across the world and have been able to prevent job loss almost entirely throughout our company. We were faced with the hard decision of having to furlough of approximately 350 team members at two subsidiaries in early May, but to date, we have been able to offer all of these team members the opportunity to return back to work after just over two months.
Clear, Accurate Communication
Hormel Foods has worked diligently to keep all our inspired team members apprised with the latest information available about the COVID-19 crisis through daily emails, virtual meetings, and companywide events. Our “Speak Up” culture encourages team members to listen, voice their opinion, share ideas and concerns and openly dialog with one another.
Hormel Foods also administers a formal grievance process through our Code of Ethical Business Conduct policy. The policy addresses matters related to corporate responsibility and accommodates grievance reporting via a third-party-staffed phone line and website.
As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, we understand the vital role we play as a food company and our One Supply Chain team is doing an incredible job of working to meet the needs of our customers and consumers. As we have from the beginning, we are putting the safety of our team members at the forefront of everything we are doing. Our 20,000 team members are proudly working to ensure a consistent and steady food supply during this crisis, filling orders and keeping our products on the shelves of our retail partners and supplied to our foodservice customers.