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New COVID-19 employer survey: See how your hospital’s handling of the pandemic stacks up

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As of 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon, the US reported 632,220 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 26,930 confirmed deaths. Millions of Americans are working from home—or are out of work—as a result of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, employers across the country are grappling with both the health and economic impact of COVID-19. The lucky ones continue to operate remotely with full or partial staff—the unlucky ones have had to lay off employees to staunch financial losses.

A new COVID-19 Employer Pulse Survey from the Alera Group explores the impact of the pandemic on those employers and offers insights into how they’re navigating employee health, benefits, and human resources issues in the current landscape.

An independent insurance and financial services firm, and an AAHA Preferred Business Provider, the Alera Group conducted the online survey from March 27 to April 6, 2020. Nearly a thousand employers of various sizes across various industries and regions responded. The results are broken down by employer size, region, and industry.

While the industries varied, the survey verified that employers across the country are facing some common issues. Key findings include:

  • Planning is paramount: Large employers and those in the healthcare and education industries had formal infectious disease response plans in place before the outbreak. As a result of COVID-19, over half of employers surveyed with 100 or more employees will have such policies in place moving forward.
  • Employers are committed to COVID-19 education: Most employers regardless of size, region, or industry are educating their employees several times a week about prevention techniques, COVID-19 symptoms, and employee benefits. They are also turning to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local authorities for updates.
  • Social distancing and hiring freezes are prevalent: At the time of the survey, most respondents had suspended travel, in-person meetings and conferences, and office visits. Just over a third of respondents had implemented hiring freezes, 20% had furloughed employees, 17% had laid employees off, and over half of companies are delaying or changing their onboarding approaches.
  • Flexibility and support are common: To support employees during this very challenging time, some employers are assisting with childcare issues, and 18% are offering telemedicine benefits. Most companies are allowing employees to use their paid time off in whatever manner that is convenient for them.
  • Impact varies by industry: Although COVID-19 is expected to have a negative impact on most businesses in the next 12 months, survey results indicate that manufacturing, nonprofit, healthcare, professional, and finance/insurance firms have a slightly more positive outlook.

To find out more about how other employers are handling issues such as staffing, payroll, and benefits, as well as how they think the pandemic is going to impact their businesses in the coming year, request a free copy of the full report here.

Photo credit: © iStock/tonefotographia