Global companies and their owners across industries built stronger brands and raked in billions in the process of providing a better support system to a COVID-hit world, but how well did these companies take care of their own people?
The proof of the pudding is in the results of the World's Best Employers list put together by Forbes.
A company is only as great as its employees and the relationship should be mutually beneficial.
One of the biggest challenges for employers in the face of COVID, especially with regards to work-from-home arrangements, was to attract and retain top talent. To this end, they were required to rethink their strategy around hiring and make better investments in their existing employees.
Based on the treatment meted out to them, 150,000 full-time and part-time workers from 58 countries working for multinational companies and institutions rated their willingness to recommend their employers to others.
Here's a look at the top 10 employers in the world according to employees.
How Australian companies fared
Only one Australian company made it to the list among 500 best employers in the world.
Construction and oil & gas major Rio Tinto was ranked at number 471 on this list.
Rio Tinto is highly acclaimed for its healthy work atmosphere, financial and family benefits, leave and vacation policy, employee communications, performance management, opportunities it provides for training and skills development, and opportunities for community involvement.
The company invests heavily in staff development, providing in-house and online training.
They also introduced a new global minimum standard for paid parental leave for all employees. The standard provides 18 weeks of paid parental leave at full pay after the birth or adoption of a child for parents who are the primary caregiver, and one week of paid leave for parents who are the secondary caregiver.
Rio Tinto has managed to consistently increase and strengthen its diversity every year.
Other Aussie companies that ranked between 500 and 750 on the Forbes list were Suncorp at rank 542, ANZ bank at 641 and Ramsay Healthcare at 667.
Why is Samsung the best employer?
While American companies dominate the top 10, they couldn't beat South Korea's Samsung Electronics - headquartered in more than 45 countries - which claimed the top spot among 750 multi-national corporations (MNCs) for the second time in a row.
The Korean wave gripping the world seems unstoppable in more than just the entertainment industry. Perhaps an offshoot of the Hallyu wave, Samsung intends creating more awareness globally about its work culture and has taken great care of its employees during the tough years of COVID.
The conglomerate has been fortifying its brand image by actively investing in future businesses and also responding well to the challenges being posed by the pandemic.
Along with COVID, 2020 brought many challenges for Samsung, but the company proved highly adaptable.
In response to the COVID-19 challenges, it was quick to shut down its factories in South Korea, but it was also quick to scale back to ensure a seamless experience for its customers and to assure continuity of employment for its workforce.
Another example of its commitment to the safety of its customers and its intent to equip its employees to work efficiently was when it opened a UV sanitising service for its Galaxy series of Smartphones.
In its semiconductor business, Samsung prudently shifted production from Korea to Vietnam to overcome challenges posed by the pandemic. This was followed by judiciously cutting down component orders by 50 per cernt when the situation was grave.
The company also showed benevolence to its worldwide customer and employee base by pledging nearly $3.6 million to countries like India to combat the virus. Samsung's Smartwatch app for its Galaxy watch users launched in 2020 and was designed to remind customers to wash their hands.
In 2021, Samsung has expanded its market by ensuring safety of its future Smart home products with UV-LED technology.
How other companies performed
Though engineering and manufacturing companies are among the most represented in the top 750 list, with German companies clinching 91 spots, followed by China with 57, tech firms dominated the top 10. This is probably because tech companies were better positioned and equipped to handle the work-from-home arrangement for its employees.
IBM, Microsoft, and Amazon were ranked second, third and fourth respectively.
Tech giants Apple and Alphabet ranked fifth and sixth, with Dell Technologies closing in at seventh spot.
Despite many reports of China being a tough task master, Chinese Telecom behemoth Huawei also made it to the top 10 list at number eight.
Yet another software & internet company, Adobe, was ranked the ninth best employer this year.
Only one automobile company, Germany's BMW group, made the top 10 cut despite the auto industry suffering a setback at the onset of the pandemic.
Methodology of the ranking
The participants were expected to rate their readiness to recommend their own employers to others. They were also asked to evaluate other employers within their respective industries.
All the surveys were anonymous so that the participants could freely share their unbiased opinions.
Survey participants were asked to consider aspects such as brand image, economic footprint, talent development, gender equality and social responsibility while evaluating the companies. The 750 companies that received the highest total scores were featured on the final list.