What did employers tell workers during the height of this pandemic? How are organizations returning employees back to work? What new workplace safety policies and procedures are companies introducing?
These questions are at the heart of the History Factory’s COVID-19 Corporate Memory Project, a volunteer effort launched in mid-May. This free, online resource center stores original employer content—all related to COVID-19—developed by Fortune 500 companies, the top 100 privately held companies and 50 of the largest trade associations in the U.S. More than 300 organizations have already contributed roughly 500 internal documents, press releases, photos, videos, social media posts, PDFs and statements.
“We felt compelled to do something and leveraged our capabilities to give something back,” says Jason Dressel, managing director at the History Factory, a 41-year-old organization that builds and manages corporate archives. “That meant creating a resource for organizations to essentially see how other companies and brands are responding in real time.”
The content is grouped into four categories and focuses on direct company experiences involving decision-making processes, specific actions that can inspire insights or offer guidance to other employers and how these learnings can be applied.
Under the Changing Nature of Work section, for example, Ford engineers share how they continue to work on the new Mustang in their home garages. New Balance addresses its production of general-use face masks under Fighting the Pandemic. Starbucks discusses how it fights hunger in the Service and Community section, while Land O’ Lakes warns of distribution issues under Leading in a Crisis.
But not all documents are being accepted, specifically passive content. Instead of storing a company’s press release honoring employees who died from COVID-19, Dressel explains that the project would house a statement on how the organization responded to their deaths by creating scholarships in their names.
So far, several thousand people have visited the website. Content contributors also include Kimberly-Clark, Marriott, Southwest Airlines, Uber, Airbnb and the Walt Disney Co. The goal, Dressel says, is to build a trusted, respected and valued resource for corporate leaders and managers who can share top COVID-19 practices that boost the efficiency and efficacy of their organization’s work.
“We recognize this is a historic moment that is on a significant scale,” Dressel says, adding that the project recently began capturing copies of communications from companies that articulate how they are transitioning employees back to the workplace. “In the future, companies, members of the media, academics and their students can use this [to] research how companies and brands responded.”
For more information, visit c19corporatememory.org.