Internal COVID-19 Initiatives Continue to Keep Univision
Employees Informed, Prepared, United and Safe
early 2020, while most of America was not yet familiar
with the emerging health threats posed by the COVID-19
virus, Univision, the leading Hispanic media company
in the U.S., had already activated the Univision
Crisis Response Team (CRT), comprised of company
leaders from Human Resources, Legal, Global Security,
IT, Facilities and Communications, to keep employees
informed, prepared and, ultimately, healthy and
safe. This early step became one of many
transformative and responsive measures put in place
to safeguard Univision’s workforce and ensure
the company continued to inform, entertain and empower
CRT, led by Aida Perez, Chief Global Security Officer, acted swiftly and quickly during those early
days, meeting daily to establish protocols and procedures
in response to the rapidly evolving pandemic and
provide leadership to the company’s nearly
3,500 employees. The CRT positioned the company
to be proactive in identifying and mitigating potential
health and operational risks.
shifted most of its U.S. workforce to a remote work
scenario and activated tools to enhance connectivity
and collaboration. Employees were given additional
guidance on these temporary arrangements through
Univision’s newly developed COVID-19 Work
from Home (WFH) policy. The policy provides guidance
on how employees can remain productive and efficient
while offering details on work schedules and standards,
technology and equipment, and data security.
some, however, working remotely was not an option.
Univision’s essential personnel across its
news, broadcast operations, digital teams and others
ensured the continuous broadcast of television and
radio content – vital touchstones for Hispanic
communities in need of critical information and
news, and a source of much-needed entertainment.
The CRT instituted guidelines significantly
restricting non-essential business travel, eliminating
in-person group meetings and implementing a rigorous
protocol of continuous office cleanings. The company
also sourced and procured bulk orders of personal
protective equipment (PPE), including hand sanitizer,
face masks and shields and disinfectant wipes, and
sent robust care packages of supplies to every employee
in all its markets, domestic and international.
also established a Coronavirus Resource Page on
the company’s intranet, which quickly became
and continues to be an important resource portal
for employees. The page features videos with Univision’s
Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Juan Rivera,
who gives recommendations and practical tips to
help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The
page also features the many protocols, policies
and guidelines developed by the CRT which are regularly
updated based on guidance from the CDC, federal
and local authorities and other expert sources.
Univision launched a digital health screening tool
in partnership with Appian which allowed essential
personnel to be cleared for worksite access. Through
Appian, employees respond to questions and enter
necessary information which determines if they may
enter Univision’s workspaces, advises managers
and then delivers a personalized QR code access
from the Coronavirus Resource Page, Univision established
a regular cadence of internal communications from
senior leaders, most notably its Chief Human Resources
Officer, Margaret Lazo. These often-heartfelt
messages remind employees that their health and
safety are the company’s highest priority
and provide updates on evolving protocols and available
resources. One such resource is the free and anonymous
National Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which
offers year-round online and live phone support.
Throughout the pandemic, EAP has hosted webinars
addressing the emotional health and well-being of
employees and their families, in addition to offering
24/7 counseling services.
another, and most critical, resource is the company’s
Disaster Relief Fund, which Univision made available
to employees adversely impacted by the pandemic.
Those suffering hardships and in need of financial
support are eligible for one-time grants to help
ease their burdens.
a mission-driven company, Univision reminds employees
to take great pride in the role they play to consistently
entertain, inform and empower the Hispanic community,
especially during these uncertain times. One employee
one of the most significant media companies and
most trusted source of information for our community,
we are hard at work providing even more live content
to our communities at a time they need us most.”
is especially true in Univision’s Local Media
division, where the company’s television,
radio and digital properties constantly interact
with the communities they serve. Within one week
of the first stay-at-home order, Univision established
company-wide protocols to mitigate risk and provide
for the safety of its teams on the front lines.
Univision teams worked arduously to create and build
new support mechanisms to ensure that on-air talent
had access to top-notch audio-visual technology
while broadcasting from home. Meanwhile, production
control rooms and studios remained open with limited
staff wearing PPE, exercising social distancing,
and implementing rigorous disinfection protocols
to ensure audiences received relevant, timely information.
The local markets collaborated and worked across cities, culminating in what eventually resulted in a COVID-19 Action Plan, prepared by Univision’s production, engineering and operations teams, which paired stations together to ensure that each had redundancy in their operations should they need it. For example, if the local station in Miami was directly impacted by a positive coronavirus case and had to cease broadcasting from their location, their “partner” station in Houston could provide alternate network and local news productions and operations support. This scenario came true to life just as the teams were preparing to test their new framework.
positive test case at Univision Miami’s news
stations forced staff to evacuate the building immediately.
Local leadership quickly moved the studio to the
building’s parking lot where the staff created
a makeshift, multi-camera set up where even the
city’s mayor was interviewed live. The audience
never experienced an interruption and through sheer
collaboration, dedication and communication, the
team seamlessly went live in just 90 minutes.
a national level, Univision’s daily morning
show, “Despierta America,” was forced
to shut down production for a day. The very next
morning, the team was on the air live, broadcasting
remotely with anchors reporting from their homes.
Similarly, Univision’s teams pivoted to broadcast
its annual live awards show, “Premios Juventud,”
which became the very first live music awards show
to air during the pandemic, breaking new ground
in innovating on-air productions.
type of above-and-beyond teamwork became a hallmark
of Univision’s employees and inspired an uplifting,
hopeful series of employee profiles featured on
the company’s intranet and in its weekly employee
newsletter. Among the stories told were that of
an employee recycling water bottles to make face
shields for frontline workers in her community;
another essential employee who began making facemasks
with his family from his living room to share with
local hospitals in need; the New York team who gathered
voluntary donations and partnered with a local organization
to deliver pizza to frontline workers; the incredible
work done by the IT team to quickly deploy hundreds
of laptops and set up additional servers to support
the remote workforce; and the company’s Global
Security and Facilities departments who rolled out
new pre-screening procedures, designed new workplace
office spaces to ensure social distancing and performed
round-the-clock deep cleanings and sanitizations.
as news about vaccines provide people with hope,
America, like most of the world, is still deep in
the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Univision,
as it does for its loyal audience across all its
media platforms, is continuing to provide its employees
with the latest information to be productive and
remain healthy and safe.