The Hershey Company: Togetherness During Uncertain Times

Originally published on by Thomas Smuda, Vice President, Retail

  • Staying true to our purpose, to make more moments of goodness, and to our values is important in uncertain times
  • We’re making safety-first decisions for employees while still helping retailers maintain local food supply
  • Hershey’s culture and spirit of connections will help us come out stronger, together

Hershey’s brands play a special role for many people. They help us celebrate big moments and special occasions, as well as the small moments of goodness that arise during our normal daily routines. That’s why helping maintain affordable pleasures for people is important to all of us at Hershey in these challenging, uncertain times.

Supporting our communities in difficult times is an important part of our legacy. Our founder Milton Hershey’s actions through pivotal moments in our history – whether creating jobs during the Great Depression, or creating ration bars for the U.S. Army during World War II – were grounded in his belief that people are better, together

Ensuring that our brands can be there for our communities and our retail partners is a responsibility that we take seriously, and one that we cannot fulfill without the great employees at the heart of our company.

Deciding the best way to support our retail sales team members, in particular, has posed concerns and challenges unlike any I’ve encountered in my 33-year tenure at Hershey.

Caring for our Employees

Throughout our current crisis, Hershey has operated with a high degree of sensitivity to the impact on our retail workforce. Our leaders have moved swiftly to put increased health and safety measures in place for all employees – with work from home for many, and increased safety protocols and social distancing measures for our manufacturing and retail teams.

In these difficult times, maintaining that culture and spirit of connection – while still serving our retailers’ communities both purposefully and safely – requires us to devise new ways of working that accommodate our employees’ changing lives (and the changing needs and schedules of their families).

We’ve done our best to balance the need for social distancing with our commitment to supporting consistent community food supplies, and the needs of our retail partners by:

  • Encouraging flex hours for retail sales team members to enter stores during off-hours or times with more limited store traffic
  • Offering teleassistance technology to team members as an alternative for connecting to our customers in smaller-format settings, when stocking shelves isn’t necessary
  • Equipping our teams with increased safety measures including gloves, sanitizers, masks and frequent reminders on infectious disease prevention guidelines
  • Offering incentives to those retail sales team members who are able to remain active in their work supporting the food supply in our communities

Stronger Together

Our retail sales team members have also shown incredible amounts of togetherness and support for each other throughout this difficult time. Many supervisors and company executives have gone into the field to support their teams and lend a helping hand at retail. I’ve personally been flooded with encouraging messages from the field, and images of people helping one another to get the job done. The camaraderie, team spirit and noble sense of purpose is helping to keep spirits high, even amid so many challenges.

The compassion and care of our Hershey team will help us come through this crisis stronger, together. I’m proud we’ll continue keeping their safety at the heart of our decisions as we work to fill shelves for the people in our communities, and make moments of goodness in homes around the world.


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