Amazon’s leaked memo, Engagement tips from the YMCA, Bird’s HR disaster, and more

Here’s a roundup of the week’s crisis communication news for communicators.

Here are the top 10 tips and takeaways from the week ending April 3 taken from our Crisis Communications Daily newsletter. Be sure to subscribe here to get this daily roundup directly in your inbox.


Showing empathy for your audience is crucial. Some ways to adjust your internal messaging include adding some levity to messaging, being more concise than ever and employing two-way communication. Here are all the tips to offer comfort to employees.

HR must take a leadership role during this crisis. Here are some of the important messages employees want to hear from their HR leaders, and ways for HR to drive the agenda during this difficult time.

Amazon faces backlash over memo about union organizer. The online retailer is defending statements made internally about a former employee who says he was terminated for trying to organize warehouse workers around concerns about safety and COVID-19.

Ars Technica reported:

“He’s not smart, or articulate, and to the extent the press wants to focus on us versus him, we will be in a much stronger PR position than simply explaining for the umpteenth time how we’re trying to protect workers,” wrote David Zapolsky, Amazon’s general counsel. Zapolsky was summarizing discussions at a daily meeting of senior Amazon executives focused on the coronavirus crisis. Vice reports that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos attended the meeting.

It’s crucial to continue to engage your audience, even if they can’t visit your place of business. Here’s how the YMCA is trying to stay connected to its communities and offer help to those in need during the current crisis.

Furloughs are preferable to layoffs for PR and other agencies. In a report from Digiday, many agency leaders say that the alternative to layoffs is a better fit for their organizations to be poised to recover on the other side of this crisis.

Slack offers integrations for video calls with Zoom, Microsoft Teams and more. The business networking app will now allow you to make VoIP calls directly from its platform with integrations to other services like Zoom, Cisco Jabber and others, according to The Verge.

If you are an ‘essential business,’ make sure to share how you are protecting your employees. Here are 10 examples of ways you could offer extra protection for your workers who cannot do their jobs form home during the current crisis.

Check out this visual to map the progression and messaging around COVID-19. For those wondering how the current crisis got to this point and hoping to identify the moments where the consequences might have been mitigated, this graphic is a helpful tool.

(Image courtesy of LEVICK.)

How are you coping with working from home?  Ragan Consulting’s Jim Ylisela walks through some of the pitfalls (time management) and some of the strategies (impromptu dance party?) to help you keep your sanity and stay on task while operating from home.

E-scooter startup Bird lays off 400 workers via group Zoom call. Due to some technical difficulties, some thought they were being laid off in a prerecorded message.

BBC reported:

Its chief executive, Travis VanderZanden, later added: “Video was turned off, which we thought was more humane.

“In retrospect, we should’ve made one-on-one calls to the hundreds impacted, over the course of a few days.”

To get all the latest insights and network with peers on crisis response best practices, join Ragan’s Crisis Leadership Board.


COMMENT Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive the latest articles from directly in your inbox.