NATIONAL NEWS ROUNDUP
- The COVID-19 crisis continued its tragic pattern in the U.S., as the nation broke records for deaths, new cases and hospitalizations yet again in recent days. As of Thursday morning, at least 289,500 people had died from COVID-19, per The New York Times.
- Legislative leaders McConnell and Pelosi are still far apart on a deal for fresh stimulus aid to help floundering local governments, health authorities and unemployed citizens.
- Seventeen states have signed on to a lawsuit to overturn electoral college votes, despite all states having certified their results. Experts say the lawsuit has dubious legal standing. The electoral college meets Monday to officially select the next president of the United States.
RESEARCH & DATA
For a third of current remote workers, motivation is a problem. The trend is part of a series of findings from Pew Research Center about the current state of remote work during the ongoing pandemic. While many workers say they want to keep working remotely post-COVID, there might be valid concerns about permanent remote work.
More research to watch:
- When it comes to messaging about COVID-19 vaccines, Americans don’t trust social media. More than half say they don’t trust messages on social media platforms about the safety of a crucial medicine.
- Nearly 7 in 10 remote professionals are working weekends. The data from Robert Half suggests that much must be done to reestablish work/life balance for remote employees.
- According to a report, 1 in 3 workers fear remote work will harm their career. Reasons that workers fear remote work include that leaders won’t know all that they do (61%) and that they won’t receive sufficient support in their career (38%).
Google CEO apologizes for dismissal of Black A.I. researcher. Sundar Pichai said in a note to employees that he was sorry for how the events occurred, if not yet sorry for her departure from the company.
“I’ve heard the reaction to Dr. Gebru’s departure loud and clear: It seeded doubts and led some in our community to question their place at Google. I want to say how sorry I am for that, and I accept the responsibility of working to restore your trust,” Mr. Pichai wrote in an email viewed by The New York Times.
Mental health messages require tact, care. One communicator shares insights from a recent external campaign that can offer lessons for pros looking to cover the growing mental health crisis during COVID-19.
Should your company mandate employees getting a COVID vaccine? Here’s why legal experts say you can’t make such a move—yet.
What are you thankful for this year? Readers are sharing top reasons to be grateful, even amid such a difficult year.
Time to evaluate your comms channels. Here’s a framework for refreshing your internal comms plans and deciding what investments are worth keeping in 2021.
FROM THE CRISIS LEADERSHIP NETWORK
How should brands emphasize civility in 2021? New research suggests that it’s crucial for your organization to find ways to bridge the divides that cut through our society and prevent productive dialogue.
Interested in becoming a Crisis Leadership Network member? You can learn more and sign up here.
McKinsey apologizes for its role in the opioid crisis. It was an unusual reaction from the firm, showing that the company is reevaluating its actions amid a trend toward aligning with stakeholder capitalism.
“We recognize that we did not adequately acknowledge the epidemic unfolding in our communities or the terrible impact of opioid misuse,” said the firm in a statement posted on its website.
What challenges face nonprofit comms in 2021? The new top communicator for The Nature Conservancy shares her views on what’s ahead for those facing a difficult fundraising environment.
Do you know your organization’s history? Here’s what common mistakes and missteps can damage your reputation when dealing with misdeeds from your company’s past.
Can companies like Exxon fix their reputation on climate? And even if they can—should PR pros be willing to help the rehabilitate their image? Here’s what’s at stake.
Don’t cut ties with employees for their use of TikTok. Here’s a look at Sherwin-Williams’ mistaken view that an employee sharing videos of mixing paint on the job was doing more harm than good for its brand.
Build platforms to facilitate workplace connection. Here’s how one outfit created its own system, playfully named after the dating website eHarmony, to help workers build those essential friendships during WFH.
The IT department is an essential partner right now. Here are some tips on how to build a great relationship with these hardworking pros to maximize employee experience.
Will a hybrid work environment be possible for your organization? Here’s how leaders are breaking down the pros and cons of hybrid work, as well as tips for thinking through the many challenges of long-term remote work.
The Dutch might be world leaders on remote work. Their success is built around infrastructure and an inherent democratic framework built into their work culture. Here’s what companies should take from the European masters of telecommuting.
Criminals are targeting remote workers, according to new data. Make sure your remote teams are protected and trained to avoid cyberattacks as new threats emerge.
Starbucks appoints first Black woman as chair of the board. The move comes after the company announced it would tie diversity to executive pay. It also follows years of work on DE&I and cultural sensitivity training following high-profile incidents in 2018 between Black customers and police in its stores.
GE settles with the SEC on improper disclosures. Despite paying a $200 million penalty, the company is neither admitting to nor denying any wrongdoing.
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement that puts the matter behind us,” GE said in a statement. “Under the current leadership team, we have significantly enhanced our disclosures and internal controls and are a stronger company today.”
TOOLS & TACTICS
You need a listening tool for modern crisis response. Zignal Labs explains why monitoring technology is essential for the year ahead, as managing crisis comms will be “extremely challenging.”
Be digital-first. Here’s how communicators of all stripes are thinking about embracing the rapid digital transformation that has been spurred by WFH and the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
What are the steps of a strategic comms plan for DE&I? Joseph Dawson, director, strategic communication for the office of the chief human resources officer and chief diversity officer at Freddie Mac, shares his insights.
See the full presentation on Ragan Training.