NATIONAL NEWS ROUNDUP
- The U.S. broke more records on Wednesday for COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths ahead of a decision on Moderna’s vaccine approval. Pfizer’s vaccine started shipping in the past week.
- Weekly jobless numbers have spiked, hitting their highest levels since September as the pandemic continues to stifle a recovery.
- European leaders are quarantining after French president Emmanuel Macron tested positive for COVID-19, just days after meetings with regional counterparts.
- Congress is pushing to pass a $900 billion stimulus measure before the end of the year that businesses say are essential to avoid mass closings. A government shutdown is also in the offing, as the deadline for extending credit once again haunts Capitol Hill.
RESEARCH & DATA
Organizations are prioritizing flexibility over speed. It’s a subtle difference but an understandable adaptation after the COVID-19 crisis. Leaders now say that adding technology to increase agility and break down traditional organizations structures is a much higher concern.
More research to watch:
- What are the trends in human capital management to watch? Deloitte shares its top items to wrap up the year, with plenty of lessons to take from our experience with COVID-19.
- McKinsey recommends taking big swings in 2021. The consulting firm references a 2019 report on how transformation requires making big moves in its year-end note on how to survive beyond COVID-19. The biggest areas for change are in productivity and portfolio.
- Employers are forecasting positive growth in hiring for Q1. According to data from Manpower, many organizations anticipate bringing on new team members to start the new year.
To improve remote work, focus on manager communications. Here’s how you can make sure essential messages are reaching frontline workers and that your management teams are getting the resources they need to succeed.
Google employees demand fired AI researcher be reinstated. The ouster had led to a half-apology from CEO Sundar Pichai, who promised to investigate the situation further. It’s another example of how employee activism is reshaping the American workplace.
“Offering Timnit her position back at a higher level would go a long way to help re-establish trust and rebuild our team environment,” reads the letter sent by Google employee Alex Hanna on behalf of the Ethical AI team, which Gebru co-led before she was forced out. “The removal of Timnit has had a demoralizing effect on the whole of our team.”
Is a podcast right for your organization? If you’re considering an internal podcast—or external, too—here are some tips to help make sure your audience buys in.
FROM THE CRISIS LEADERSHIP NETWORK
Are you using an outdated crisis comms playbook? Experts share their take on what a modern crisis plan looks like, and how a holistic approach to crisis comms is necessary to safeguard your reputation.
Interested in becoming a Crisis Leadership Network member? You can learn more and sign up here.
Are you prepared for a cyberattack? Here’s how to build a response plan for a serious risk all organizations will face in 2021.
Tyson Foods fires employees over COVID-19 “betting pool.” An investigation found that managers had taken bets on employees contracting the COVID-19 virus, as was alleged in a lawsuit filed by the family of an employee who died from the virus in April.
“We value our people and expect everyone on the team, especially our leaders, to operate with integrity and care in everything we do,” Tyson Foods President and CEO Dean Banks said in a statement. “The behaviors exhibited by these individuals do not represent the Tyson core values, which is why we took immediate and appropriate action to get to the truth. Now that the investigation has concluded, we are taking action based on the findings.”
What can we predict about 2021? PR insiders share some of their top concerns and beliefs about the year ahead, from a return to the office to increased investment in crisis communications.
JC Penny announces more store closings. The move comes as the retail chain looks to exit bankruptcy and find its footing in a changing retail environment.
“As part of our store optimization strategy that began in June with our financial restructuring, we have made the decision to close an additional 15 stores,” J.C. Penney said in a statement to USA TODAY. “These stores will begin liquidation sales later this month and will close to the public in mid to late March.”
Take proactive steps to preserve your reputation. Here are four action items for brands looking to play it safe in the coming months.
What about this year’s holiday party? Experts weigh in on how to manage year-end events at a time when most offices remain closed and employees are battling screen fatigue.
Tech employers are cutting salaries for remote employees. The practice was floated in early reports about the new hybrid workplace, but now that companies are starting to roll out cuts, how will workers respond? Here’s how it is playing out for companies like Redfin.
Looking to engage remote workers with a charitable event? Here’s how some are adapting their annual holiday drives during ongoing lockdowns and office closings.
Can remote work improve company commitments on diversity and environmental protection? That’s how the decision is being framed by VMWare, according to a new report.
“Accessibility to a broader talent pool and flexible work will shape a more diverse VMware and help achieve net-zero carbon emissions for operations,” said [SVP of HR Rich Lang].
What does trust for remote workers really mean? Here’s why offering employees trust rather than surveillance is the way to go for long-term remote work plans.
HIMSS shares takeaways from 2020 nightmare. The health care organization had to cancel its annual gathering of thousands of pros due to COVID-19. Here’s what the organization learned from its experience.
Google gets sued by 40 states over search engine dominance. The antitrust lawsuit comes after filings were made against Facebook for its anti-competitive practices. Here’s how the crisis is unfolding for Google.
TOOLS & TACTICS
During a crisis, rely on “metacognition.” Here’s how psychologists say you can take active steps to reduce mental errors and misjudgments during a crisis.
Looking for tools to help you manage messaging in 2021? Here’s a list of technical solutions offered by some of our sponsors.
Follow ‘RASCI’ to determine crisis responsibilities. This handy framework from Lesley Sillaman at Red Havas helps you make sense of who is responsible for action, who needs to be kept informed and who has the relevant expertise.
See the full presentation on Ragan Training.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS