NATIONAL NEWS ROUNDUP
- A new model shows that COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are set to nearly double in the next two months. Current numbers show about 12.4 million cases, and hospitalizations are at all-time highs with more than 85,000 COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the country.
- Economists are once again begging government to send more stimulus checks as the COVID-19 crisis continues to keep workers home and businesses closed—and stricter regulations ramp up as cases climb nationwide.
- The White House says it will hold indoor holiday celebrations despite the rising COVID-19 cases across the country. Many White House officials, including President Trump, have already tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the year.
RESEARCH & DATA
Sadness is on the rise in the U.S. According to new research from Gallup, sentiments of sadness and loss are growing for U.S. consumers during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
More research to watch:
- Consider a gradual approach toward innovation. COVID-19 has forced many organizations to try new things. According to research from Deloitte, 78% of employees say their employer is introducing new ways of working post-pandemic, compared to just 9% before. However, cognitive load theory suggests that your employees can only process so much learning at once.
- Employee retraining and new skills education haven’t improved during COVID-19. Despite a clear need for upskilling and educational efforts to adapt to new workflows, workers say that companies have not improved their retraining programming during the pandemic. Only 25% say training has improved.
- More than 1 in 4 employees say they are experiencing video call fatigue. According to research from Robert Half, 38% said they have experienced Zoom fatigue since the beginning of the pandemic, and 1 in 4 working parents report spending half of their on-the-job hours in virtual meetings
What are you doing with virtual events to engage remote teams? Here are some lessons from the experts at Facebook, including how to make your virtual gatherings more successful and ways you can limit distractions.
Inclusion should be the priority in D&I work. The first impulse can be to just get the metrics up, experts say, but the true difference is made in changing the culture of the organization.
“I remember when I started back in 2007 … the idea was to hire diverse talent and fit them into these neat boxes that we have internally,” [Ray Narine, head of talent development and deputy chief diversity officer at Consumer Reports, said]. “That movement has really shifted into where we are today, where we’re creating spaces now for differences that people bring with them.”
Long-term and short-term crisis strategies are very different. Here are the different mindsets required to tackle the various consequences—both immediate and far-reaching—for the many crises of the moment and the inevitable crises of the future.
Are you asking the right questions on employee surveys? Here are some of the good, the bad—and the downright ugly—when it comes to internal communications surveys.
FROM THE CRISIS LEADERSHIP NETWORK
Because of COVID-19, consumers expect more of technology. Audiences expect to hear directly and swiftly from brands across channels, according to one crisis expert.
Read more in our featured story of the week.
Interested in becoming a Crisis Leadership Network member? You can learn more and sign up here.
How fast should crisis communicators move in 2021? Here’s why hesitation on social media and digital-first platforms can be dangerous for your brand reputation—and how you can build agility into your organization’s response plan.
Let’s give thanks for the great journalism of 2020. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what we have and what we can be grateful for. For PR pros, that list should include the intrepid journalists who have braved a rough political climate and a global pandemic to bring audiences the news.
Guitar Center files for bankruptcy. The musical instrument retailer says it hopes to emerge from the process with a strong position to meet the demands of the modern marketplace.
“This is an important and positive step in our process to significantly reduce our debt and enhance our ability to reinvest in our business to support long-term growth,” said Guitar Center CEO Ron Japinga in a release. “Throughout this process, we will continue to serve our customers and deliver on our mission of putting more music in the world.” Japinga added that the company expects to emerge from bankruptcy by the end of this year.
Ford CEO applauds GM for reversing course on emissions. The executive tweeted out support for the rival automaker following its decision to withdraw from legal challenges to California emissions laws and to highlight Ford’s commitment to climate science.
“I applaud GM for reversing course on this critical issue. I’m also proud that Bill Ford and @Ford stood tall for environmental progress from the start. Principle over politics,” [Ford CEO Jim Farley] tweeted at 4:30 a.m..
What will future messaging from the White House mean for the comms industry? One PR pro argues that the new Biden administration represents a return to norms for communications and media relations.
Embracing remote work requires full-scale transformation. Deep changes like adopting asynchronous communication, performance reviews based on outputs and blowing up barriers and organizational silos are necessary, according to an expert from Harvard. See all his recommendations for successful remote leadership.
Walmart extends corporate WFH until July 5, 2021. In a memo to employees, leaders cited the rising cases of COVID-19 nationwide as the reason for its decision, while stressing that it still plans to invest in office work for the future.
It reads, in part:
Our longer-term view is that we still believe in the importance of working together in campus offices for the majority of the organization as our primary way of working. It’s important culturally, and it aids in collaboration, innovation and speed. We also believe that we have the opportunity to increase flexibility into our work days. There will be roles, especially in technology as we’ve previously announced, that will continue to work primarily in a remote way.
Employers should approach this holiday season with sensitivity. Here are some ways you can show appreciation for employees in lieu of that annual holiday office party.
How are you engaging interns when offices are closed? Here’s how Progressive Insurance was able to maintain important programs for future employees.
Can remote work actually make your team more creative? Some of the positives for innovators collaborating from a distance include how virtual meetings can ensure you hear from everyone. Remote work also offers greater team diversity since collaborators aren’t limited to local employees.
How can you turn negative perception into opportunity? Check out the lessons from a campaign by the Entertainment Software Association, and see how active crisis response can do much more than mitigate a bad situation.
How are airlines handling the return of the 737 MAX? The aircraft has been recertified, but that doesn’t necessarily mean consumers will feel comfortable boarding one of the revamped jets. Here’s how airlines from Southwest to United are handling the Boeing plane’s return to the skies.
A Detroit beer company had to pull its latest offering over legal action from Barry Sanders. The former Detroit Lions running back says the company never got his permission to use his likeness—a prime example of what not to do when trying to engage celebrities and influencers.
TOOLS & TACTICS
What are the lessons you are taking from 2020? Here are some survival tactics that have served communicators well—as told in GIFs.
Copycats still thrive at social media companies. This time it is Snapchat copying a feature from the upstart platform TikTok, but don’t expect it to be the last time a social platform tries to poach a popular feature from a rival. Here’s what the change could mean for brand managers.
Are you prepared to engage your key stakeholders during a crisis? One of the lessons of the past few months is just how easy it is to overlook a vital group within your organization. That’s why identifying all your stakeholders is a crucial part of crisis prep.
See the full presentation on Ragan Training.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Dec. 2 – Health Care Communications Virtual Conference
Dec. 11 – Crisis Communications Awards Deadline