Inside the UK’s Post-Brexit Economy: Why Investors Should Have an Eye on London

London is firmly open for business, and that is a message emanating from the gleaming towers of the city, the corridors of government and the flashing screens of the stock exchange.

wo years ago, the British press was full of news about leaving the European Union (which the UK did formally on January 31, 2020). It was a theme which had dominated the media for years, and there seemed little sign of it changing. Then, news began to emerge of a strange new respiratory virus in a Chinese city called Wuhan…

Now, the worst excesses of COVID-19 seem to be abating, and parts of the world are starting to shake off the strictures of lockdown. We have found, perhaps to our surprise, that life goes on. It is very far from business as usual—adaptation is one of the key skills of the new economic landscape—nevertheless, the world keeps turning, and we must turn with it.

So, what is it like in the UK? What are the opportunities for entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders? How has the landscape changed? Is the UK economy different than it was before?

At the moment, London is a thriving center for the tech industry, home to more than 60 unicorns, according to the annual report of growth platform Tech Nation. Some are growing at an extraordinary rate: DivideBuy, a lending platform, reported average growth of 20,733 percent over a three-year period, while Popsa, a photobook specialist, went up 10,576 percent. And IPOs are on the rise, too; technology and consumer internet listings accounted for more than half of total capital raised in the first six months of 2021.

This development should be prominently on the radar of investors and others. London has traditionally lagged behind the U.S. for tech floatations, but the momentum is firmly on the eastern side of the Atlantic right now. One reason is that tech is becoming understood in a broader context; it is no longer just software and social media, but the heart which drives platforms in all sectors—and that is where London gains an advantage.

The capital has strength in depth in areas like energy, telecommunications and financial services, and that infrastructure increasingly gives it the edge over not just Amsterdam or Frankfurt but even New York. Observers from the U.S. should also be aware of the emerging regulatory environment. The UK government sponsored a review of how companies raise money on the capital markets, led by former cabinet minister and EU commissioner Lord Jonathan Hill of Oareford.

Its recommendations were published with a distinctly deregulatory flavor and have been warmly welcomed by the UK Treasury. Chancellor Rishi Sunak remarked: “Our vision is for a more open, greener and more technologically advanced financial services sector.” That vision is being delivered on a number of fronts. The prospectus regime for companies seeking finance will be reviewed and made “less burdensome” (code for less exhaustive and rigorous).

The government also intends to relax the rules on dual-class shares, allowing differentiated voting rights but only for up to five years and with a maximum voting ratio limited to 20:1. The free float requirements will also be reduced from 25 percent to 15 percent.

All of this is a strong sign of intent. The political establishment has argued bitterly over a vision for the UK after Brexit, but a constant theme has been the creation of a free-market, light-touch-regulation, agile trading hub modelled in part on Singapore and the ghost of colonial Hong Kong. The current conservative administration, pandemic notwithstanding, has a buccaneering wind in its sails, and the effects on investment are clear.

However, there is something more, something besides share prices and rules and floatations. There is, unquestionably, a new mood in the City of London. Like any financial hub, it still bears the scars and the bloodied hands of the financial crisis. But financial services are growing in confidence, beginning to point to the contribution they make to the wider economy and realizing that they have somehow survived the worst of the pandemic.

This new mood combines relief—life, as I noted earlier, goes on—and eager openness. The UK has much to prove in the wake of Brexit, as witnessed by the hyperactivity of international trade secretary Elizabeth Truss, forging deals around the world. Early predictions of the collapse of UK financial services have been proved wrong.

Fund managers are looking at new regulation changes; the overall European market is fracturing among Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Dublin, Luxembourg and Paris; and current estimates are that only 7,400 jobs have been relocated from London to other European centers.

London is firmly open for business, and that is a message emanating from the gleaming towers of the city, the corridors of government and the flashing screens of the stock exchange. There is a sense that anything is possible. Anyone who works in business or finance should prick up their ears, and maybe look at upcoming flights to London.

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By: Eliot Wilson

Eliot Wilson is the cofounder of Pivot Point, a change management, strategy and PR consultancy based in London.

Source: Inside the UK’s Post-Brexit Economy: Why Investors Should Have an Eye on London – Worth

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Long Working Hours Killing 745,000 People a Year, Study Finds

 

The first global study of its kind showed 745,000 people died in 2016 from stroke and heart disease due to long hours.The report found that people living in South East Asia and the Western Pacific region were the most affected.

The WHO also said the trend may worsen due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The research found that working 55 hours or more a week was associated with a 35% higher risk of stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease, compared with a working week of 35 to 40 hours.

The study, conducted with the International Labour Organization (ILO), also showed almost three quarters of those that died as a result of working long hours were middle-aged or older men.

Often, the deaths occurred much later in life, sometimes decades later, than the long hours were worked.Five weeks ago, a post on LinkedIn from 45-year-old Jonathan Frostick gained widespread publicity as he described how he’d had a wake-up call over long working hours.

The regulatory program manager working for HSBC had just sat down on a Sunday afternoon to prepare for the working week ahead when he felt a tightness in his chest, a throbbing in his throat, jawline and arm, and difficulty breathing.

“I got to the bedroom so I could lie down, and got the attention of my wife who phoned 999,” he said.While recovering from his heart-attack, Mr Frostick decided to restructure his approach to work. “I’m not spending all day on Zoom anymore,” he said.

His post struck a chord with hundreds of readers, who shared their experiences of overwork and the impact on their health.Mr Frostick doesn’t blame his employer for the long hours he was putting in, but one respondent said: “Companies continue to push people to their limits without concern for your personal well-being.”

HSBC said everyone at the bank wished Mr Frostick a full and speedy recovery.”We also recognise the importance of personal health and wellbeing and a good work-life balance. Over the last year we have redoubled our efforts on health and wellbeing.

“The response to this topic shows how much this is on people’s minds and we are encouraging everyone to make their health and wellbeing a top priority.”

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While the WHO study did not cover the period of the pandemic, WHO officials said the recent jump in remote working and the economic slowdown may have increased the risks associated with long working hours.

“We have some evidence that shows that when countries go into national lockdown, the number of hours worked increase by about 10%,” WHO technical officer Frank Pega said.

The report said working long hours was estimated to be responsible for about a third of all work-related disease, making it the largest occupational disease burden.

The researchers said that there were two ways longer working hours led to poor health outcomes: firstly through direct physiological responses to stress, and secondly because longer hours meant workers were more likely to adopt health-harming behaviours such as tobacco and alcohol use, less sleep and exercise, and an unhealthy diet.

Andrew Falls, 32, a service engineer based in Leeds, says the long hours at his previous employer took a toll on his mental and physical health.”Fifty to 55 hour weeks were the norm. I was also away from home for weeks on end.”

“Stress, depression, anxiety, it was a cauldron of bad feedback loops,” he says. “I was in a constant state of being run down.”After five years he left the job to retrain as a software engineer. The number of people working long hours was increasing before the pandemic struck, according to the WHO, and was around 9% of the total global population.

In the UK, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that people working from home during the pandemic were putting in an average of six hours of unpaid overtime a week. People who did not work from home put in an average of 3.6 hours a week overtime, the ONS said.

The WHO suggests that employers should now take this into account when assessing the occupational health risks of their workers. Capping hours would be beneficial for employers as that had been shown to increase productivity, Mr Pega said. “It’s really a smart choice to not increase long working hours in an economic crisis.”

Source: Long working hours killing 745,000 people a year, study finds – BBC News

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References

“Spain introduces new working hours law requiring employees to clock in and out”. Idealista. Retrieved 30 April 2020.

Eight Ways To Emerge Stronger From The Crisis

With the pandemic easing, it’s time for businesses to square their shoulders and aggressively move toward a digital-first strategy, says Paul Roehrig, Head of Strategy at Cognizant Digital Business & Technology.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken millions of lives and triggered trillions of dollars’ worth of economic wreckage. And while news regarding vaccines is encouraging, now is not the time for the world to turn its back on safety measures proven to help slow the spread of the virus.

Nevertheless, vaccines are taking hold at various rates worldwide, and there is every reason to believe the grip the coronavirus has held on the world for over a year is easing.

Early in the crisis, we explored steps businesses should take to eventually emerge from the pandemic in a strong position. We believe that advice has held up, and that now is the time for forward-looking companies to accelerate digital initiatives.

Eight ways to catalyze post-crisis gains:

A year ago, “becoming digital” was seen by many as a desirable elective, but now — in our new world — it’s mandatory. The most common questions from business leaders from every industry and region have been: “I get the theory, but where do I start? What specific steps can I take today to ensure a healthy tomorrow?” These eight critical tactics will help:

1) Modernize data

It’s more important than ever to turn data from a liability into an asset. Companies that haven’t gotten control of their data are already behind, and the new economy will make it harder to recover. It’s no longer justifiable to pay to maintain terabytes (or more) of data and then not use it for business outcomes.

Improving decisions and experiences — and growth — with applied intelligence is infinitely more difficult (or impossible) without data that is relevant, accessible, secure and used to improve decisions or customer experiences. A data audit — figuring out what data is available, being accessed and for what purpose — was a no-regret decision 13 months ago. Now it’s a condition for survival.

2) Unshackle from legacy applications 

Roughly $3 trillion of economic value per day still runs on COBOL. That’s a staggering reliance on a programming language dating back to 1959. Going forward, business pressures will make it unsustainable to be trapped by this heritage software. Consumer relevance, faster time-to-market and cost savings have never been more important.

Many companies feel trapped by their legacy software, but there are new tools, processes, engineering methods and partners to help unlock value that is trapped in data centers. The first step is a complete software audit to understand which applications make the most sense to modernize, which should be left alone and which can be turned off.

3) Modernize how employees work

Remember going into an office? Getting on a train? The TSA pat-down? We’ll do all that again, but ideas and practices about how we work together will never be the same. The pandemic shock accelerates the imperative to be able to work from an office, the home, the car, the … well, anywhere! Today’s employees seek the same high-quality experience as a consumer using the best software.

Old, difficult-to-use interfaces and systems hinder how employees interact and collaborate, and store and exchange information. Seamless, secure connections across web, mobile, voice, collaboration systems, platforms and processes have made great strides during lockdowns. We aren’t going backward, so the time is now to extend the modern employee experience.

4) Modernize consumer experiences

In just a few painful weeks in 2020, elegant, secure, scalable online content and commerce went from critical to essential for every consumer-facing industry. Content has always been important, but with more transactions online, the ability to deliver that content to the right person, at the right time, in any place, via any device, via beautiful software is now and forever a business imperative.

Regardless of industry, expectations for engagement have shifted. The immediate reaction for too many businesses was to throw cash at front-end consumer-facing apps. A better bet is to take a step back and understand how the lifecycle of demand can be changed longer-term. That starts with deeply understanding how human wants and needs are likely to unfold in line with specific products and services.

5) Engineer software for the new economy

Every modern business needs software that can be built quickly and scaled effectively to deliver modern (human-first) experiences across the value chain for employees, partners and customers. It’s not necessary to be better at software engineering than Google or Microsoft, but it is necessary for every company to become more software-centric.

Tools, engineering methods and technologies already exist to help an enterprise become a better bank, a better insurer, a better retailer. This requires rethinking how core IT teams are structured, how they work and how they are incented, plus reevaluating the partner ecosystem critical to the business. Every major company is building software all the time, but it’s now time to explore new methods. Starting small can show near-term progress while mitigating risk.

6) Virtualize core work

The total impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will take years to become clear. However, one irrefutable shift is the new requirement for companies to modernize core process work. Middle- and back-office work that is slow, labor-intensive, expensive, opaque and unchanging is no longer allowable. Nearly every organization we know of can improve supply chain management, HR, finance and industry-specific process work.

Notably, the pandemic unlocked virtualized medical care as medical workers used technology to provide at-home solutions or even in-hospital solutions more safely and effectively. And that’s just one example. Automation, applied intelligence and worker enhancement have all moved from “helpful” to “critical” during the COVID crisis. Now is the time to begin exploring which points on the value chain make the most sense to modernize today.

7) Modernize the cloud foundation

For years, IT has been chipping away at costs by moving work to service providers and pushing centralized computer loads to the cloud, but that was really just Phase One. The unprecedented economic downturn has shone a spotlight on how much more can be done, and how rapidly. Threadbare arguments against reducing IT costs — e.g., by more aggressively moving into the cloud, deploying cost-effective software-as-a-service platforms, reducing operating costs of non-core work – must be overruled. We recommend a pivoting from, “What can we move into the cloud?” to, “What can’t we move to the cloud?”

8) Make every space smart (and safe)

For years, sensor-enabling industrial equipment has improved productivity, reduced downtime and paved the way for more “as-a-service” business models. In the post-pandemic economy — as demand evolves and our expectations and concerns about staying safe in public spaces remain top of mind — nearly every company that operates in physical space will have to adopt the same philosophy.

COVID accelerated the development of technologies that assess occupant health and help us maintain safe distances, clean surfaces, etc. This takes a coordinated solution linking sensors, analytics and software. Business leaders must continue to be proactive in applying instrumentation, analytics and software engineering to make every space intelligent, less expensive to manage, more comfortable and safer.

To learn more, read our report “From Chaos to Catalyst,” visit the Digital Business & Technology section of our website or contact us.

Paul Roehrig is Head of Strategy for Cognizant Digital Business & Technology. He is the Founder and former Global Managing Director of the Center for The Future of Work at Cognizant. Along with Malcolm Frank and Ben Pring, he is a coauthor of What To Do When Machines Do Everything: How to Get Ahead in a World of AI, Algorithms, Bots, and Big Data and Code Halos: How the Digital Lives of People, Things, and Organizations are Changing the Rules of Business. Paul’s most recent work is Monster: A Tough Love Letter on Taming the Machines that Rule our Jobs, Lives, and Future, which he co-authored with Ben Pring. He can be reached at Paul.Roehrig@cognizant.com.

Source: Eight Ways To Emerge Stronger From The Crisis

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Emerging from crisis requires humanity not strategy | Daily FT

How Organizations and Individuals Can Manage Crisis

The alumni of the prestigious Harvard Business School noted that the COVID-19 pandemic forced governments worldwide to make a choice between life, death and economy. He spoke at the NIM’s Management Day lecture in Lagos.

Quoting the World Economic Forum, 2020, Adeshina said an aggregate loss of the health and economic crises is estimated at $9 trillion between 2020 and 2021. He warned that the world needs to de-escalate crisis to avert a humanitarian disaster.

He said: “Crisis is an unstable event or series of events that can emanate from an individual, group, corporate and the government, which can cause disruption in normal business operations, economic, social, reputation and political damage in the society. It threatens to have calamitous human and developmental consequences.”

Nigeria, he said, was facing its worst economic crisis, with over 82.9 million persons classified as poor by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its Nigerian Living Standards Survey (NLSS) Report, May 2020.

This, the Institute of Bankers’ Fellow noted, amounts to 40.1 per cent of the population. “Nigeria, since its last economic recession in 2016-2017, has witnessed a collapse in the price of crude oil, volatile movement in the exchange rate, rising inflation and food prices, dwindling Foreign Direct Investment,  increasing unemployment, reduced public confidence in the government, Northern region unrest coupled with the Global pandemic; amongst others,” he said.

Adeshina, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), stated that businesses must be prepared for a crisis, because “it is a matter of when and not if.  “A crisis should not be perceived as a threat to avoid, rather the focus should be when it comes, how prepared is the organisation to handle it? If a crisis is well managed, it reduces the damage and impact on an organisation and enables the organisation to recover quickly.”

He was of the view that a credible crisis management framework was critical to help maintain confidence in the people, system and government and it minimises risks. “Proper and quick crisis management is critical for public relations and reputation. Since crises come in several forms, it is recommended that organisations should have in place a crisis management plan,” he said.

He lamented the increasing ‘unmodellable’ behaviours, especially at top-most leadership levels. Adeshina, an investment banker for over three decades, blamed the dwindling economy on the inability of governments to curb the high rate of people living below the poverty line.

Citing the recent #EndSARS protest, he said it was a pointer to the end of bad governance and a wake-up call to those in leadership positions to begin to institutionalize good governance. “Attention should be given to the business continuity, cost management, productivity, and implementing safety measures, however, innovation-led growth should not be totally ignored,” he said.

By Brown Chimezie

Source: How organisations, individuals can manage crisis, by expert

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Related Sources:

Argenti, P. (2002, December).  Crisis communication:  Lessons from 9/11.  Harvard Business Review, 80(12), 103-109. This article provides insights into working with employees during a crisis.  The information is derived from interviews with managers about their responses to the 9/11 tragedies.

Arpan, L.M., & Roskos-Ewoldsen, D.R. (2005). Stealing thunder: An analysis of the effects of proactive disclosure of crisis information. Public Relations Review 31(3), 425-433.
This article discusses an experiment that studies the idea of stealing thunder.  Stealing thunder is when an organization releases information about a crisis before the news media or others release the information.  The results found that stealing thunder results in higher credibility ratings for a company than allowing others to report the crisis information first.  This is additional evidence to support the notion of being quick in a crisis and telling the organization’s side of the story.

Augustine, N. R. (1995, November/December). Managing the crisis you tried to prevent. Harvard Business Review, 73(6), 147-158. This article centers on the six stages of a crisis:  avoiding the crisis, preparing to management the crisis, recognizing the crisis, containing the crisis, resolving the crisis, and profiting from the crisis.  The article reinforces the need to have a crisis management plan and to test both the crisis management plan and team through exercises.  It also reinforces the need to learn (profit) from the crisis.

Barton, L. (2001). Crisis in organizations II (2nd ed.). Cincinnati, OH: College Divisions South-Western. This is a very practice-oriented book that provides a number of useful insights into crisis management.  There is a strong emphasis on the role of communication and public relations/affairs in the crisis management process and the need to speak with one voice.  The book provides excellent information on crisis management plans (a template is in Appendix D pp. 225-262); the composition of crisis management teams (pp. 14-17); the need for exercises (pp.  207-221); and the need to communicate with employees (pp. 86-101).

Benoit, W. L. (1995). Accounts, excuses, and apologies: A theory of image restoration. Albany: State University of New York Press. This book has a scholarly focus on image restoration not crisis manage.  However, his discussion of image restoration strategies is very thorough (pp. 63-96).  These strategies have been used as reputation repair strategies after a crisis.

Benoit, W. L. (1997). Image repair discourse and crisis communication. Public Relations Review, 23(2), 177-180. The article is based on his book Accounts, excuses, and apologies: A theory of image restoration and provides a review of image restoration strategies.  The image restoration strategies are reputation repair strategies that can be used after a crisis.  It is a quicker and easiest to use resource than the book.

Business”>http://www.nfib.com/object/3783593.html.”>Business Roundtable’s Post-9/11 crisis communication toolkit. (2002). Retrieved April 24, 2006, from http://www.nfib.com/object/3783593.html.
This is a very user-friendly PDF files that takes a person through the crisis management process.  There is helpful information on web-based communication (pp. 73-82) including “dark sites” and the use of Intranet and e-mail to keep employees informed.  There is an explanation of templates, what are called holding statements or fill-in-the-blank media statements including a sample statement (pp. 28-29).  It also provides information of the crisis management plan (pp. 21-32), structure of the crisis management team (pp. 33-40) and types of exercises (pp. 89-93) including mock press conferences.

Carney, A., & Jorden, A. (1993, August). Prepare for business-related crises. Public Relations Journal 49, 34-35.
This article emphasize the need for a message strategy during crisis communication.  Developing and sharing a strategy helps an organization to speak with one voice during the crisis.

Cohen, J. R.  (1999).  Advising clients to apologize.  S. California Law Review, 72, 1009-131.
This article examines expressions of concern and full apologies from a legal perspective.  He notes that California, Massachusetts, and Florida have laws that prevent expressions of concern from being used as evidence against someone in a court case.  The evidence from court cases suggests that expressions of concern are helpful because they help to reduce the amount of damages sought and the number of claims filed.

Coombs, W. T. (1995). Choosing the right words: The development of guidelines for the selection of the “appropriate” crisis response strategies. Management Communication Quarterly, 8, 447-476.
This article is the foundation for Situational Crisis Communication Theory.  It uses a decision tree to guide the selection of crisis response strategies.  The guidelines are based on matching the response to nature of the crisis situation.  A number of studies have tested the guidelines in the decision tree and found them to be reliable.

Coombs, W. T. (2004a). Impact of past crises on current crisis communications: Insights from situational crisis communication theory. Journal of Business Communication, 41, 265-289.
This article documents that past crises intensify the reputational threat to a current crisis.  Since the news media reminds people of past crises, it is common for organizations in crisis to face past crises as well.  Crisis managers need to adjust their reputation repair strategies if there are past crises-crisis managers will need to use more accommodative strategies than they normally would.  Accidents are a good example.  Past accidents indicate a pattern of problems so people will view the organization as much more responsible for the crisis than if the accident were isolated.  Greater responsibility means the crisis is more of a threat to the reputation and the organization must focus the response more on addressing victim concerns.

Coombs, W. T. (2004b).  Structuring crisis discourse knowledge: The West Pharmaceutics case.  Public Relations Review, 30, 467-474.
This article is a case analysis of the West Pharmaceutical 2003 explosion at its Kinston, NC facility.  The case documents the extensive use of the Internet to keep employees and other stakeholders informed.  It also develops a list of crisis communication standards based on SCCT.  The crisis communication standards offer suggestions for how crisis managers can match their crisis response to the nature of the crisis situation.

Coombs, W. T. (2006). Code red in the boardroom: Crisis management as organizational DNA. Westport, CN: Praeger.
This is a book written for a practitioner audience.  The book focuses on how to respond to three common types of crises:  attacks on an organization (pp. 13-26), accidents (pp. 27-44), and management misbehavior pp. (45-64).  There are also detailed discussions of how crisis management plans must be a living document (pp. 77-90), different types of exercises for crisis management (pp. 84-87), and samples of specific elements of a crisis management plan in Appendix A (pp. 103-109).

Coombs, W. T. (2007a).  Ongoing crisis communication:  Planning, Managing, and responding (2nd ed.).  Los Angeles:  Sage. This book is designed to teach students and managers about the crisis management process.  There is a detailed discussion of spokesperson training pp. (78-87) and a discussion of the traits and skills crisis team members need to posses to be effective during a crisis (pp. 66-77).  The book emphasizes the value of follow-up information and updates (pp. 147-148) along with the learning from the crisis (pp. 152-162).  There is also a discussion of the utility of mass notification systems during a crisis (pp. 97-98).

Coombs, W. T. (2007b).  Protecting organization reputations during a crisis:The development and application of situational crisis communication theory.  Corporate Reputation Review, 10, 1-14.
This article provides a summary of research conducted on and lessons learned from Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT).  The article includes a discussion how the research can go beyond reputation to include behavioral intentions such as purchase intention and negative word-of-mouth.  The information in the article is based on experimental studies rather than case studies.

Coombs, W. T., & Holladay, S. J. (1996). Communication and attributions in a crisis: An experimental study of crisis communication. Journal of Public Relations Research, 8(4), 279-295. This article uses an experimental design to document the negative effect of crises on an organization’s reputation.  The research also establishes that the type of reputation repair strategies managers use does make a difference on perceptions of the organization.  An important finding is proof that the more an organization is held responsible for the crisis, the more accommodative a reputation repair strategy must be in order to be effective/protect the organization’s reputation.

Coombs, W. T. and Holladay, S. J.  (2001).  An extended examination of the crisis
situation: A fusion of the relational management and symbolic approaches.  Journal of Public Relations Research, 13, 321-340.

This study reports on an experiment designed to test how prior reputation influenced the attributions of crisis responsibility.  The study found that an unfavorable prior reputation had the biggest effect.  People rated an organization as having much greater responsibility for a crisis when the prior reputation was negative than if the prior reputation was neutral or positive.  Similar results were found for the effects of prior reputation on the post-crisis reputation.

Coombs, W. T., & Holladay, S. J. (2002). Helping crisis managers protect reputational assets: Initial tests of the situational crisis communication theory. Management Communication Quarterly, 16, 165-186. This article begins to map how stakeholders respond to some very common crises.  Using the level of responsibility for a crisis that people attribute to an organization, the research found that common crises can be categorized into one of three groups:  victim cluster has minimal attributions of crisis responsibility (natural disasters, rumors, workplace violence, and tampering), accidental cluster has low attributions of crisis responsibility (technical-error product harm and accidents), and preventable cluster has strong attributions of crisis responsibility (human-error product harm and accidents, management misconduct, and organizational misdeeds).  The article recommends different crisis response strategies depending upon the attributions of crisis responsibility.

Coombs, W. T. & Holladay, S. J. (2006).  Halo or reputational capital:  Reputation and crisis management.  Journal of Communication Management, 10(2), 123-137.
This article examines if and when a favorable pre-crisis reputation can protect an organization with a halo effect.  The halo effect says that strong positive feelings will allow people to overlook a negative event-it can shield an organization from reputational damage during a crisis.  The study found that only in a very specific situation does a halo effect occur.  In most crises, the reputation is damaged suggesting reputational capital is a better way to view a strong, positive pre-crisis reputation.  An organization accumulates reputational capital by positively engaging publics.  A crisis causes an organization to loss some reputational capital.  The more pre-crisis reputational capital, the stronger the reputation will be after the crisis and the easier it should be to repair.

Corporate Leadership Council. (2003). Crisis management strategies. Retrieved September 12, 2006, from http://www.executiveboard.com/EXBD/Images/PDF/Crisis%20Management%20Strategies.pdf. [Now available here]
This online PDF file summarizes key crisis management insights from the Corporate Leadership Council.  The topics include the value and elements of a crisis management plan (pp 1-3), structure of a crisis management team (pp. 4-6), communicating with employees (pp. 7-9), using web sites including “dark sites” (p. 7), using pre-packaged information/templates (p. 7), and the value of employee assistance programs (p. 10).  The file is an excellent overview to key elements of crisis management with an emphasis on using new technology.

Dean, D. H.  (2004.  Consumer reaction to negative publicity: Effects of corporate reputation, response, and responsibility for a crisis event.  Journal of Business Communication, 41, 192-211.
This article reports an experimental study that included a comparison how people reacted to expressions of concern verses no expression of concern.  Post-crisis reputations were stronger when an organization provided an expression of concern.

Dilenschneider, R. L. (2000). The corporate communications bible: Everything you need to know to become a public relations expert. Beverly Hills: New Millennium. This book has a strong chapter of crisis communication (pp. 120-142).  It emphasizes how a crisis is a threat to an organization’s reputation and the need to be strategic with the communications response.

Downing, J. R. (2003).  American Airlines’ use of mediated employee channels after the 9/11 attacks.  Public Relations Review, 30, 37-48.
This article reviews how American Airlines used its Intranet, web sites, and reservation system to keep employees informed after 9/11.  The article also comments on the use of employee assistance programs after a traumatic event.  Recommendations include using all available channels to inform employees during and after a crisis as well as recommending organizations “gray out” color from their web sites to reflect the somber nature of the situation.

Fearn-Banks, K. (2001). Crisis communications: A casebook approach (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. This book is more a textbook for students using case studies.  Chapter 2 (pp. 18-33) has a useful discussion of elements of the crisis communication plan, a subset of the crisis management plan.  Chapter 4 has some tips on media relations (pp. 63-71).

Hearit, K. M. (1994, Summer). Apologies and public relations crises at Chrysler, Toshiba, and Volvo. Public Relations Review, 20(2), 113-125.
This article provides a strong rationale for the value of quick but accurate crisis response.  The focus is on how a quick response helps an organization to control the crisis situation.

Hearit, K. M. (2006).  Crisis management by apology:  Corporate response to
allegations of wrongdoing.  Mahwah, NJ:  Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

This book is a detailed, scholarly treatment of apologies that has direct application to crisis management.  Chapter 1 helps to explain the different ways the term
apology is used and concentrates on how it should be treated as a public acceptance of responsibility (pp. 1-18).  Chapter 3 details the legal and liability issues involved when an organization chooses to use an apology.

Kellerman, B. (2006, April). When should a leader apologize and when not? Harvard Business Review, 84(4), 73-81. This article defines an apology as accepting responsibility for a crisis and expressing regret.  The value of apologies is highlighted along with suggestions for when an apology is appropriate and inappropriate.  An apology should be used when it will serve an important purpose, the crisis has serious consequences, and the cost of an apology will be lower than the cost of being silent.

Klein, J. & Dawar, N. (2004).  Corporate social responsibility and consumers’ attributions of brand evaluations in product-harm crisis.  International Journal of Marketing, 21, 203-217.
This article reports on an experimental study that compared how prior information about corporate social responsibility (a dimension of prior reputation) affected attributions of crisis responsibility.  People attribute much greater responsibility to the negative corporate social responsibility condition than to the neutral or positive conditions.  There was no difference between the attributions in the positive and neutral conditions.

Lackluster online PR no aid in crisis response. (2002). PR News. Retrieved April 20, 2006, from http://web.lexis-nexis.com/universe
This short article notes how journalists and other interested parties are using web sites during crises to collect information.  The article highlights the value of having a “dark site” ready before a crisis.  A sample of various criteria for a crisis web are discussed by reviewing Tyco’s web site as a case study.

Lerbinger, O. (1997). The crisis manager: Facing risk and responsibility. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
This book centers on seven types of crises:  natural, technological, confrontation, malevolence, skewed management values, deception, and management misconduct.  There is a strong focus on the role of media relations in crisis management (pp. 27-29 and pp. 31-34).

Mitroff, I. I., Harrington, K., & Gai, E. (1996, September). Thinking about the unthinkable. Across the Board, 33(8), 44-48.
This article reinforces the value of creating and training crisis management teams by having them conduct various types of exercises.

Sonnenfeld, S. (1994, July/August).  Media policy–What media policy?  Harvard Business Review, 72(4), 18-19.
This is a short article that discusses the need for spokesperson training prior to a crisis.

Sturges, D. L. (1994).  Communicating through crisis: A strategy for organizational survival, Management Communication Quarterly, 7, 297-316.
This article emphasizes how communication needs shift during a crisis.  The first need is for instructing information, the information that tells people how to protect themselves physically from a crisis.  The next need is adjusting information, the information that helps people to cope psychologically with the crisis.  The initial crisis response demands a focus on instructing and adjusting information.  The third and final type of communication is reputation repair.  Reputation repair is only used once the instructing and adjusting information have been provided.

Taylor, M., & Kent, M. L. (2007).  Taxonomy of mediated crisis responses.  Public Relations Review, 33, 140-146.
This article summarizes the best practices for using the Internet during a crisis and advocates more organizations should be using the Internet, especially web sites, during a crisis. The six best practices are:  (1) include all your tradition media relations materials on your web site; (2) try to make use of the interactive nature of the Internet for your crisis web content; (3) provide detailed and clear information on web sites during for a product recall; (4) tell your side of the story on the crisis web site including quotations from managers; (5) when necessary, create different web pages for different stakeholders tailored to their interests in the crisis; and (6) work with government agencies including hyperlinks to relevant government agency web sites.

Tyler, L. (1997). Liability means never being able to say you’re sorry: Corporate guilt, legal constraints, and defensiveness in corporate communication. Management Communication Quarterly, 11(1), 51-73.
This article discusses the legal constraints that prevent apologies during a crisis.  It is a hard look at the choices crisis managers must make between addressing victims in a particular way and financial constraints.  The article is a reminder that crisis management occurs within the larger context of organizational operations and is subject to financial constraints.

Ulmer, R. R., Sellnow, T. L., & Seeger, M. W. (2006). Effective crisis communication: Moving from crisis to opportunity. Thousand Oaks: Sage.This book is mix of lessons and case studies.  Many of the cases focus on large scale crises or what some would call disasters.  Large scale crises/disasters are unique because they require multiple agency coordination and are often managed by government agencies.  Chapter 12 (pp. 177-187) on renewal as a reputation repair strategy after a crisis in unique and informative.  Renewal focuses on optimism and an emphasis on moving to some new and better state after the crisis.  Not all organizations can engage in renewal after a crisis.  Renewal requires that an organization have performed ethically before the crisis and have had strong stakeholder relationships before the crisis.

As Pandemic Fatigue Sets In at Work, Employers Try to Help

People are tired. Between a global pandemic, economic crisis, social unrest, & political upheaval, the past year has been physically and emotionally draining for just about everyone, and perhaps most for essential workers.

Across industries, workers struggling with pandemic fatigue are facing burnout more than ever. For leaders, keeping these employees engaged and motivated is a challenge in itself. While some leaders are turning to incentives like gift cards and cash to help support employees, others are taking a softer approach, investing in relationships and focusing on workplace communication.

Money Talks

When the pandemic began, the hospitality industry fell off a cliff, says Liz Neumark, founder and CEO of Great Performances, a catering company in New York City. She knew keeping everyone employed would be difficult until her business could find another source of revenue apart from events, which eventually came in the form of preparing meals for essential workers and people unable to quarantine at home. While some of her employees, such as those in sales or event production, saw salary reductions, chefs, kitchen staff, and other employees making food for essential workers kept their full salaries and got help with transportation as well.  

The founders of P. Terry’s, an Austin, Texas-based fast-food restaurant chain, give employees gift cards and cash to help pay for groceries and offer them interest-free loans. They also incentivize employees to participate in community and civic causes, including paying hourly wages for volunteer work.

Justin Spannuth, chief operating officer of Unique Snacks, a sixth-generation, family-operated hard pretzel maker in Reading, Pennsylvania, increased hourly wages by $2 for all 85 of his employees. The company also hired additional temporary employees to provide a backup workforce. Spannuth says the move helped persuade employees with possible symptoms to stay at home by easing the guilt that employees can have about not coming in and potentially increasing the workload on their colleagues. 

“The last thing we wanted our employees to do was get worn out from working too many hours and then have their immune system compromised because of it,” says Spannuth.

Helping Employees Connect

Andrea Ahern, vice president of Mid Florida Material Handling, a material handling company in Orlando, Florida, says it was difficult to keep morale up when the business was clearly struggling; employees were uncertain about the company’s future, and their own. To help ease the stress, the company held a wide array of picnic-style meals in the company’s parking lot. It was a light distraction that still followed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Now, she says, morale has started to rise.

“With the release of the vaccine and the so-called ‘light at the end of the tunnel,’ we’re starting to see the industry get a lift in activity, and associates feel good when they know their jobs aren’t at risk. However, it wasn’t always this way.”

These kinds of events can, of course, also take place virtually. Company leaders across industries are encouraging staff to treat Zoom as a virtual water cooler. But while casual online gatherings after work can help colleagues maintain friendly relationships, they can also contribute to “Zoom fatigue”–the drained feeling that comes after a long day of video calls, which often require more concentration than in-person meetings.

Matt McCambridge, co-founder and CEO of Eden Health, a primary/collaborative care practice based in New York, says while his teams hold regular virtual water coolers, they switch it up. For example, the company hosted an interactive “dueling pianos” virtual event over the holidays, as well as a magic show. 

Better Communication From the Top

Communicating support work-life balance at a time when many people are remote and facing trauma is critical. Neumark notes that when her catering company was pivoting and in the process of providing hundreds, if not thousands, of meals, the team was relying mostly on sheer adrenaline. Months later, now that the novelty is gone and fatigue has fully set in, the boundaries she set are crucial.

One rule, for example, is weekends off, unless there’s an urgent, unavoidable request. “The weeks are still so intense, and people need their private time right now,” says Neumark.

It’s essential that leaders understand the issues their employees may be facing and not try to gloss over them, says Dr. Benjamin F. Miller, a psychologist and chief strategy officer of Well Being Trust, a foundation aimed at advancing mental and social health. “When your boss is pretending that everything is OK, it doesn’t create a conducive work environment for someone to talk about having a bad day,” says Miller. That’s one reason virtual water coolers often fail, he notes. While they’re great at getting people together, there’s little benefit if people can’t speak openly and honestly.

It’s also OK to tell employees that you, as a leader, are not having an easy time. Showing vulnerability doesn’t show weakness, Miller adds. You’re setting an example that shows that it’s OK to be honest and acknowledge that not everyone is not having the best time. If you aren’t aware that someone is in a crisis, he says, you may lose the opportunity to reach out to that person and help.

By Brit Morse@britnmorse

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