The Supreme Court has allowed parts of the Trump administration’s travel ban to go into effect for foreign nationals who lack any “bona fide relationship with any person or entity in the United States.” Relationships between U.S. universities and employees who have accepted jobs in the U.S. are considered formal relationships in the court’s ruling. Although employees and students are allowed, the court, in an unsigned option, left the travel ban against citizens of six mostly Muslim countries on hold.
When the travel ban was announced earlier this year, it stirred emotions and created a worldwide uncertainty that was palatable. Interestingly, employee communications and engagement was the source of much of the media surrounding the topic. Taking center stage, senior executives from Ford, Google, Goldman Sachs, Salesforce, Apple, JP Morgan, Facebook, Nike, Coca-Cola, Morgan Stanley, and others have made public statements to their employees.
Even though employees are not individually impacted by this iteration of the travel ban, many of their family members will be. Uncertainty brought into the workplace threatens to ruin the best corporate cultures and workplace diversity. Given the level of recent political and social uncertainty, we commend leaders that choose to proactively address employee concerns and reaffirm their corporate values.
Apple CEO, Tim Cook, led the charge when the travel ban was first released. The outspoken leader published a public letter to employees letting the world know that each of the potentially impacted employees would receive assistance from Apple’s HR, legal, and security teams. Cook also reached out to the White House in defense of his team, but what stands out is that he also took the opportunity to reinforce his corporate culture.
Cook sent an email to all Apple employees worldwide, part of which stated: “…And if there’s one thing I know about the people at Apple, it’s the depth of our empathy and support for one another. It’s as important now as it’s ever been, and it will not weaken one bit. I know I can count on all of you to make sure everyone at Apple feels welcome, respected and valued.”
Cook is right—corporate culture is more important now than ever. Gallup polls show that a mere 32% of employees are engaged within their organizations. This leaves most of the workforce uninformed and uncertain. If you haven’t taken the opportunity to address your employees concerns, now is the time.
Starbucks also joined the ever-growing ranks of corporations acting to protect their workers. They launched an Immigration Advisor Program in partnership with Ernst & Young for immigration advice. Their message of leading with humanity is on point, but is it being seen by the people who matter most?
In the case of each of the mega-organizations listed above, their statements of solidarity are making headline news. Their messages were disseminated to the masses and employees with email addresses, but what about non-desk workers without corporate email addresses?
80% of the global workforce isn’t sitting at a desk or given computers when they’re onboarded. Retail, hospitality, manufacturing, and other industries have distributed workforces in many locations, and many employees don’t have email addresses. This makes sending company-wide messages especially difficult. And unfortunately, it is this worker segment that is potentially the most impacted and needs to hear messages of solidarity from corporate leaders. Here are some ways to reach non-desk employees.
Ford has always been a leader in employee engagement. When Mark Fields took over as CEO, their internal communications team understood the importance of maintaining engagement during times of significant change and helped facilitate a seamless transition. The past few months have been no different.
Times like these are always a good reminder to address any gaps in communication your organization might have – before the next crisis or critical event hits.
At Beekeeper, we believe that we truly work better together – as a company and as a community. We are fortunate to have immediate access to information and maintain a culture of transparency and connectedness. We hope times like these serve as a reminder to all employers the importance of nurturing and defending corporate culture.