Connecting with Furloughed Workers to Offer Hope

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The jobs report has been looking great for the United States for many consecutive quarters until the coronavirus crisis. The novel disease has shut down some infrastructure and manufacturing, as well as many retail, food, and service industry businesses. Many Americans are wondering where their next paycheck will come from. For some, it may well be the company that just laid them off.

Across the country, many employers continue to stay in contact with laid-off employees, offering hope that there may be a job waiting for them when the economy is up and running again. Others are going even further, furloughing employees rather than laying them off, so the workers are often able to keep their health insurance.

Retail market watchers say that most businesses are interested in bringing back as many workers as they’re able to as soon as is feasible. In the meantime, though, given how competitive the job market was prior to all of this, they don’t want to lose valuable employees to rival companies once businesses begin ramping up their staffing efforts again. That means these companies need to extend a bridge and keep it healthy and strong. This requires smart, careful, empathetic communication. This kind requires a delicate touch, verbiage that’s careful not to over-promise but still clearly communicates the value the person has to the company.

On one level, everyone involved knows this is a strange and unprecedented situation. Most of the companies didn’t want to let their people go, but lockdowns and empty retails stores have forced their hand. Entire industries including but not limited to entertainment, hospitality, and travel have been shaken to the core, and if demand returns to previous levels, they will need to ramp operations back up as soon as possible. That means being able to get people back fast, a daunting logistical task without adding in any other factors.

But there are other factors. When people take a job, they hope it will be right for them, that it will provide what they need, and that it will be there for them when they need it to be. There may not be any hard feelings toward the company for furloughed workers, but there may well be a seed of doubt whether or not this is the best move for them at a time when a lot of businesses will likely be hiring.

So positive, productive, and continual communication is important, as is third-party affirmation. Laid-off workers and other job hunters need to hear about the benefits of the company from people other than the company’s hiring personnel. That means positive and effective public relations. Brands need to be seen as standout in their market, brands workers can count on as well as brands they can be proud to say they work for.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO and Founder of 5W Public Relations. 5W PR is a leading digital pr and influencer marketing agency.

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Ronn Torossian is CEO & Founder of 5WPR & one of America’s most notable PR executives. He is the Author of best-selling PR book, “For Immediate Release.“

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