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Employee Perceptions on Returning to Work


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A recent KRC Research poll of American employees and consumers explores perceptions around the corporate response to COVID-19, as well as implications for the workplace as companies navigate the re-entry phase. The results suggest effective, consistent communications, an emphasis on employee safety and a commitment to corporate values will all play a key role in navigating the recovery phase.

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Employee Perceptions on Returning to Work

  1. 1. CORONAVIRUS PULSE POLL: NATIONAL SURVEY RESULTS APRIL 2020 EMPLOYERS HAVE ESTABLISHED CREDIBILITY WITH EMPLOYEES.1 EMPLOYER COMMUNICATIONS FOSTER GREATER POSITIVITY, CONFIDENCE AND PRIDE. 90% 35% 85% 28% 84% 38% 84% 41% 2 Weber Shandwick and KRC Research have conducted three national surveys among Americans 18 years of age and over to explore attitudes about the coronavirus and consumer and employee responses to it. The surveys, each conducted online with a sample of ~1,000 adults drawn from a large national panel, are demographically representative of the U.S. adult population. Below are select findings from our latest poll, conducted from April 15 to 17, focusing on 498 employees and their employers. 78% 74% 72% 72% 64% 57% They are proud to work for their employer % employees agree... % employees agree... Proud to work for their employer Employer’s response is exactly what it should be Employer puts the safety of workers above profits Look forward to going back to work Received Information (%) Did Not Receive Information (%) Employees Who Received Information and Updates on Coronavirus and Company Policy from Their Employer Their employer is taking care of employees as best it can Their employer’s response to the coronavirus is exactly what it should be Their employer puts safety above profits Their employer is going above and beyond to help the community Their employer is taking action to fight the virus EMPLOYEES ARE NERVOUS. THE PATH TO BACK-TO-WORK IS UNCLEAR.3 66% of employees report business at their company has dropped because of coronavirus and 52% of employees are concerned about the future of their company and their job. % employees agree... For more information about how we are helping clients solve in this uncertain time, please contact: Micho Spring Chair, Global Corporate Practice, Pam Jenkins President, Global Public Affairs, Kate Bullinger, President, United Minds, Please visit for more Weber Shandwick COVID-19 resources and results from past KRC Research Coronavirus Pulse Polls When Employees Will Feel Safe Returning to Life and Work They are afraid that their employer will bring people back to work before it is safe. Before employees will be comfortable going back to work like before the coronavirus outbreak, companies need to make changes to protect employee health and safety. CONSUMERS WILL REWARD COMPANIES THAT TREAT EMPLOYEES WELL DURING THE CRISIS. THEY ARE KEEPING SCORE. AGREE 4 80% UNSURE 9% DISAGREE 11% 34% When there is vaccine/treatment 26% Public health officials say it’s safe 19% Cases drop to nearly zero 17% Coronavirus infections level off 15% State gov’t says it’s safe 14% Widespread testing and tracking 10% Everyone has been tested 9% Local officials say it’s safe 8% White House says it’s safe 6% Their employer says it’s safe 5% They have had the virus IMPLICATIONS • Recovery phase is fraught with risk • Communications matter, can drive positivity and confidence • Decisions about bringing workers back to work must be anchored in public health expertise, accompanied by a new culture of vigilance • Opportunity for leaders who recommit to values to accelerate progress • Reputations will be bolstered or tarnished according to how employees I will prefer to buy from companies that treated their employees well during the coronavirus pandemic... (% Americans) % employees agree... 45% 80% 44% 36% 9% 8% 3% Strongly agree Somewhat agree Not sure Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree are treated