Building trust with employees and stakeholders as you return to the workplace

In times of crisis, employees, shareholders, customers and others can fill in information gaps for themselves when communication isn’t clear and consistent. As the workplace reopens, leaders can help build trust with their stakeholders and staff by focusing on what’s top of mind at each stage of the crisis. Here are six areas to focus on, according to PwC’s COVID-19 CFO Pulse Survey.

What you’re doing to make health and safety behaviors stick

Stakeholders want to know how you’re helping people shift behaviors to protect health and safety. Your playbook for reopening isn’t a manual on a shelf, it's what’s expected at work.

How you’re supporting the unprecedented need for well-being

Stress may be taking a toll on workers as people experience anxiety at work. Help people recharge and talk openly about your health and well-being benefits so people feel free to use them.

Changes to the business strategy

Prepare extensively for how you’ll communicate changes to strategy, especially if you anticipate workforce reductions. Create stability for those who remain with clear direction around what you expect.

How you’ll balance flexible work with productivity

Flexible work can have many benefits, yet 34% of CFOs still worry about productivity loss. Share how you plan to balance the pressure for greater productivity with clear and manageable workloads.

How you’re protecting individual privacy

New tools help pinpoint potential risk exposure, but they’re also raising some privacy concerns among workers. Share how location tracking and contact tracing will be used.

Why you prize personal agility and learning

People are learning to adapt quickly to new ways of working. Going forward, it will be essential to help them develop new skills and remain flexible when taking on new roles and responsibilities.

How you lead

Be empathetic

Be compassionate about the personal challenges and emotions people are facing. Encourage employees to connect with you by sharing your own stories and vulnerabilities.

Provide straight talk

Be factual about what’s happening in terms of business and potential workforce impacts. Explain specific actions you and other business leaders are taking and why. Be honest about what you know and what you don’t know.

Communicate frequently

Help keep people informed — and quell rumors — by communicating regularly and inclusively. Communication includes listening, so set up ways to hear from employees, gather feedback and respond to their needs.

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Reid Carpenter

Director, US Lead, Strategy&’s Katzenbach Center, PwC US

Carrie Duarte

Workforce of the Future, Deals Leader, PwC US

Claudia Montgomery

Managing Director, Workforce of the future, PwC US

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