1st April 2020

Why message really matters right now

Image credit: Kevin_Hsieh

A lot has changed over the past couple of weeks. Some might say that’s an understatement. They’d be right. The world is a very different place at the moment and most of us are just trying to navigate this new territory and make the best of a bad situation. That means remote working, home-schooling (man, teachers deserve a pay rise!), not seeing our friends and family, financial stress, and worst of all, the worry that a loved one might get this damn virus.

Despite these overwhelming concerns, and tragic as current events are, there have also been some welcome distractions along the way. It’s been great to see communities coming together (the #clapforcarers was very special) as well as people trying to help the more vulnerable in our society. The sheer number of volunteers offering their support to the NHS is nothing short of astounding. The message across the nation is a resounding ‘we’re in this together’ and ‘we want to help’. That’s very humbling.

Messages that matter

As someone who works in PR and specialises in the HR sector, I'm in the business of positive messaging. I also know that it's more important than ever right now. The good news? All I’ve seen and heard from HR vendors over the past couple of weeks are offers of help to people and other organisations. Countless HR tech companies are gifting their technology for free so that managers can stay connected with remote workers and continue to deliver the best possible experiences for employees despite the extraordinary circumstances. HR consultancies and industry bodies are running ‘Help for HR' clinics (the CIPD's #AsktheCIPD is especially popular). These initiatives are offering valuable support and advice to HR teams as they try to manage this unprecedented event as well as the boatload of complexity (and anxiety) that comes with it.

My point is that these organisations have done a stellar PR job this week because they haven’t made it about them and because their message has been one of ‘we can help, we want to help, we have no agenda.’ This is the kind of PR that stays with people and it will be remembered for all the right reasons.

Josh Bersin summed it up perfectly last week when he published a list of HR tech vendors that are putting ‘problem over product’ and proving themselves to be a force for good at a difficult time. His message, of course, is spot on. This certainly isn’t the time to push product. Definitely not. Do you know what the great thing is though? I personally haven’t seen one HR vendor trying to do this. Not one. That speaks volumes about the industry - and what a great industry it is. I’m so glad to be a part of it.

Talk to a specialist PR team that understands your industry.